Kids and snacking?

No Snacks, no sweets, no seconds. Except on Days that start with S. Too simple for you? Simple is why it works. Look here for questions, introductions, support, success stories.

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zoolina
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Kids and snacking?

Post by zoolina » Tue May 29, 2007 7:19 am

For those of you who have kids, do you let them snack? My kids are definitely on the 5 mini-meals a day plan...

wosnes
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Post by wosnes » Tue May 29, 2007 3:14 pm

I have kids -- they just happen to be adults now!

I don't think growing children should be held strictly to the rules of No-S, but I think they can still learn good eating habits. Actually, the only No-S rule I think they should be held to is No Sugar -- except on S days.

There are times during our lives when we need more calories than we're (probably) able to get in 3 daily meals: during times of growth and then for pregnant and nursing moms.

Children have their most rapid growth -- and most frequent eating -- during the first year of life. But they continue to grow and have other growth spurts. I could always tell when my kids were having a spurt because they ate more and they slept more.

Since kids aren't little adults and have different calorie and nutrition needs than adults, a snack or two sometime during the day is probably a good idea, as long as they aren't eating junk.

While kids may need to eat more often, they don't need to eat sugary, salty, fatty snack foods. Those things should be "s" foods for them as well as for you. I've found that if they're truly hungry, good food sounds as good to them as junk. You know, if they only want chips or cookies, they're not hungry, they've got a craving. But if they're willing to eat fruit, veggies, a bowl of soup, a bowl of "healthy" cereal, a sandwich or leftovers in the frig -- they're hungry!

By the way, I've found the same thing to be true for me. If only chocolate or ice cream will do it -- I'm not hungry, I just want chocolate or ice cream. But if vegetable soup or a salad or something sounds equally as good, I'm hungry.

I've found that with healthy foods available, kids will kind of moderate their eating according to what they need. If they're hungry they'll eat, if they're not, they won't.

ThomsonsPier
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Post by ThomsonsPier » Tue May 29, 2007 4:02 pm

wosnes wrote:By the way, I've found the same thing to be true for me. If only chocolate or ice cream will do it -- I'm not hungry, I just want chocolate or ice cream. But if vegetable soup or a salad or something sounds equally as good, I'm hungry.
I like your thinking. As for anything else, I have no offspring and am thus unqualified for comment.
ThomsonsPier

It's a trick. Get an axe.

kccc
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Post by kccc » Tue May 29, 2007 5:31 pm

I allow snacks, but there is a sharp distinction between "snacks" and "treats."

A snack is an apple, a banana, yogurt maybe. Chips are a treat.

I also put out plates of fruit/veg as "appetizers" that can be snacked on while the meal is getting ready. Hunger is a great way to get the good food in!

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reinhard
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Post by reinhard » Wed May 30, 2007 8:27 pm

I don't (yet) inflict No-s on my daughter, and I don't think I ever will in its strict form (though a bit trickles down because I'm usually the one who cooks meals and that gives some structure). My daughter was born less than three pounds, so we've always had the opposite concern -- we'd love for her to EVER eat fruit. I'm hoping that my "conscious" mealing will create an unconscious culture of mealing for my kids, but I may have to revisit this issue as they get older (my daughter turns three in August, #2 is due to arrive any day now). I think 3 meals probably is sufficient, even for kids; (4 certainly is) my bigger concern is I don't want to come down on them like some fascist dictator that they'll resent and revolt against. And they'd have a point; while it's important to set up some good mealtime structures, there's something a little messed up about a parent putting a kid on a "diet."

Gimme a few more years and I'll be much better qualified to comment on this subject :-)

Reinhard

zoolina
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Post by zoolina » Thu May 31, 2007 8:52 am

I have the feeling that my kids are very much concerned with what is healthy and what is not. They really WANT to be "big and strong" and will follow my advice in order to get there.

As far as the fruits and vegetables, don't despair, Reinhard. My son ate only tangerines for a year. but now, at 5, he's finally branching out in the fruit department.

kccc
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Post by kccc » Thu May 31, 2007 8:02 pm

I do allow snacks, but I need to add that they do NOT replace meals, and they are relatively structured as well.

We sit down to breakfast and dinner together, and often pack a lunch (my son is in elementary-school) because I think I do better than the school menus.

Snacks tend to be scheduled at school, and we simply follow a similar pattern on weekends since that's when my son is used to eating. We don't offer food at those times, but if he asks to have something, we list healthy choices and let him pick from them.

I do think we allow too many sweets. My son thinks dessert always follows the evening meal. (So does my husband.) I have tried to change this expectation by saying "tonight's not a dessert night," but admit that I cave over time - it's hard to enforce. At least we keep portions reasonable.

You do what you can. I also talk about the difference in "healthy" food and "treats," and that most of your food should be healthy food because it helps you grow and gives you energy.

Will let you know the results in another 15-20 years..

zoolina
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Post by zoolina » Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:32 am

I also struggle with a difference in my eating values and my husband's. I grew up with no desert, very few sweets, unstructured meal times (child of hippie parents!) and my husband grew up with structured meal times, desert (which was always yogurt-- the dutch idea of desert), and something (but only one) sweet every day. oh yeah, and chocolate sprinkles on bread for breakfast, which was not included in the "sweets" catagory.

So it's been a negotiation to find the balance for my kids. In my opinion, my kids eat way too many of the sprinkles. the one sweet a day rule works pretty well since my kids don't tend to ask for it and we only give sweets when asked...

Z.

Too solid flesh
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Kids and snacking?

Post by Too solid flesh » Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:14 pm

Firstly, congratulations on your expected baby, Reinhard! Please let us know when s/he is born.


Re snacking: my children do need snacks, they are active and one is still growing, but as other people comment I try to keep the available snacks healthy. But generally I consciously have a fairly "hands off" approach to their eating. Family meals are healthy and I do try to encourage my fussy daughter to eat any fruit and veg (otherwise she would eat none). However, my children are better than I used to be at recognising when they are and are not hungry, and what they need to eat, and I reckon that as I am a former crash dieter and compulsive eater my children are more likely to develop healthy eating habits themselves than with me putting pressure on them.

kccc
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Post by kccc » Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:18 pm

Too solid flesh (great name for this site, btw!)

I totally agree about "minimal pressure." One reason I allow snacks upon request is that I want my son to "listen to his body" when it comes to eating.

There's a really good book called (something like) "How to get your child to eat, but not too much" that recommends that adults control WHAT is offered, and kids control HOW MUCH they eat.

I quite like that approach for younger kids. Gets harder as they get older - so much junk is pushed at kids in places outside your control (like school, even).

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