My 5 year old complains of being hungry all the time. What do I do?

Jamie - posted on 11/11/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )

61

2

2

My 5 year old daughter has been eating a lot lately. She complains that she is hungry so much. I try to do healthy and filling meals, and I do snacks throughout the day, so I know she is getting plenty to eat. However, I have been known to bake cookies for their after school snack. That doesn't happen often though. The past couple of weeks she has been eating 2 bowls of cream of wheat or oatmeal for breakfast. When she says she's hungry, and I tell her to wait an hour for dinner, or if we are in the car driving and aren't able to get food or drink right then, she freaks out. Literally. She starts crying and screaming. She says that she's going to starve and goes on and on with it. I don't know what to do. It's frustrating, but I feel so bad for her. She has never been a huge eater. This has just transpired the past couple of weeks. If she's wanting something to eat right before dinner, or if she just got done eating a good portion of another meal or snack, I usually offer her an apple or something if it's close to dinner time, but she refuses to eat it because she all the sudden "doesn't like apples". Which I know she does. She usually cries right before bedtime because she's "hungry". It has me nervous. She had a bad stomach ache for a couple of days last week. She had no other symptoms other than her stomach hurting. I took her to the doctor. They tested her urine, made sure she wasn't swollen in her stomach anywhere. Everything came back okay. The doctor wasn't sure why her stomach was hurting. It went away on it's own after a couple days. During and after the stomach ache is when the "hungry" fits started. Maybe she's just going through a growth spurt. I do feed her all meals and snacks, so I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to sit and feed her all day long. Any advice? Thanks!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Joyi - posted on 12/01/2011

30

19

0

The "urgent" hunger might be associated with her blood sugar getting out of balance. I used to get so freaking hungry - like the kind of hungry you get when you are pregnant - and finally found out that I had a tendency towards diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions. The truth of the matter is that those type of urges did not go away until I after I ended up having to have a gastric bypass. I had had those extreme cravings (for bread usually) since I was a child... I was off and on a tiny baby and toddler, a touch pudgy as a child - never bigger than my age / size, thin in my teens and I hit my early twenties and ballooned - I started gaining weight just unbelievably. I didn't actually eat a whole lot, but I craved carbs now more than ever and would become physically ill if I couldn't have them. If your daughter has some family indicators that she has a predisposition towards blood sugar issues, you might be seeing some of the early signs. If you think that is a possibility, then as you educate yourself on how to modify her diet - you will see that much of the modification will be exactly opposite of what your daughter craves. Your daughter will probably go through a tough physical cleansing while her body is clearing (what to her body) are toxins. She will basically have to go through a detox of sorts... the up side is that if this is contributing to what is going on with your daughter; for you to be able to nip it in the bud now and also be able to teach her along the way how to eat for her body... you will save her from more physical, psychological and even spiritual anguish than I can even begin to tell you.

Two quickies that should help no matter what the reason that she is so hungry... The combo of a fast releasing carb and a slow releasing one in the same meal / snack. My all time favorite is apples and peanut butter, which has never failed to stabilize my blood sugar. Not the prepackaged ones, though... the "peanut butter" in those seems entirely too sweet as if extra sugar has been added. The other is what I say to myself to help me stay on track... "White's NOT right." For me that means white rice, white flour, white bread, white sugar, white noodles... basically if it is white, I need to use extreme caution and moderation when eating and really it would be best if I never put "white foods" in my mouth - ever.

As for being tired at bedtime - I have been told or read or something - I don't remember the source, but I remember trusting it. The signal that cue the body that you are tired come from the same area of the brain that cue hunger and thirst. So, often, when people are tired they will feel hungry or thirsty - thus late night snacking. I remind my daughter of this when it is close to her bedtime and she starts complaining about being hungry... and then I usually comment that she must have really wore herself out today and maybe she should go on to bed a few minutes early. And to my surprise, she has always agreed - and gone onto bed.

Then, of course, like you mentioned - maybe it is nothing more than a growth spurt. I mean they grow a NUTSO amount just between the ages of 5 and 6. My daughter never really did get overly hungry to the degree you are describing - her hunger was more like the difference between picking at dinner (her usual) to eating her plate of food and maybe asking for an extra serving of whatever was her favorite. What you described reminded me a lot of how frantic I used to feel and my doctors never once considered my blood sugar until I was an adult in my late twenties - and I was on the brink of becoming a full-blown diabetic. Also, my blood sugar numbers were not exactly off during routine exams - I think we actually started keeping a food diary (noting cravings) along with taking my blood sugar 3x a day before it became obvious that my blood sugar was completely out of whack.

If nothing else, a food / craving diary would be a good idea - because if your daughter is craving a particular type of food - it may lead you to a needed supplement. Once the body is given what it needs - the hunger might back off on its own. I have learned that if I go more than a couple of days wanting something particular, then I just look up "craving (insert desire)" and usually a recommended supplement pops right up. I modify my diet or go get some vitamins... and the craving / intense hunger sensations go away within a day or so.

Anyway, sorry for the book... hope something I have said helps. Going now... lol.

Lissa - posted on 11/30/2011

18

0

0

Over this summer I noticed our 9 year old was eating 4 bowls of oatmeal a morning. Our 7 and 5 year old were eating 2. At lunch they all wanted 2 pb and j full sized sandwiches plus a bowl of fruit salad after lunch. Then they wanted a snack before supper and then they would eat a full plate at supper. All three of them. When I saw the 9 year old eat as much as her father and ask for more I put my foot down. We were going through 700 dollars worth of groceries a month!!!!!!!! They were going through a gallon and a half of milk a day. It was getting out of hand. So what I did was look up what the docs recommend when it comes to age and proportions and went with that. The kids were over eating and stretching their stomachs out so they could eat more. The doctor even said the oldest thought "full" was so stuffed she could hardly move. I might sound mean but I have put a limit on how much the kids eat. They eat what the docs say they should eat for their age. If they complain about being hungry I give them water til the next meal. Kids eat way too much and that is why we have an obesity problem in our country. Sometimes my kids get upset and throw fits but there is not reason for them to have something to eat every 5 min. It's better then watching a 9 year old put away 5 gourmet muffins just for breakfast!!

Tamara - posted on 11/29/2011

10,839

65

428

Kids do this off and on until they are at least 17 (thats how old my oldest is and he still does it) they last about a month maybe month and half then it slows down then it starts again between 6-9 months then the cycle starts again, just be prepared to buy bigger clothes :) not necessarly around the waist but in the leignth

Toni - posted on 11/12/2011

15

1

1

Hmmmm.... I would suggest another doctor's visit if this doesn't change.....maybe it could be stress related? Sounds funny I know but even a 5 year old can have stress and her tummy ache may not be from hunger at all, but the food could be taking her mind off of whatever is bothering her. My son is sensitive and when he was younger he would let things bother him and call it tummy aches until he was a bit older and could identify it with being nervous or worried about something.

Bridget - posted on 11/12/2011

298

22

20

My four and five year old are like that too. I just make out a meal schedule for them. They both eat breakfast at school. My four year old comes home at 10:30 so i give her a small snack. Then she has lunch at about 12:30. She will complain alittle in between 10:30 and 12:30 that shes hungry but i will distract her with a activity like a craft or we will go outside and play that way she will get her mind off of eating. Then we pick up her sister at 2:15 from school and they will get a small snack then too when we come home at about 3:00. We will do something fun in between dinner and the snack like go to the park or run some errands so that will keep their mind off of eating. We usually have dinner around 5:30 or 6ish but they go to bed early because we get up at about 6 to go to school. If yours go to bed alittle later i would maybe put a bedtime snack at the end of the day. This schedule works for us and we also have a two year old and hes on it too so that way they are all eating together. I hope this helps :)

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

11 Comments

View replies by

Joyi - posted on 05/26/2012

30

19

0

I agree with Lissa - the stomach stretching is very common in American society. One of my favorite quotes: "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."
Adelle Davis (1904-1974) Although, until I just now looked it up - I thought this was said by Ben Franklin in the Poor Richard's Almanac. Anyway, good words to keep in mind.

Jaimie - posted on 05/25/2012

1

30

0

i think as long as there is no weight issues then feed them, but sure its healthy, They say your body craves what it needs and this is true for children as well. (also why kids eat glue etc)

Sherri - posted on 12/02/2011

9,593

15

387

She is most likely getting ready for a big growth spurt let her eat as much as she wants as long as it is healthy.

Patricia - posted on 11/29/2011

1

0

0

Our 5 yr old daughter is the same right now. She has always been a real good eater...and always average size/weight, but now she is looking pudgy and always hungry. We are offering veggies and fruit when she is hungry between meals, but it is almost like an urgent hunger and her moods seem to be off a bit too. We are just keeping close tabs on her and limiting anything that is high in sugar or empty calories and hoping she returns to her normal eating habits.

Becky - posted on 11/12/2011

165

0

17

You said this has been going on for a couple of weeks now? She's probably going to be going through, or is in the process of going through a growth spurt. My 5 year old is doing the same thing right now. The clothes we got her for the beginning of the school year are already getting too short. My husband has also joked that she has eaten more food this past month tha she did all last year.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms