question for seasoned parents (no not OT)

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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ruxpin55
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question for seasoned parents (no not OT)

Post by ruxpin55 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:13 pm

Just curious if you parents out there have realized how much you allow your child/ren to snack. and since starting No S I am curious if you have cut back their intake... I am stuck, I see some snacks my three-year-old eats (and while not horrible-- yogurt/crackers/fruit) I was curious if what we are "told" to allow them to eat throughout the day is a bunch of malarkey? Part of me sees it as conditioning them to constantly eat/snack, and doesn't really set them up for success when it comes to actually feeling hunger, and then there is the logical part of me that says my child is growing he is in *need* of food... I haven't changed anything drastically, but what I noticed is that after naptime I haven't really allowed him to snack (since dinner would only be about an hour or so away)... I have had good results of clean dinner plates (and he's eating an awesome array of foods now--)
so, am I being a horrible mom to limit foods, or at very least not "push" them (and please warn me if I am going to walk down a not-so-good path) or am I right in having him practice this, with understanding and learning to know when he is actually hungry (and allow him food then?).
thanks
Jamie
--------------------
God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him.
"Why do you spend your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.
(Isaiah 55:2)

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NoelFigart
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Post by NoelFigart » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:38 pm

You are certainly not being a horrible parent to feed your children three full meals a day and not provide snacks! You're darn right a growing child needs food. That's what meals are for.

Now, that said...

When my children were very small, they got three meals a day and two small snacks (fruit, peanut butter crackers, that sort of thing). I wasn't NoSing, but that's just what we did. When they started school, the morning snack went bye-bye. (I lived in a commune, and when it broke up, my daughter, who is not my biological child, went to live with bio-parents. It's complex, but it's why you hear more about my son and little about her in terms of daily routine, as she doesn't live with me.) We were also an "Eat or starve" household. You ate what was set before you or you didn't eat until the next meal. We didn't re-serve disliked meals, as I felt that was going too far. We also refused to be short-order cooks. While my children do have strong food preferences, they're not what I would call picky eaters. But I probably only serve food they dislike a couple of times a month.

Now that they're teens, they do eat three meals a day. They both seem to still like the afterschool snack thing. My son is like me and is really into bread. He often has a slice of toast. I know that's weird. Anyway, he's sixteen and that's a normal caloric content for any snack he'd have. We have dinner, but don't eat after dinner unless it's an S day and I've made a treat. Seconds have never been an issue. If a meal is particularly tasty and there are leftovers, it might become lunch the next day, and I'm totally cool with that.

The household habits (My husband and I both do No-S) are such that there's a GENTLE pressure not to snack much and to confine treats to weekends and holidays. In fact, weekends and holidays are rather looked forward to because I will sometimes make a nice dessert.

But you're NOT abusing your kids or being a bad parent if you want to have three meals a day. If the habit has been snacks, I'd definitely WEAN them off that if that's what you want to do. I personally don't forbid an afternoon snack, but my son doesn't have the appalling relationship to food that *I* did at sixteen. (I started a cycle of dieting then going off the diet spectacularly at 12). He doesn't have a weight problem, either, though he will get a bit soft around the edges if he's inactive for too long. I do make him walk to school (it's a mile away), as he's naturally sedentary. If he gets in a couple of miles of walking every day, he's all good, so I push for him to walk plenty in the summer as well. He understands why.
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Post by kccc » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:32 pm

I wasn't doing No-S when my child was that young, but here's what I did that I'm thankful for...

- I did allow snacks, but they were of the "mini-meal" variety - with a beginning and end, at regular times. (Kids are growing, and have smaller tummies. So an AM/PM snack is okay.)
- I did NOT let him walk around the house with food, or (later) have it at the computer. If you are going to eat, you sit at the table to do it! This was partly a housekeeping choice - I hate crumbs all over the house - but I have been grateful for it over and over!!
- Early on, I made a strong distinction between "snacks" and "treats." A snack was food that would be perfectly acceptable as part of a meal - cheese, crackers, fruit, etc. Sweets were treats.
- I don't keep "kid-crap" in the house. (I have a neighbor who complains that her kids don't eat well - and they ARE really picky - but they also have a packet of junky treats in their hands almost every time I see them. Oreos, cheetos, you get the picture, all in single-serve packets.) We don't have that kind of stuff around most of the time.

When I started No-S, here's how I started handling snacks: I never OFFER them, but if he asks, I don't refuse - because he's still growing, and his appetite varies a lot. The one exception is if it's close to dinner - he's big enough to wait now (age 10). I may, if my time allows, put out an "appetizer" of cut-up veggies to hold him while I'm getting the rest on the table.

With all that said... I do bake in reasonable amounts, and my son usually gets an evening dessert after his meal. (I personally would limit that if it was just me parenting... but it's not...) And he eats plenty of crap outside the house - the schools are AWFUL about junk food, and I don't try to control what he gets at other people's house, including the neighbor I described above.) I figure if I can get the basics solid, it will be good enough and if I pressure too much, it'll backfire.

Hope that helps.

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Post by NoelFigart » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:44 pm

KCCC wrote:I don't try to control what he gets at other people's house, including the neighbor I described above.) I figure if I can get the basics solid, it will be good enough and if I pressure too much, it'll backfire.

Hope that helps.
I think this is smart. Barring allergy issues, it's probably the way to keep it from being this big deal.

I agree that not keeping "Kid Crap" in the house is also wise.
------
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ruxpin55
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Post by ruxpin55 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:48 pm

thank you both for your insight. I agree with the no kid-crap (but I have been one to offer some potato chips at lunch as a very rare "treat" of sorts). Snacks usually consist of what both of you referenced, it tends to be a clementine, a banana peanut butter and crakers, cheese slices, celery with peanut butter, that sort of thing.

so.. I know both of you stated slightly older children, but I suppose I wonder, should I offer my 3-year-old snacks? He's a pretty smart kid, and I know that, for the most part, he can tell if he's hungry, but what I am worried about is, am I being horrible by not providing him food BEfore he gets overly hungry... do you know what I mean when I write that? psychologically speaking, am I scarring him by "forcing" him to "ask" for food?....

this is probably so silly to even ask-- I appreciate that you were willing enough to share your insight!

it's just that when I read the No S website, I realized snacks were pushed for the mentioned reasons, and that being said, I started wondering about kids and whether or not I would be doing the worse thing by conditioning them to only eat at meal time, or am I worse to allow snacks but make them ask.... there are always so many angles to these things, and with food so readily available, it's hard to try and draw a line.
Jamie
--------------------
God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him.
"Why do you spend your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.
(Isaiah 55:2)

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NoelFigart
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Post by NoelFigart » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:52 am

ruxpin55 wrote:so.. I know both of you stated slightly older children, but I suppose I wonder, should I offer my 3-year-old snacks? He's a pretty smart kid, and I know that, for the most part, he can tell if he's hungry, but what I am worried about is, am I being horrible by not providing him food BEfore he gets overly hungry... do you know what I mean when I write that? psychologically speaking, am I scarring him by "forcing" him to "ask" for food?....
I don't think teaching a child to speak up when they want something is bad. He's gonna have to do it as a grown-up. Making a mind-game out of it would be awful, but I'd be surprised if you'd do such a thing!

Though if you're worried about it, providing him with a limited number of discrete "mini meals" of the types of foods you talk about is hardly going to give him bad food habits, either. Remember my kid is a low-snacker, and at three he had breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. He just didn't graze all day, nor does he now.
------
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ruxpin55
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Post by ruxpin55 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:01 am

thanks Noel: was having a bit of a "i'm on a desert island and don't know who to talk to" moments :-) thanks for your logical deduction!
Jamie
--------------------
God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him.
"Why do you spend your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.
(Isaiah 55:2)

kccc
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Post by kccc » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:08 am

I agree with Noel. I don't think an am/pm snack is an issue at 3. If you just make them discrete events, and don't allow constant grazing, you're fine.

And remember, things will naturally change as your child ages. You'll see when dropping snacks will be appropriate.

An interim step is to ask HIM if he wants a snack, so "no" is an option.

Another thought... teach him to deal with his emotions without turning to food. Don't offer food as comfort for boo-boos, for example.

And the very best thing you can do is be a good role model. Kids pay more attention to what you DO than anything else...

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Post by clarinetgal » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:33 am

My son is 3 also, and for now, he's getting 3 meals and 2 small snacks a day. Thankfully, he is NOT into junk food at all (no Oreos, processed fruit snacks, chips, etc...), so his snacks tend to be sort of healthy (he tends to favor things like crackers and dried fruit). For now, I'm trying to set some boundaries with his eating (making sure he stays in his seat, limiting his snacks to about 15-20 minutes,etc...). I hope, that as he gets older, I can gradually wean him from at least one of his snacks.

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Post by oliviamanda » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:26 pm

My 3-year old is a very picky eater. It is only now that he is eating a pb sandwich and it has to be on the very thin bread. But up until now he's exclusively eaten snacks and cereals and fruit. I have been buying him fruit snacks and am officially going to stop. First, now I buy them and he doesn't want them. Secondly, there is talk going on right now about food dyes and their relationship to ADD or ADHD. He already has exhibited a reaction by breaking out from red dye in prescription cough medicine... so in general I do avoid the red dye, but occasionally he gets some m&m's or fruit snacks, and from now on I am going to limit it.

Occasionally he gets cookies or goldfish or snacks or cereal. But in the coming years I am not going to encourage the snacking. Growing up, we always got an afternoon snack (or tea time treat, since my mum is British). But we also got a dessert after dinner, too. My brothers and sisters never had weight problems as kids, but our metabolisms were much faster then. But it is engrained in ME to have tea in the afternoon accompanied by some treat and also after dinner... but I do save these S's for the weekends now.
Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.--- Mark Twain

ruxpin55
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Post by ruxpin55 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:40 pm

olivia: good to hear you are cutting out the not-so-good snacks for your son... those fruitsnacks are awful! my mom actually noticed when my brother (now 31) would have red colored kool-aid, he would act out and almost ADD in a way (before there was ever a diagnosis) so we were very rarely allowed to eat red things. Also be aware of high-fructose corn syrup, a lot of kids' snacks contain it and it's just horrible for their little bodies. Do you know that a lot of baby formulas actually contains "granulated high-fructose corn syrup"? I swear that is liquid evil.... but it reminds me of how early of an age kids get hooked to sugary-sweet things, and it's no wonder why we are so fat (as a nation/ as a whole in America).

Well, what I have noticed is that when I eliminate the afternoon snack with my son, he eats a wider variety of items, from asparagus to beans and veggies (more than he used to) so I am really pleased that he is learning not to be picky, so that is why I am wondering about whether or not snacks are "pushed" for little kids rather than needed. But I think all the lovely people who offered ideas and suggestions have really helped my quandary!.. eat when needed, and kids need to eat more often. But limit the intake to the obvious healthy snacks and make it more of a mini-meal, eaten at the table in an organized fashion.

thanks everyone
Jamie
--------------------
God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him.
"Why do you spend your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.
(Isaiah 55:2)

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Post by clarinetgal » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:39 am

One thing I've done lately is my son has been wanting an evening snack. I haven't been convinced he really wants it, so the only things I set out for him are Cheerios and maybe a couple of Ritz crackers. There have been times where he eats the snack and other times where he doesn't. I'm hoping I can drop this evening snack soon and eliminate the rest from there.
I am SO thankful my son is not into anything with red dyes or high fructose corn syrup!!! I've been freaked out by foods with artificial dyes, ever since my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago (not that I think the dyes caused her cancer, but it seems to me like it would be good for me and my family to avoid them, as a preventative measure).

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Post by kccc » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:37 pm

clarinetgal wrote:One thing I've done lately is my son has been wanting an evening snack. I haven't been convinced he really wants it, so the only things I set out for him are Cheerios and maybe a couple of Ritz crackers.
Ah, yes - the "limited choice" strategy. That's a really good one!

I don't know how many times I've said to my son "If you're not hungry enough for an apple, you're not really hungry." And sometimes he eats it, and sometimes he doesn't. If it's real hunger, he doesn't balk at all!

ruxpin55
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Post by ruxpin55 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:49 pm

clarinetgal and KCCC, I totally agree with the limited snack choices, I guess I have inadvertently already been doing that, I seem to offer something bland like toast or cucumber slices-- if he's hungry, he goes for it, but in the other times I seem to "call his bluff" as it were ;-) I also notice if I am drinking juice or even coffee, he all of a sudden says he's thirsty (I am not a huge anything-else-but-water-person) but on the rare occurrence I do have something more flavorful, he instantly wants something to drink, so I offer him water-- it's funny to see how he seemed like he was so parched he was going to die, to "no, mom, that's okay"... kids. they crack me up!
Jamie
--------------------
God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him.
"Why do you spend your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.
(Isaiah 55:2)

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Post by clarinetgal » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:36 am

Kids are funny. :D

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Post by yuka » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:48 pm

My girls are 4 and 1,5 years old. They can eat as much and as often as they want to (unless I see that they tend to put on too much weight but so far it has not been a problem) but they cannot eat whatever they want to. They can eat sweets only at weekends (just like on the no-s diet but we had introduced this rule long before I heard of the diet) and actually the little one hardly eats any sweets at all, she gets a little only if she sees the big sister eat them and wants some, too; they do not eat chips, or other salty snacks or soda at all, and juice is treated the same as sweets - they can have some at weekends, during the week they have water, or fruit tea, or some milk. Also, if they (actually, it concerns mostly the older one, the little one is still quite little) do not finish what we have for a proper meal, they cannot get anything else (like a a sandwich) before they finish dinner. (As they are never made to finish what they have on their plates during a meal if they are not hungry, either).
Ha, it's easy for to make my girls eat more or less in a healthy way but when they go to bed... my husband gets some chocolate or chips or a jar (!) of nutella and eats it. I sometimes find it irresistible. :( My husband has no weight problems, but me...

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Post by jellybeans01 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:41 pm

my kids are permasnackers and I don't like it because they hardly eat a meal because of it. They are still very very little so I really can't talk about not eating now so your hungry for you dinner. I will though as soon as they understand and snacking all the time will come to a halt. I will allow for fruit or something very healthy, that way I know they are really hungry.

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Post by Who Me? » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:53 pm

Aren't you the one in control of the food?

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Post by Kevin » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:58 am

It can be difficult to get small children to eat three, or even four, times a day. Mostly, we worried about nutrition.
Who Me? wrote:Aren't you the one in control of the food?
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Post by NoelFigart » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:00 am

Kevin wrote:It can be difficult to get small children to eat three, or even four, times a day. Mostly, we worried about nutrition
That brings up an interesting thought. In my household, as I've mentioned before, we had a bit of an "Eat or starve" mentality. We served three meals and two snacks. If the kid did not eat what was served, fair enough. We wouldn't force it, but we weren't going to make something ELSE. One had to eat what was served or wait until the next meal. (The kids would skip the Brussels sprouts most of the time, but there wouldn't be any problem with them eating their oatmeal the next morning!)

I had friends who were uncomfortable with this, as if our kids were going to be malnourished. I personally feel like in our affluent culture we worry too much about that. If you're offering healthy food five times a day, and they only eat four times a day, or only eat part of what's offered five times a day, I didn't see that they were being starved, or that they were not getting a decent nutritional balance. Sure, if you're mostly offering processed stuff dyed bright purple, nutrition might be a worry. I don't think people here are really doing that, though. I bet the parents here are offering fruit, veggies, and whole grains on a regular basis.

While as teenagers they have their tastes in food (still won't eat Brussels sprouts), my son voluntarily packed a leftover vegetable-loaded stir-fry for lunch today. I figure his eating habits are a great deal better than a vast majority of his contemporaries and I credit the whole "Eat or starve" policy with this.

I wish my mother had done this rather than try to cater to my brother and I so we cleaned our plates at every meal. I would not have had to teach myself to eat cooked vegetables to set an example for my kids when I hit my 30s.

Thoughts?
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Post by wosnes » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:34 am

NoelFigart wrote:
Kevin wrote:It can be difficult to get small children to eat three, or even four, times a day. Mostly, we worried about nutrition
That brings up an interesting thought. In my household, as I've mentioned before, we had a bit of an "Eat or starve" mentality. We served three meals and two snacks. If the kid did not eat what was served, fair enough. We wouldn't force it, but we weren't going to make something ELSE. One had to eat what was served or wait until the next meal. (The kids would skip the Brussels sprouts most of the time, but there wouldn't be any problem with them eating their oatmeal the next morning!)

I had friends who were uncomfortable with this, as if our kids were going to be malnourished. I personally feel like in our affluent culture we worry too much about that. If you're offering healthy food five times a day, and they only eat four times a day, or only eat part of what's offered five times a day, I didn't see that they were being starved, or that they were not getting a decent nutritional balance. Sure, if you're mostly offering processed stuff dyed bright purple, nutrition might be a worry. I don't think people here are really doing that, though. I bet the parents here are offering fruit, veggies, and whole grains on a regular basis.

While as teenagers they have their tastes in food (still won't eat Brussels sprouts), my son voluntarily packed a leftover vegetable-loaded stir-fry for lunch today. I figure his eating habits are a great deal better than a vast majority of his contemporaries and I credit the whole "Eat or starve" policy with this.

I wish my mother had done this rather than try to cater to my brother and I so we cleaned our plates at every meal. I would not have had to teach myself to eat cooked vegetables to set an example for my kids when I hit my 30s.

Thoughts?
I agree with this. Another thing that I realized when my girls were young, is that I probably served them too much food, even though I served them less than I served myself or their dad.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed but our power to do it is increased." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Post by idontknow » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:35 am

A very interesting discussion. I have 2 teenage girls (13 and 16). When they were little mealtimes were very fixed in a similar way to yours, Noel: 3 main meals, with a mid-morning snack of fruit provided by school and an after school snack of fruit/toast etc. We tend to eat fairly late and they were often at dance/sport activities in the early evening. We rarely served dessert after dinner, but they were allowed something small out of the sweet jar as a treat. Throughout their very short lives we have discussed the importance of food, a well balanced diet, the place of treats in that diet etc....

However, circumstances change. They are now in their teens, we are working longer hours, childcare is no longer necessary, friends have more of an influence. The older girl has gone through a period of 'eating like my friends' to a more structured approach. She loves veg (eats a bowl of peas for breakfast!) and basically still sticks to the three meals/2 snacks approach. However, she knows when she is full and stops eating.
The younger one (13) is more difficult. She is constantly on the move and is grazing her way through the day. She gets full quickly (or is bored of sitting still!) so only eats small amounts, but then wants to eat again an hour or so later. She is also just starting to get more freedom and wants to eat like her friends do (lots of junk). However, she is starting to recognise that what she eats affects the way she feels, and as she is very active she can see that she needs to eat 'healthy stuff' to maintain her energy levels.

My approach has always been to discuss their choices. I won't be able to control my girls' lives for ever (although sometimes I feel as though I would like to :lol: ) and I need to make sure they can make the right choices. Sometimes this means letting go of the control and then discussing the consequences of their actions. It most definitely means being a good role model - I too learnt to eat veg in my 30s as a good example. Both of them are way healthier and make better food choices than I did at their age, and both are keen to try new things. I do think it's harder as they get older and more independent - you have to trust that you've laid good foundations and adjust and tweak accordingly.

Just my opinions and what has worked for me. It's not perfect, but if you've got teenagers you'll know it's all about compromise :D

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