Do you let your kids eat all the time?

Debbie - posted on 06/03/2010 ( 89 moms have responded )

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Do you let your kids eat all the time? I don't, but the kids think I'm mean since I don't allow them to snack or have whatever wheneve they want it. My stepson has told me that his mom (which he visits every other weekend and has dinner with once a week)allows him to eat or drink whatever is in the house and he doesn't have to ask first.

They have a good breakfast, lunch and dinner. I allow them a snack when they get home from school and one or two pieces of candy from their candy bowl (that got started on halloween but now anytime they get candy - school, holidays, or such like that, it goes in the bowl). I allow them to have something other than water for their meals, but I think kids don't drink enough water so I have told them that if they are thirsty they should drink water when it's not at a meal.

I figured it's healthier that way and to be honest ... food gets expensive if I'm continously buying it since they are eating all the time. They don't have weight problems they have to worry about but I don't want them to get used to snacking all the time.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I should be letting them have more. Just curious what others do or think.

Thanks,
Debbie.

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Katie - posted on 09/01/2011

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I do allow my children to eat most of the day. It is actually healthier for both kids and adults to eat several smaller meals all day than the three larger meals. I dont keep a whole lot of junk in the house so most of what they are eating all day is fairly healthy. I think as long as they are not filling up on junk and eating their meals at meal time it is ok for them to graze all day.

Debbie - posted on 09/09/2011

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I prepare my 4yo son a lunchbox at the beginning of each day and put it in the fridge. I pack it so that I know all the food groups are covered, and I don't have junk in it. Everything is gluten free and additive free, so I know it's healthy. It has plenty of fruit in it, so his "sugar" cravings are covered. He has lots of fresh vegetables as well, sandwiches with healthy fillings (eg: ham, cheese and mustard), yoghurt and cheese. He knows that he is free to go to his lunch box at any time of the day and snack on it, and that he can't have anything else to eat apart from what's in his lunchbox. He generally saves his sandwiches until lunch time, and snacks on everything else throughout the day. The only thing his lunchbox doesn't contain is his dinner, which he eats with the family. It's worked really well, and saves him from harrassing me constantly because he wants more food. I don't believe in limiting my kids to three separate meals a day. Our bodies are designed to "graze" throughout the day, and it's been proven this is the healthiest way to eat. It works really well for us.

Heather - posted on 09/07/2011

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I don't let my son have anything he wants, but I make sure he is not hungry whatsoever. The rule I live by here is breakfast after an hour my son may have a snack if he asks for one and he will if he's hungry. Lunch at 11 (same time as at school) another hour.. when he's hungry again he'll ask for his snack then it's every hour he may another snack/munchie item until 3 then no more food until dinner. Children are constantly growing no reason to act like we need to control thier input unless they seriously have a food problem which a parent would be completely aware if thier child did.

On a side note, my son is only 8, and he can out-eat my husband when he's in a growth spurt mode. So yeah I would reconsider locking your kitchen up because you honestly don't know what your child is going to need to sustain him. When he's not in growth spurt mode? He eats more like I do 3 meals 2 snacks and done. I don't have anything that says stay out of the kitchen but i do have a rule that says go in there and get into stuff without asking is a time-out and that's only so I know when we run out of something he likes. Milk and water are the two drinks he gets here. I don't do the juices too much sugar content or acid. He would get more from eating the actual fruit so that's what we do here as well.

I guess what I'm saying is unless your child has some kind of disorder that has him/her overeating why are you limiting thier access to the kitchen. Just load it full of healthy choices and let them eat. They are still growing and will need extra nourishment which is why they get the need for more food. I trust my doctor on this statement he made to me and it's proven true so far "A child will eat what he needs and no more or no less. They will burn off what they eat faster than adults as they are way more active than we are so let him have snacks just be choosey as to the health content of those snacks". It has proven true so far.

Susan - posted on 06/21/2010

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Good ideals but let me suggest something.. As long as you provide healthy snacks and not cookies, candy etc they will soon stop asking for snacks between meals. I never tell my kids they can't have a snack in between meals but we provide veggies or fruit only or a small glass of milk, cheese bites also work great. Our kids range from 17 to 6 and they are all very healthy even our 6 year old because we never started the no you cant have that they just know their limits. Maybe start small like with cheese bites or sugar free jello just remind them when the next meal is and what you are serving and let them make a choice it will help in the future with their eating habits.

Stephanie - posted on 06/17/2010

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My household's run exactly like Donna's...I also have a snack draw in the frig with fruit cups (only sweetened with their juice), yogurt, cut up fresh fruit, and string cheese. I also have the snack draw filled with dry goods but healthy choices. We've always bought the 100 calorie snack packs, that keeps us from over eating any snack that's not healthy and has no nutritional value. I've always kept grapes cleaned and stemmed in margarita glasses in the frig...this makes it easy for my daughter to grab the glass and not have to worry or wait about me cleaning and stemming them. She loves it and her friends think it's so cool, they like the fun glasses and the fact that they're allowed to eat out of the dish!

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Roberta - posted on 07/23/2012

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No its not just you. I think when I have cooked a dinner they all ate and enjoyed last week and only one eats it, but ten mins later they are trawling the cupboards for snacks that it is just plain out of order. I don't care if they don't "fancy it" today - this is not a cafe! There is a finite budget and me or their Dad has just spent ages making food. They are allowed to suggest menu choices for the week, they are allowed an hour after meals to freely eat toast, crackers, carrots, rice cakes (toppings such as marmite also allowed)...until one hour before the next meal. I dont think it is unreasonable to extend that to two hours after the meal before first snack if they ate none of the dinner. It is also not bad for them to feel hunger as the meal approaches!

I lock up all treat foods, all packed lunch items, and from the monthly shop the spare of anything. I also hide some fruit. Some would disagree but like I say we have a finite budget. If one child eats a whole punnet of plums, 3 peaches, 3 apples and 5 mandarins in a day what am I meant to give the others who are respecting my request that they only eat their share?

Our children would not self-regulate - they have been given that oppertunity for a few months and it failed. It is also tough on the others if one is piggnig out and there is nothing for them left. How is that training for life?

Ashley - posted on 09/20/2011

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Debbie, I think you are right to limit your children's food intake. Lack of limits is why kids in this country are fat, lazy, and without manners.



My sister lets her son eat whatever he wants. He is fat. He gets called "tubby" at school and the opposing team in baseball called him "cheeseburger" on the field. Of course that is cruel, but parents should MAKE SURE they don't give other snotty kids anything to joke about. Because really the only thing kids joke on is, if you're fat, wearing Wal-Mart/K-Mart apparel (stupid but true), if you stink, or if you had a roach or something crawl out of your bookbag. All the other stuff goes unnoticed.



I did not get strict about eating habits until each of my children got to be about 2. That's when I started limiting them. I don't let them have seconds of anything. If they still have an appetite I let them eat a piece of fruit or a nonfat yogurt. Usually by that time they are finished. Breakfast in our house is fruit-based, lunch is veggie-based.

Julie - posted on 09/14/2011

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Debbie - let kids drink water with a meal ... it may be a good indicator they are not getting enough at other times...
Snacks are great but keep them small and healthy -
Be wise - soemtimes step children attempt to pit mothers against one another OR he may be trying to send you ona guilt trip that you are not quite as 'nice' or 'fun' as his mom ... Its only natural so don't take it personal!

Myndi - posted on 09/14/2011

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I have 10 month old triplets that are constantly hungry. They have small tummies but are going through such a transitional stage, I'm not going to deny them food when they need it. They aren't overweight and the doctor says they should be getting at least 6 meals a day, same as the rest of us. 3 meals a day is no longer considered healthy and those with the best weight control eat at least 6 times a day. I do think it's important that the snacks offered are healthy and junk should be minimized. As long as what they are eating is good for them, and they aren't showing signs of being overweight, I trust the signals their bodies are sending them and I let them eat.

Brittany - posted on 09/10/2011

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What I have been trying recently is having smaller meals through out the day and making lunch into dinner time. My oldest is in school so he has to eat according to school time. With my two youngest at home we have a small breakfast, around 10:30 we have some fruit, around 12:30 or 1:00 we have our lunch and nap, when nap is over we have a small snack and then we have dinner. Caoleb, my oldest, gets a "bigger" dinner than they other two because, like I said he is on school time. At the end of dinner everyone is happy and full.

This is what works for me.

Margaret - posted on 09/08/2011

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If you didn't give your kids sugar, they wouldn't want to eat all the time. Let them have carrots, if they're craving something sweet. If they're truly hungry, feed them. Kids come with pure appetites that we mess up badly when we feed them the wrong things. Some kids are "grazers"; just don't let them graze on sugary or unhealthy things and they'll automatically adjust their own intake.

Sherri - posted on 09/07/2011

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We are pretty regimented with food. Breakfast, Lunch at 11am, He gets snack at school, snack when he gets home from school, Dinner between 5-6pm and a snack before bed. No other eating during the day allowed and they must ask before they take any food item.

Heather - posted on 09/07/2011

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I don't let my son have anything he wants, but I make sure he is not hungry whatsoever. The rule I live by here is breakfast after an hour my son may have a snack if he asks for one and he will if he's hungry. Lunch at 11 (same time as at school) another hour.. when he's hungry again he'll ask for his snack then it's every hour he may another snack/munchie item until 3 then no more food until dinner. Children are constantly growing no reason to act like we need to control thier input unless they seriously have a food problem which a parent would be completely aware if thier child did.

On a side note, my son is only 8, and he can out-eat my husband when he's in a growth spurt mode. So yeah I would reconsider locking your kitchen up because you honestly don't know what your child is going to need to sustain him. When he's not in growth spurt mode? He eats more like I do 3 meals 2 snacks and done. I don't have anything that says stay out of the kitchen but i do have a rule that says go in there and get into stuff without asking is a time-out and that's only so I know when we run out of something he likes. Milk and water are the two drinks he gets here. I don't do the juices too much sugar content or acid. He would get more from eating the actual fruit so that's what we do here as well.

I guess what I'm saying is unless your child has some kind of disorder that has him/her overeating why are you limiting thier access to the kitchen. Just load it full of healthy choices and let them eat. They are still growing and will need extra nourishment which is why they get the need for more food. I trust my doctor on this statement he made to me and it's proven true so far "A child will eat what he needs and no more or no less. They will burn off what they eat faster than adults as they are way more active than we are so let him have snacks just be choosey as to the health content of those snacks". It has proven true so far.

Madeline - posted on 09/04/2011

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Hi Debbie. I think it really depend on your kid. My daughter is a grazer, she eats all day long,in small amounts. I think it maybe because she is petite and her stomach gets full easily. She doesn't eat beyond being full, because she will even leave sweet treats uneaten if she is not hungry. I think in her case that's just how she eats. Also remember during growth spurts they can eat a lot more than they normally do and adjust your ideas about their eating accordingly. Hope this helps.
Madeline

Shonelle - posted on 09/04/2011

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my kids may get three times an month.soda probably once an month.my 5yr is an junk food person she tries to get me to give in but i not not

Carol - posted on 09/04/2011

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I have raised 4 kids and also do daycare, for children,sometimes kids get hungry and different times during the day....I have learned to respect that and give them, something small that they can choosed from, just to curb the hunger. Think of your day, if you are hungry do you, eat something to satisfy you for a while,,,they are growing and need to listen to their bodies, or else, they will eat when they are not hungry...just a thought...good luck.

April - posted on 06/23/2010

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i was a mom that would give my kids stuff and hour or a little longer before their meals, then i slowly stopped it, yeah they carry on like they starving when they just ate and hour ago but i barely keep any junk in the house i've gotten better with not giving them junk snacks they will get strawberries or a frozen yogurt tube i freeze them in the summer or something good that's it but what ur doing is great keep up the good work

Alicia - posted on 06/21/2010

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I agree with you, my children have their three meals a day, and a snack after school, and a snack before bed and that is it. I have a friend that lets her children and they are so hyperactive and skinny they don't finish there meals. My children have less hyperactivity and they eat all there meals or they don't get a snack at all. I have a child with ADD and her diet was snacking a lot, since I have stopped that we have seen a lot of improvement. Food is ridiculously expensive and snacks cost the most. Your not wrong for doing it that way. I think your very smart and don't worry about what your children think you are the parent you know what's best for them they will learn to except it.

Patricia - posted on 06/21/2010

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Mine have three healthy meals a day and I do allow snacks usually one mid morning prior to lunch one after lunch but not too close to dinner then a dessert/snack after dinner but not too late and only if they ate all their dinner. My children are not overweight and are very active. My son I believ is too thin. But his DAD always was. I see nothing wrong with what you are doing ! I actually like the water rule and other beverages with meals. My son needs to drink more water I always sent it to school with him and it would come home with him still full! My daughter only drinks water I have to encourage her to drink milk. I think it is important for us moms to encourage healthy eating habits and to monitor what are children are eating !keep up the good work! I keep all the unhealthy chippy/candy sncks up high and have a fruit bowl out on the table they can have th chippy/candy snacks but I am in charge of when and how much. Everything in moderation and at their age they are too young to know what moderation is we have to teach them.

Jennifer - posted on 06/19/2010

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I think you're doing fine. Humans are the only ones that eat just becuase were bored and we tend to do that alot. Your step son is just trying to get the same leave way that he gets from a mother who just allows him what ever he wants as compensation.

Nichole - posted on 06/18/2010

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My 5yo daughter is like a stick insect, the Pediatrician said let her eat small meals 8 times a day, and that's exactly what we do. She eats twice the calories that I do, she's skinny and I need to lose weight lol I'm glad she didn't get my metabolism! :)

Rica - posted on 06/18/2010

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I totally agree with you. I don't let my kids snack all the time they don't even have candy at the house. Although I'm no health nut I buy my kids water for the drinking and they can drink that as much as they like. They can only have two cups of juice a day and they must have at least one cup of milk, We keep fruits in stock at my house just to give them a chioce of snack they would like. I do all of this for their health. My daughter has a small build and I'm always worried about her weight since I see her staying at the same weight. My son is built like his dad very thick with wide shoulders so I worry that he may be too big. But their Doc says their right on track for their body sizes. So as long as you let them know that you want them to be healthy then they will understand. Also keeping them moving will also reduce the need to snack all the time. You may also want to have your husband talk to his ex to try to get her on the same rules with your stepson as you have for him.

Tabitha - posted on 06/17/2010

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Debbie,
As a parent and some one who works with children of all ages I think you should stick to your guns about eating and drinking because in the long run your children will develop better eating habits. they have to know that you are doing it for not only their health but so that you can afford to do other things with them. I see to many kids that do not have any supervision or guidance about what they eat and drink and they are paying the price not only with their health but their grades. if a child is not truly hungry then they should not eat. I hope this helps.

Pami - posted on 06/17/2010

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it depends on what they are snacking on childrens bodies are growing and their minds important they have a variety of things offer them helathy choices like fruits and vegetables carrots with reduced fat ranch dressing mines don't have large meals a day they eat in small quanities through out the day for breakfast cereal or half bagel with cream cheese for lunch whatever is at school when they come home they have a sandwich if they are still hungry an apple banana or strawberries fruit flavored yougurt later on cheez it crackers or a snack sized bag of chips my kids drink a ton of water throughout the day I don't have to worry about that. You just have to give them choices and yes they should ask before eating whatever is in the house they can be eating a bunch of junk food through out the day and not ever be satisified they might not have weight problems now but later on in life as adults it will catch up cause they never learned to make good choices when it came to putting food in their bodies. Hope this helps and remember your the mom and they are the kids not the other way around best of luck!!

Danyell - posted on 06/17/2010

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Breakfast, Lunch and dinner and one snack maybe a sucker if he is good. :) -organic food is the best way I think !

Joanna - posted on 06/17/2010

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I agree with you Debbie. I don't allow it. 3 meals and a couple of snacks or several smaller "meals" a day is just fine for kids. I know people who allow their kids to eat all day long, and eating becomes more of a habit for them than as a needs of nourishment.

Stephanie - posted on 06/17/2010

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From What I've read a healthy eating habits consists of 6 small meals and a few snacks throughout the day. My 7 yr old daughter has always been allowed to eat all the time but not without restrictions. She MUST ask before grabbing any food or drink and she must sit down for all meals and eat with me. I think because I've always been this way and have given her free will she is thin and very healthy and will most likely choose a yogurt with granola over a candy bar. Not to say she doesn't like sweets or chocolate because she's like me...she loves it, but knows the difference between a snack and a dessert or a treat. A treat's a candy bar and dessert is anything that has a lot of sugar and no nutritional value. I've always been thin but I also was given the ability to snack all day and required to eat my meals. I don't believe in a "happy plate" and let her decide when she's full but she knows she's not having dessert right away and if she didn't eat enough protein on her plate she's not getting any dessert. I guess it's a bribe but very rare do I have to ask her to eat more of her dinner. This is just the way we do it in out house, I think each and every child's different! Good luck and you need to do what's right for your children and household.

Donna - posted on 06/17/2010

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I have a drawer in my refrigerator that I use as a "snack" drawer. I keep string cheese, fruit, yogurt & other healthy options for the kids to eat. They are free to have a snack from there anytime, as mine are grazers. I also have a "snack basket", where I have fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, nuts & dry snacks. They have to have permission to get snacks from the snack basket. They may drink water or milk all day, and may have one decaffeinated soda per day. I try to avoid foods/drinks w/red & blue dyes and MSG, as well as caffeine, b/c my youngest has ADHD. This seems to work well for my boys (10 & 15), and I have done it since they were younger.

Danielle - posted on 06/17/2010

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debbie im on your side with this one. kids should not be allowed to snack all day long when ever they want. first of all, it might ruin their appetite for meals. second, CAVITIES. they dont need to fill up on sugar all the time. another thing is the weight issue. they might be average now, but snacking constantly obviously is a cause of being overweight. never mind what they can do at their birth-mom's house. this is YOUR house and YOUR rules. when they get older, they will understand. adults dont (or shouldnt) spend half their day in front of the fridge, and neither should children. stick to what you are doing, because you are doing the right thing.

Tara - posted on 06/16/2010

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I pretty much do the same thing. I feed them breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They get a snack when they come home from school (fruit and milk) and a snack before bed. I try to teach them that we don't live to eat, we eat to live. I am trying to teach them to make good food choices. Since it is summer now, they usually get a mid morning snack as well.

Amy - posted on 06/16/2010

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I dont necessarily let the kids snack all day, but they do snack. They eat the regular breakfast, lunch and dinner. In between those meals, if they get the munchies, I have fruit & veggie trays in the fridge at all times. My 3 yr old thinks Im the greatest in the world when there's a veggie tray in the fridge. I dont keep junk food in the house. When they do get candy, it sits high up in the kitchen cabinet. I give them a peice or two a day for about a week & then it gets thrown away. They dont usually ask for candy. Along with the fruits & veggie tray, I buy baked Lays & pretzels. They are healthier than regular chips, but still give the kids the illusion that they are enjoying potato chips. They dont eat them often, either, so a variety bag of 20 bags will last the whole month with two kids. As for drinks, I keep milk & water in the fridge. My son is more than happy to drink the milk & my daughter loves water. I do, however, keep G2 in the fridge for my son. He has issues in the summer with the heat. He gets dehydrated easy from just sitting, so I keep the gatorade there for that purpose. He probably drinks an 8oz bottle of that a day & 2 8oz bottles when we are out for the day. I let the kids have a peanut butter sandwich before bed, but that helps them sleep better through the night. My son also has to have his warm milk before bed. I think as long as what the kids are snacking on is healthy, there shouldnt be a problem with them snacking. I could see it being a problem if they were constantly snacking on chips & soda & junk food all day, but healthy snacks are OK. If your kids like raw veggies, try one of those veggie trays they have in the grocery store. They are pretty big & dont cost a whole lot. I buy one a week for my son.

AD'RIENNE - posted on 06/16/2010

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WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS JUST FINE. SNACKS ARE INDEED GOOD FOR THEM BUT YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT FUN AS WELL. TRY LETTING THEM CREATE THEIR OWN SNACK MIX, FROZEN CUPS WITH FRUIT OR EVEN SMOOTHIES. EVEN WHEN COOKIES ARE INVOLVED MAKE OATMEAL THEIR THE BEST.

Leila - posted on 06/16/2010

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you know, my husband and i disagree on this subject. I feel, if they are hungry, feed them, as long as its not junk food like cakes, cookies and soda. I dont see anything wrong with feeding as much as they want of fruit, crackers, or pb and J. Most experts are changing the rule of 3 large meals a day to six smaller ones, and I think they are right. I also dont give my kid soda or juice (hardly ever) i stick with crystal light, no sugar, so he can have it when he wants. however i do think that kids should always ask for what they want and not just have free reign over the kitchen, so at least you know what they are eating, and they still have boundaries. just my two cents, my husband is against the constant snacking, but i am home all day, he is not!! I know theres no way my son would eat enough fruit if he didnt snack all the time. And sometimes he goes through phases where he'll hardly eat twice a day, and sometimes eat all day. I think the hunger is their bodies way of saying, "hey, Im growing, I need more fuel" and we shouldnt ignore that so easily.

Lisa - posted on 06/16/2010

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I am working on a weight issue now and making progress! He put on weight very easily and it may have stemmed from depression when his father passed. He makes me feel like the bad guy, but I am sticking to my guns. He always wants the bad stuff and I tell him NO! If you are truly that thirsty there is water, if you are truly that hungry grab an apple..our meals are always sensible. He has been big since the day he was born, but I am striving for healthy. Great job to all you moms out there.

Nicole - posted on 06/16/2010

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Debbie, i have three kids myself, i understand what ur going through. i have to say we can't control how much our children eat but we can control what they eat, if ur afraid they will get fat, take that candy bowl away and replace it with a fruit bowl. on the beverage situtation, buy real fruit juice and allow them to drink juice. leave the pop for when u go on outings. if ur worried,cause their not finishing their dinner, will be happy they are intaking healthy snack choices. don't worry about how much their eating, just worry they are eating the healthier choices, they can eat 20 times a day. because that is the way kids are.they will have a health energy level. they'll sleep well, and they will love you all the more, take the su,gary treats away, and replace it with healthier treats, give them candy one day of the week, i give mine sweet on a friday that way they burn off all the sugary foods off by monday. i hope this helps you, do worry about what other people think of you, you are doing the best you can do with ur family and that's all that really matters. take care, from Nicole.

Holly - posted on 06/16/2010

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I have three teenagers at home. I don't monitor what they eat. I always have a basket of fruit on the kitchen table for them to grab when they are hungry and I rarely buy soda or chips etc. I do have one 6 year old that eats constantly and I do have to tell him sometimes to wait a little bit before he eats again. I try and not make big issues out of eating. If one of the kids is headed for a 5th piece of pizza on pizza night I might say something.

Alicia - posted on 06/16/2010

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You are right. Be sure and reiterate that the rules are different at your house. Tell the child that you care about their health and do not want them to get sick from eating the wrong foods. You are being more than reasonable by allowing them some occasional candy. I have an 8 year old girl and when she is going through a growth spurt she is a bottomless pit. I let her eat more, but only give her healthy choices. Lately she is hungry at bedtime, and I allow her a snack like a small bowl of cereal, a piece of cheese or fruit. Stick to your guns. The child may think you are mean now but will appreciate it when they grow up and have good habits.

Vuyokazi - posted on 06/16/2010

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my kids..r eating regulary just like their father..bt when i'm at home..i make sure they eat proper food..and snack well..bt the father is giving them too much of sweets

[deleted account]

Hi Debbie, I have 2 boys aged 4 and six and they both have bottomless pits!!!!My 4 year old gets quite grumpy with me if I dont give him the things he wants to eat. Isound very similar to you. They eat a good Breakfast, lunch and dinner, with snacks in between, but sometimes it never stops so i put my foot down and say no alot of the time too. It is hard, because I have friends with kids that wont eat at all! I dont allow the boys to snack after 4pm. They can wait for dinner. Get a dink of water I say. lol Poor buggers. Jo

Justyna - posted on 06/15/2010

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I don't keep junk food at my house, and my daughter who is 7 can have a snack at anytime .......If she is hungry she is hungry, and I don't limit how much she eats. SHe has no weight problems, ...I don't give her any kind of juices, she drinks water and cooled down fruit tea, sweetened lightly sometimes with home made rasberry syrup. I get most of my food organic, so it is 2x as expensive as regular food, but I would never think to limit my child when it comes to healthy eating habbits. She eats healthy breakfast, lunch adn dinner, and each is followed by as many or as little snacks as she wants. ......One suggestion is maybe you should have fruit adn veggies available to them at all times ......I find that very helpful, as when these 2 options are displayed, both my daughter adn husband snack on it all the time and don't look for other things...good luck

Katie - posted on 06/15/2010

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I think you are correct to take pause here. The quickest way to get your kids fat (though you say they are not now), is to let them constantly graze all day long. You do them a huge diservice by doing that.

As for them thinking you're mean for not giving into their every whim... Please do not be one of those parents who is afraid of their kids & gives in every time to avoid a tantrum. So what if they think you're mean right now? What are they gonna think 15 years from now when they are morbidly obese and cursing your name for not giving them dietary guidelines?

I'd rather be my child's parent than her friend. It's your job to make sure they have what they NEED, not everything they WANT. It sounds like you are doing a great job, so keep it up and don't be afraid to ruffle those little feathers :-)

Kelley - posted on 06/15/2010

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Look on the packages of the go-gurts and snack cakes, there is a lot of "empty" calories and sugars in them. Fruits juices even organic ones have sugars in them. Popsicles and other "frozen" stuff have huge amounts of sugar. Try regular plain old fruit, freeze grapes if they want something cold and get you really need to have them drink milk, or saymilk or even almond milk that will give them the benefits of real milk.

Kelley - posted on 06/15/2010

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I believe in feeding a child, even if it is all the time. No my child is not overweight; infact she is now hwere close to being overweight. She is just exactly where she should be as the doctors say. I have healthy snacks in the fridge (fruits/veggies/cheese sticks) and I have a tote full of healthy snacks in the pantry. My daughter doesn't drink soda (only when she goes out to eat, but barely rarely there either) She prefers water over juice and then she has her milk. She has one piece of candy daily. She is able to eat anytime she is hungry. If parents execute healthy eating habits then the kids will pick up on it and they will eat healthy as well.

Lydia - posted on 06/15/2010

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My daughter wants to eat bread, crackers, chips non-stop. We have to be very careful about only having good choices in the house. So, if she says she's hungry, I WILL let her have a yogurt or an apple or a banana. Those kinds of things, I "count toward" her lunch/dinner, etc.

Alison - posted on 06/15/2010

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That sounds pretty much like my house. I have 5 kids and am a SAHM so being on one income I have to make sure that they don't eat us out of the house. They aren't allowed to have pop except on special occasions and I tell them all the time to drink water if they are thirsty in between meals. We also have a candy bowl except that most of the time I throw the majority away just because I don't let them have it everyday and when you still have halloween candy in Feb I think it's time to get rid of it, lol. I just think a child should have permission before eating and shouldn't be allowed to eat whatever they want.

Kali - posted on 06/15/2010

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I think what you are doing is great. Kids shouldn't be grazing all day long. There is nothing wrong with healthy meals and a healthy after school snack. We don't have anything to eat before bed, but my kids go to bed right around 8:00pm and usually sleep till 7:30am. My children are 4 and 7 and I feel that now is the best time for them to be learning those healthy eating habits. With childhood obesity on the rise I feel it is my responsibility to do everything I can to keep my children(and the children I do daycare for) from being one of those statistics. Both of my children are average height and weight.
Not that we don't have any "junk" at all, but it is very limited to special occasions or special family night.

Johane - posted on 06/15/2010

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with what you do. If we dont learn them healthy ways to eat and drink when they are young, it will become a bad habit for the rest of their lives. My kids are only 6 and three, but theyre in the same routine as yours, incl candy jar on shelve that they cant reach. You Go Girl!!

Kat - posted on 06/14/2010

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What I think is most important is to help the kids to decipher between hunger snacking and boredom snacking. My middle child, a girl (8), would eat me out of house and home. She could finish a meal and within a half hour she's looking for more food. I know that physically she can NOT be hungry, but rather eating out of boredom. Tho her capacity to eat is large, she is by comparison very petite and slim.
My kids (11, 8, 6) eat well-rounded meals, are allowed junkfood now and again, but they are expected to ask permission if they want to take something from the fridge or cupboards. Their first choice is always something junky, but then if I offer an apple or yogurt in its place they are reply "no thanks." I think, if they were REALLY hungry, an apple or yogurt would be exuberantly welcomed.

Lesha - posted on 06/12/2010

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sounds like you're doing the right thing. i'm the same with mine. i have 4 and they would eat me out of house and home if I let them eat whenever. All they drink is water or milk. You're doing the right thing. I think 3 meals and 2 snack between those meals should be fine. my kids r 12, 9, 7 and my youngest who is the only girl is 3. They alway want more but they don't need it. I alway tell them I feed u so u won't starve not so u can get full. they get a nice portion of everything and once they get their milk or water after they are fine.

Sandra - posted on 06/12/2010

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If my daughter is hungry she needs to tell me. She can look in the fridge as much as she wants but she needs to ask to eat or drink something. I tell her that for every juice drink (OJ, apple, Grape ect...) she drinks she has to follow it by a glass of water. I make sure my daughter has eight 8oz glasses of water a day or more. I let her choose her snacks and she either chooses fruit or carrots. I let her choose her treat which usually is a thing of sugar-free jello with fat free whipped topping on top, or it is a Popsicle from the fridge. She has ice cream once in awhile and candy rarely. I only let her have the sweet stuff after lunch (except when Gma is around) so her body has time to wear off the sugar. I also buy those fruit snacks as a treat for her...and the occasional cookie. I let her have regular milk two times a day and chocolate milk...made with no sugar coco powder or sometimes nesquick (but rarely) for lunch also. She usually opts for water though. I have correlated with her preschool to make sure I am able to feed her properly. They have given me some nice facts and resources to look at. The average child needs 5-6 meals a day. Unless otherwise stated by a pediatrician, which has also commented on my daughters diet ans said that we were doing a good job.

Alawishas - posted on 06/11/2010

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I see a lot of "as long as it is healthy" but what is not said is that letting a child eat whenever they want teaches them unhealthy eating habits. Just because they munch on apples, oranges, celery and carrots constantly does not constitute they are eating healthy, Letting a child eat constantly teaches them that it is the norm,. And as they get older they continue this habit into adult hood. If they don't encounter childhood obesity they will encounter adult hood obesity. Structure is good for children that includes meal times. Don't let ppl tell you that just cause it is celery instead of snickers that it is ok. Keep the structure, the mom with limited custody doesn't write the rules for your house don't let that change. When the kids point out what their mom lets them do tell them that is the way she runs her house and this is the way you run yours. Just because it is good for them doesn't mean they need to over indulge in them.

Amber - posted on 06/11/2010

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My kids love to snack, but they aren't allowed anything junk or within a hour of a regular meal. Keeping lower cost alternatives.... carrots, celery, cucumbers, apples, grapes, peaches..... washed, cut up and in a bright container in the fridge encourages them to snack in a healthier way and fills them up better than candy or sweets. If they insist on other stuff, we have found the flavored rice cakes (more expensive... I know) go well when they want something other than fruits and veggies. Take your kids to the store and tell them they can pick out snacks that are healthy (have them start looking at labels) and within a certain price. Besides your 2 year old, they are old enough to understand cost. Good Luck.

Sunshine - posted on 06/11/2010

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don't let him pull the "at mt moms house" card. he's checking your boundries and trying to use guilt to have his way. stick to your guns. He needs to see that you're strong and united with his dad. I'd let him know that you understand how hard it is to have different rules at each house, but that in life there are different expectations everywhere he'll go & he'll have an easier time if he can respect that. I have to put my foot downn with my five in the summer- they want to snack constantly and at different times so every 10 minutes all day someone wanted to eat- now they get 3 meals and one snack (all eating at the same time) in between. Hang in there. you're doing the right thing even though it's hard!

Dominic - posted on 06/11/2010

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No I'm with you. kids don't need to eat all the time. Not especially if they are eating 3 squares a day.Food bill does get expensive.

Holly - posted on 06/11/2010

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My mother was a dietician. She says kids SHOULD be hungry at meal time. I see tons of kids who are not. My kids drink milk with meals. Between meals water or milk and only occationally juice which has lots of sugar. No kool aid or soda in the house. In the heat of the summer I will occationally make lemonaide as a treat.

Snacks are healthy 90% of the time. My DD will eat lots of healthy snacks but as it gets closer to dinner I make her stop. She seems skinny to me but I'm coming to realize that might only be in comparison to the other kids she's around. The doctor tells me she is not skinny and has a normal BMI. The doctor said to watch letting her eat even healthy snacks too much. (I used to tell her she could eat all she wanted if it was fruits and vegtables - she'll snack on veggies plain no dip...but I was finding they I couldn't keep up.)

My son will say he's hungry and beg for junk. If I say fine would you like an apple half the time he is no longer hungry.

Candy. Well I don't buy it but it comes home all the time. It is in a bag high up an occationally they get a piece after dinner instead of desert.

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