so I wonder

August 16, 2007

How do moms of many children deal with the food thing? You know, how kids eat constantly? Do they just put out food at mealtimes and the kids learn that this is the time you eat, or else you go hungry? Or do their kids graze at their leisure in the kitchen?

‘Cause my kids exhaust me, and there are only two of them. They ask for food every minute of the day. At least it feels like that. If we are leaving the house for more than 5 minutes, I have to pack 4586745907 snacks to avoid the inevitable chorus of “I’m huuuuunnnggggrrrrry” as soon as I put the car in drive. Which makes me want to poke my eyes out.

I’ve tried getting them to eat more at mealtimes, but it hasn’t seemed to make a difference. And only offering fruits or veggies for snacks — that works for about five minutes. (i.e. healthy snack is offered, child is suddenly not hungry any more, until five minutes later.) I do remind them regularly that they will not perish if they are forced to go longer than fifteen minutes without eating, but they’re not convinced.




  1. I have no advice, but it seems like we are living similar lives, as far as children and begging for food. I honestly don’t remember doing this as a child, and asked my mom the other day. She said we didn’t. I tried only offering fruits and veggies as snacks, but as you said, suddenly – no longer hungry. But then they’re back two minutes later. Then I give in because I can’t handle the whining every two minutes. It drives me bonkers. I suppose I should introduce a set snack/meal time. I’m too lazy though.

  2. Julie,
    i am constantly battling this also with my 4 kiddos.
    It seems like we finish a meal and not 15 minutes later someone is in the fridge because they are “huuunnnnggrrryyyy!”. I have tried to explain the difference between eating out of boredom and actually being “hungry” and that it is not physically possible to eat breakfast then be “hungry” 15 minutes later… to no avail. I only allow them to eat fruit or veggies between meals and I have begun to say that they only get one “snack” of fruit or veggies (since I spent $40 at the farmers market on fruits and stuff and it evaporated in 2 days…) at a time. My youngest (4 year old boy) is a nectarine addict and would rather eat 4 or 5 of them than eat any real food. I have no real words of wisdom… other than offering healthy choices is really the best compromise in my opinion!

  3. A couple of words of advice. Do not give in to the whining. It may be hard to grasp this concept to a lot of moms and dads. Obviously, if your kids are crying “I’m hungry” and then not wanting to eat the healthy good stuff, then they are not hungry. If they are eating out of boredom then send them out to play football or run around the house ten times. Give them something to do instead of sit in front of the TV to be entertained and told that they want all this junk food from comercials. If you want to have snacks available only buy healthy ones, don’t have junk in the house. A lot of times if it’s out of sight then its out of mind. You don’t have to just do fruits and veggies either. You could do string cheese, nuts, or a slice of bread. My daughter always says she’s hungry, but most of the time she’s just plain thirsty. Water is wonderful. There is a reason why so many children are obese in this country. Be the parent and tell your kids “no.” Tell them that they should eat better at dinner time so that they aren’t hungry so soon afterwards. They are not going to die if they don’t get their candy, I promise. It seems that a lot of parents nowadays are afraid to deny their kids anything because it’s uncool. You don’t have to be cool to be an awesome parent. Good luck everyone.

  4. Julie-
    I know you’re doing a great job with the girls. I think kids are just fussy like that- even though I know you are offering them great, wholesome foods. Also, as far as grazing all day, thats my girl- from 7-12 non stop eating. Those girls will thank you when they learn how to grind whole grains with your mill and make cheese from scratch for their kids like you do!

  5. Julie,
    I totally hear you on this! My kids are always hungry, always asking to eat, always wanting to snack. I attribute it to the fact that they are burning calories like little furnaces. Your kids are dynamic and always on the go…they need teh extra fuel to keep up with their activities!

    At the end of the day, it’s about giving them not only a healthy diet (which I know you do in spades!) but a healthy relationship with food (which you also are doing in spades!). To force a kid on a bataan death jog around teh house just because they don’t want to eat veggies for a snack is a little harsh. Don’t we all have food cravings? Kids are no different!

    I give my kids enough credit to know when they’re hungry versus when they’re thirsty. Drinking water to replace food hunger is an unhealthy precedent. I literally have a buffet line on my counter and bowls of snack fruits in the fridge during teh day. My kids eat, like, 10 small meals during the day. But, from what I’ve read, that’s a good way to eat!

    Bigger meal portions encourage obesity, actually. so making a child sit and eaat more during dinner so they aren’t hungry so soon will prevent them from listening to the ‘natural fullness’ feeling and make them overeat.

    I’m sure you know all this, because you are a very intuitive, hands on mom! But other posts make me wonder.

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