To think it's awful the way some people try to justify their children being overweight

(252 Posts)
Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 10:55:58

by saying they just "are tall and big boned" or that they "like their food". And by thinking it's almost a good thing that they're big!

I know two people with overweight children. Person 1 has 4 extremely overweight children. The parents are both tall and overweight, and the kids are all fairly tall, but the mum justifies them being big by saying 'They're just tall and they like their food'. It's clear they like their food, but they're not giants, and regardless of height they are all very overweight. The mum is almost proud of the fact that her children never stop eating. It's quite odd really; she's setting them up for a lifetime of having the piss taken out of them and a lifetime of bad eating habits and potentially bad health. Her eldest child even came came out as overweight on those weight/height ratio tests they do in reception year and she was proud of it because it meant he is tall and loves his food.

Person 2 has one son, who is again extremely overweight and is getting called names at school such as "Fatty". He is 7. She is up in arms about the mickey taking but insists he isn't fat, but that he just loves his food. Again, she is setting him up for the same problems that person one is setting their kids up for.

I know we are all blinkered where our kids are concerned. But surely over something like this some people can see that their children really are overweight?

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Feb-13 10:58:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:02:12

It annoys me the way that some overweight parents seem to think it's a good thing that their children are big and get almost competitive about it. I'd say person one is like that. Very much "Oh my baby is far bigger than yours".It's like she equates fat with healthy for some bizarre reason

YANBU - in my eyes, over feeding your children is child abuse.
If it were children being underfed and having malnutrition, then they would have SS round in a flash.
Our society just seems to accept it nowadays.
It is NOT OK to over feed your children. They may 'like their food' but it doesn't mean you should MAKE them fat!
They are going to live miserable lives with people calling them horrible names and then them feeling even worse and eating even more. It's a catch 22 and the buck stops with the parents.
And yes, I know over eating can be an addiction just like smoking, drinking etc..... But if we teach our children about good healthy food then they are far less likely to grow up and be obese.
I also think that a lot of these people need 'educating' about food. Some people really have no idea about it.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:04:30

I find that the overweight mums I know fall into two camps; the ones determined that their child won't follow in their footsteps and that they will form healthy eating habits, then the type I described in my OP.

The friend with 4 DCs regularly boasts about how much they eat. She made a soup at lunchtime the other day and her 2 year old had 3 bowls of it, 4 crackers with philadelphia, and then 4 yoghurts

Sugarice Tue 19-Feb-13 11:07:08

Tula your friend's food bill must be horrendous!

ewaczarlie Tue 19-Feb-13 11:07:48

I totally agree. I'm very overweight and have struggled with it since childhood (no excuses just eat too much and exercise too little) but I'm obsessed with my ds (3.5) not getting fat and ensuring he gets lots of exercise. He does eat well and eat treats as I don't want him fixated on food like I am but I ensure he burns it off daily. If he got fat I would see it as a failure on my part

currentbuns Tue 19-Feb-13 11:12:07

I know a couple of parents like this. It does all seem to start when the children are babies - everyone talks about a baby's weight, then there are the weekly weigh-ins, and many seem to see a "top of the centiles" child as something to stealth-boast about. They encourage their dc to be "good eaters" from the moment they're on solids - and it carries on from there.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 11:12:58

I don't know any boasters but I do know a few who are in denial.

However, it must be difficult for overweight parents who are constantly dieting/bingeing not to negatively affect their children's eating habits...especially when they're old enough to go into town and spend their own money.

Children don't always follow the 'do as I say and not as I do' rule...and often end up following the examples they're shown at home.

Dahlen Tue 19-Feb-13 11:14:17

I think it's a parent's job to instil healthy lifestyle habits into their chidren, and failure to do that is a big failure IMO.

However, it's not as simple as all that really, is it. If people were easily capable of adopting that approach with their DC, they'd probably have been able to apply the same rules to themselves and not get overweight in the first place.

Food has a complex psychological association with love. For a parent who struggles with their weight, it must seem very hypocritical and unloving to deny their child that second helping or treat that they have just indulged in themselves.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:14:24

Couldn't agree more, currentbuns. The woman with 4 DCs had 4 very large babies (presumably because she is overweight herself), who obviously needed big amounts of milk from day one as they were so large, and so the cycle began. She was proud when she weaned them early, proud that they were having 3 meals a day very quickly, proud when they could eat finger foods in the buggy whilst she went round town. It all seems to centre around food.

Hasn't it been said that this generation of children will be outlived by their parents because of obesity?

Kyrptonite Tue 19-Feb-13 11:17:10

We have a 4 year old at the nursery where I work who is very overweight. He wheezes when he eats and his clothes are so tight you can see the rolls of fat. He also walks past the nursery with his mum stuffing huge burgers into his face.

He is a lovely little boy. He runs around a lot at nursery, loves doing active games like jumping, hopping etc but until his mum realises the food issue no amount of exercise will help.

SS are involved with him but I don't know if its the weight thing or other family factors.

I agree, if we are talking about "very over weight", or of course obese children.

I think that my appetite was set in childhood and research would back this up.

I was stuffed with crap, mainly so that my father could justify and normalise his own eating.

I have always struggled with constant hunger, i could eat vast amounts.

I have had to go vegan, occassionally to keep my weight down.

I honestly think that it takes away a part of your childhood. I had to starve and then binge infront of my parents as a teen, to keep get down to a average size. Which set me up for yoyo dieting.

How you feed your children can be neglect and/or abusive.

manicinsomniac Tue 19-Feb-13 11:17:39

YANBU

but I do understand that it could be hard for some overweight parents who have got that way through seriously entrenched habits.

I am the opposite. I am very underweight and don't eat enough. And I find it so difficult to cook my children nutritious, balanced meals with everything they should be eating in there in the correct amounts. Because I don't do it for myself it takes a lot of studying and learning as I go to do it. Feeding my children correctly is not automatic to me.

Dds best friend is from a family like this. The poor child is bursting out of her skin. She's allowed free access to cupboards full of crisps and sweets, a freezer full of icecream and is never prevented from eating junk. Her older sister is a teen and is morbidly obese, it makes me so sad to see these girls' lives ruined because the parents refuse to impose restrictions.

These kids don't have the awareness to know how badly it will impact their adult lives, I totally agree it's child abuse to encourage a child to eat to obesity.

Chopsypie Tue 19-Feb-13 11:20:21

This is why I've made the changes to my life now, rather than later. I dont want my children to be 'that' child.

cheddarcheeselover Tue 19-Feb-13 11:20:35

It's sad, these mothers probably got the same from their mothers and this is the only way they know.
I'm overweight and work very hard to not get my daughters into the cycle my mother got me into. They snack on carrots and apples, oatcakes and unsalted almonds. My mum encouraged us to snack on bread and butter, cakes, and breakfast cereal.
my girls are not overweight, and I would be heartbroken if the became so as I know what pain its caused me.

catlady1 Tue 19-Feb-13 11:20:52

What if they were not overweight but never stopped eating rubbish? I'm not disagreeing with you, I hate seeing overweight children, but there are overweight kids about who are a great deal healthier than some normal or skinny kids.

I was an overweight child, but I'm not sure I can really blame my parents. Neither of them are overweight, and my dad has always been a bit of a health freak. We never ever ate anything fried in our house except for pancakes on pancake day, we never had takeaways and we would only go to mcdonalds or similar if my mum had taken me to town with one of her friends and their kids, which was very rarely. We used to always be out and about, going for long walks and hill climbing at weekends, and I did karate and judo and loved PE at school. I just had, and still have, a shit relationship with food. If I got easter eggs or a selection box, I'd eat it all in one go if I was left alone long enough. Of course my parents could have taken them off me and rationed them out, but I think they would have felt bad for doing that, especially since they didn't have to for my siblings. Yet I knew, and I know now, families who fry almost everything, and have takeaways and mcdonalds two or three times a week, and never do anything active, and their children are often very thin. I also know families where the children aren't fed proper meals at all and are turfed out to play first thing in the morning in school holidays, and to be honest I think I'd rather they were fat and looked after, than skinny and neglected.

ElliesWellies Tue 19-Feb-13 11:23:11

YANBU... saying they are 'big-boned' or 'like their food' is a ridiculous excuse. I was very tall as a child and 'liked my food'. By that I mean I would often have a second helping of a healthy, balanced dinner (my mum has an obsession with nutrition and large amounts of fruit and veg). I also played outside for hours. I was not overweight in the slightest.

There is a huge difference between a child working up a healthy appetite through exercise and then eating a large but healthy meal, or eating lots of healthy snacks, and a child who is given constant access to junk food and limited access to exercise.

SoleSource Tue 19-Feb-13 11:23:40

I am huuuuge! DS is very slim. Neighbours gossip and believe I starve him. He eats huuge amounts of healthy food. It ishis genes.

superfluouscurves Tue 19-Feb-13 11:24:03

Equally though, I don't like to judge for the following reasons:

1. We are close friends with a couple who have four children. The parents are average weight, three of the dc are stick thin and one of the dc is quite seriously overweight. He doesn't appear to eat more than the other dc, nor is he less active. So I think things can be more complicated than is immediately apparent.

2. I live in a country (mainland Europe) where you very rarely see really overweight dc. Thinking about it, there are possibly 6 slightly chubby dc in dd's school of approx 280 pupils. Nor do you see very overweight people in the street. Our diet here is much more healthy than it was when we lived in the UK (and we thought we were being fairly health conscious when we lived back home). For example, everyone eats more vegetables here at every meal, meat is cut differently and so a roast joint (even pork) comes without any fat at all as do chops and other cuts of meat, no fat comes off mince or bacon when you cook it (in fact you often have to add a little oil when cooking), the supermarkets do not contain aisles and aisles of ready meals or aisles and aisles of sweets and cereal. Another example: baked beans do not come with heaps of added sugar (my dd spat them out when she tasted them in the UK!) I tried them - and they literally tasted as sweet as a pudding to our palate. Here, baked beans = haricot beans + tomato sauce and nothing else)

Also, the culture (and therefore peer pressure in schools) is aimed at eating healthily. People are hugely knowledgeable (and demanding) about their food and what they consume. Fizzy drinks are a rare treat for children. Family members of all ages, sit down to eat at a table every evening, with the telly off.

In summary: one's surrounding influences can have a huge effect.

WhatsTheBuzz Tue 19-Feb-13 11:24:13

yanbu,
ime, kids never sit still long enough to overeat. My 7yo dd actually
eats like a horse but is fit and active --and only eats crap in
moderation--.

Wossname Tue 19-Feb-13 11:27:07

I worry so much about my two year old's weight. I am overweight, have binged and purged in the past, and my sister was verging on anorexia for years and I link both to my mum's issues with food when we were growing up- tiny tiny portions for us and her not eating at all if she was vaguely upset about anything.

Was determined my child would have healthy relationship with food and am terrified of them being fat and miserable like i was at school. But I seem to have failed already and dc is only two. I provide healthy food, snacks are fruit, no junk food at all really and we sit down together at meals, the stuff i am supposed to do. But dc seems to have no cut off point, is never full and will eat and eat and eat if allowed to. This is what I am like, never full and could quite happily eat everything in the house, although don't. How have I managed to pass this on to my child already?

My child is not fat, but not skinny like other two year olds i see and i am starting to lose sleep over it really.

I am a healthy weight and my ds1 is obese, he is nearly 13.Up until he was 10 he was quite skinny but discovered a love for food that I just cannot control. Threads like this make me feel like such a failure as I have always cooked healthy food and had an active lifestyle

SkinnybitchWannabe Tue 19-Feb-13 11:28:33

So where do I fit in then?
Eldest ds is 13, slim 5f 10 and a rugby player.
Middle ds, 10 is overweight.
Youngest ds 7 is as slim as a rack and he weighed the most at birth.
They all eat the same types of homecooked food and we have no takeways at all.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 19-Feb-13 11:29:31

Person 1 that you describe in your OP sounds like she has issues, and obviously she is not doing the best by her children.

One of my dc is slightly overweight, (the other is very slim) I don't think I try to justify it, but if anyone commented on it to me, I think I would find it hard not to be defensive. He isn't huge, but overweight enough that I have to check trousers to ensure they will fit round his waist before I buy them. I know I feed him a healthy diet, and I know that I provide him with enough opportunity to excercise. He's not a naturally sporty type though, so finding a sport he will fully participate in and enjoy has been a challenge, and it's not one offered at school, or even in many of the more common children's clubs.

I honestly don't know why he is overweight, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it, so I would be annoyed if I was automatically judged as a bad parent that was over feeding her child.

Both his Dad and I were children that were overweight, but I slimmed down as soon as puberty kicked in and now I'm a size 10. I'm not sure how much his Dad weighs now, but he is definitely not overweight any more, so I'm not going to freak out with worry over my child.

WhatsTheBuzz Tue 19-Feb-13 11:30:32

strikethrough fail - probably because I was too busy eating peanut butter from the jar.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:31:15

I think a small minority have taken this thread the wrong way.

To clarify, we are talking about parents that feed and feed their kids, are proud of the fact that their kids are large, and don't admit that they are overweight.

HollyBerryBush Tue 19-Feb-13 11:33:48

I think I'd rather see a portly child than a malnourised underweight one. Which is probably more deserving of concern in the long run.

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Feb-13 11:33:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SirBoobAlot Tue 19-Feb-13 11:36:13

Over feeding is as dangerous as under feeding.

Access to junk food is a problem, installing thoughts about chocolate etc being rewards just sets up psychological problems with food, and some people get portion size entirely wrong.

HorizonFocus Tue 19-Feb-13 11:40:21

I think we have a lot to learn about the impact of hormones on whether you get fat or not - particularly things like cortisol, which can increase abdominal fat. Also, the blood sugar of pregnant mothers can 'set' a child's appetite before they are even born.

Not just about food choices / exercise.

SilveryMoon Tue 19-Feb-13 11:40:38

YANBU.
I really don't understand how this happens.
My ds's (4 and 5) are huge eaters! I mean they literally never stop eating, but they aren't fat or overweight. They aren't skinny, just look how they are supposed to (I think)
I am overweight but that's because I am a greedy pig. I do a lot of my eating secretly.
I wouldn't say I am obese, I am 5 foot 11 and weigh 15 stone. I'm fat and know that I need to lose weight (I have lost a stone and a bit since September). I have a huge problem with fizzy drinks and chocolate. It's like a proper addiction, like smoking or what I imagine drugs to be like. If I don't have chocolate or fizzy drinks, I become extremely moody, sometimes I shake and very very tired. But I know that all of this is because I have these things in far too big amounts and that this would all stop if I had water and an apple instead.
Anyway, enough about me......
A typical food day for my boys would be
bowl of cereal, yougurt, apple
whatever snacks they have at school/nursery
Ds2 has hot lunch at nursery. Ds1 will have sandwich, chunk of cucumber, some carrot sticks, a handful of raisens a bag of crisps and maybe a packof fruit flakes (or the like)
Then dinner (I normally cook from scratch) so sapg bol/curry/hotpot/lasagne etc and will have 1-2 ladel-fulls and a portion of peas/mixed veg
Then there will be cries of "I'm hungry, can I have something else"
so, A biscuit or cake after dinner, some more fruit but normally 2 pieces (an apple and then grapes), then the breadsticks might have to come out and then I tell them to stop.
To me, this seems like an awful lot of food for such small people, but when faced with cries of we're hungry, not sure what else to do.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:41:49

With friend 1 it's not junk food particularly, she's just not teaching her children to have a stop button. They will often eat 2 or 3 servings at dinner, then pudding. Friend 2 I would say it is more of a junk food thing, although she too allows her son to have unlimited amounts at mealtimes. Meal, pudding, second pudding, toast, ice lolly, and on and on

Startail Tue 19-Feb-13 11:43:15

YANBU, but when you have one slightly plump DD who likes her food and one monumentally fussy eater who will happily not bother it's jolly hard.

My DSIS and DMum are very over weight and genuinely don't over eat. I know, therefore that genetics may not be on food loving, sport hating DD1s side.

However, DD2 is fashion conscious enough and strong willed enough that dieting is the last thing I ever want her to contemplate. She does loads of dancing and sport already. Food bores her, always has, she frequently doesn't finish genuinely small portions.

She is absolutely the sort of control freak who could slip very easily into an eating disorder.

WrigglyWorm Tue 19-Feb-13 11:45:32

I agree with the majority of posters but I think its important to state that babies and children are different - babies do need to put weight on. A friend of mine is very slim and was obsessive about keeping her weight low during her pregnancy, to the extent that she dieted to keep to the "pounds you may have gained" chart on some random internet site. Now her baby is 4 months old and on the 10th centile. She shows off about this, says that he is skinny and was going to be a beanpole (neither she nor her partner are tall) She was upset when she felt his cheeks were too "chubby" (not joking!) and said my DS's legs looked fat! (he has those bracelets of fat on him - EBF baby NOT fat but a bit of a lovely chubster)

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 19-Feb-13 11:46:32

I also think its more complicated than the op suggests, I'm like catlady1 in that my parents and siblings were slim but I always had to eat more. No idea why really. My 2 tiny friends are very weight aware but both have 3 children who are larger than average. My children are average at the moment, hope it stays that way but sometimes (sometimes) due to luck rather than judgement.

Flobbadobs Tue 19-Feb-13 11:46:57

YANBU. And I confess I overfed DS when he was a baby.
It was a mixture of ignorance and stupidity, no excuses. I look at pictures of him up to around a year old and feel ashamed of how big I let him get. It took a combination of my MIL, the HV and him starting to walk to make me seebthat he wasn't just a chubby little thing, he was fat.not that you'd know it now though! Mr Tin Ribs eats like a healthy horse and as done since I got my shit together.
The lesson was well earned when I had my Daughters.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 11:47:49

I think it has a lot to do with portion size too when weaning.

The more food a baby has packed into its stomach, the bigger the stomach will stretch and the more food it will take to fill it/satisfy hunger.

There was a thread last month about kids and breakfast, where someone had casually mentioned her 1yr old baby's typical breakfast was...

"two weetabix, a yoghurt or two, whole banana and sometimes toast"

When I questioned why a 1yr old baby would need all that food when they were clearly too young to exercise it off, I think some people thought I had 2 heads or something confused

But I genuinely couldn't eat all of that in one sitting myself.

Flobbadobs Tue 19-Feb-13 11:48:07

Well that was a major typing fail..

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:49:04

Natural blonde as I said this isn't a general thread about overweight children, it's about parents that over feed their kids and are proud that they are fat and won't admit there is a problem. Totally different to what you have described!

As per usual for MN people take threads personally and take the thread off at a tangent.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:50:26

Worra, that is exactly the type of parent I was meaning. One that clearly isn't teaching their child to have a stop button. Was the parent in question proud that their child ate that quantity?

Theicingontop Tue 19-Feb-13 11:52:28

A family member has a 2 year old that is having to wear age 4 jeans to fit around his waist.

Her excuse is that DS' dad's side of the family are big boned and 'butch'.

Nothing to do with the maryland cookies for breakfast, fruitshoot in hand all day, and gregg's for dinner, then... No no no.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 11:52:49

People who say "I feed my child a healthy diet so I have no idea why they are fat" - sorry but it is simple. They eat too much and/or don't exercise enough.

There is nothing magic or mysterious about this, it is simply calories in vs. calories out.

Weetabix, milk, yoghurt, toast and bananas might be healthy enough, but as Worraliberty says it to a ridiculous amount of food for a very young child.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 11:53:29

Well I don't know if she was proud as such

But she did say that if I looked at the weaning section, I'd find that all babies seem to eat mammoth amounts for breakfast.

I didn't look at it because I wasn't overly interested in the conversation at the time, but I do hope she's wrong.

Theicingontop Tue 19-Feb-13 11:53:43

I remember that thread Worra, I sat here for a bit wondering if I must be starving DS. He has less than half of that in the morning, and that's if he's feeling cooperative.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 19-Feb-13 11:54:16

No, you are right that some of us have taken it on a tangent, it's so emotive. Sorry for that. I don't know anyone personally who would be proud of an overweight child, do you think it's because they need to look at it in a positive light at any cost?? I know plenty that boasted about the centile charts. Does it start there?

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 11:56:22

I think it does start with the centile charts, and widespread misunderstanding about what they mean - people seem to think that 50th is a minimum, 90th is something to be proud of while 10th is "wrong", when actually they are just averages.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:56:23

My kids would all happily eat 3 bowls of cereal each morning if I let them, but I don't. Whilst some parents would be thrilled and would let them indulge. Then give them toast, then a milkshake etc etc. it's all about teaching your child to eat in moderation

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 19-Feb-13 11:56:37

*theicingontop' oh I'd forgotten how common it was for people to boast about needing to buy bigger sizes for their children. Like dress size was an indicator of mental ability!

CloudsAndTrees Tue 19-Feb-13 11:58:33

That's true Maja, and I think that now we all pretty much know what healthy food for children consists of, the next step is to educate people on portion sizes.

Some children don't have an automatic 'off switch' when it comes to eating, and they do need to be taught how much is enough. But parents can't do that if they don't know how much is enough.

As I said, my ds is slightly overweight. I know I have always done my best to feed him the right food. But even now I don't know if I might have fed him too much of the right food when he was a baby 10 years ago. I followed Annabel Karmel and other books as if they were gospel, and I really don't remember any of them talking about portion control.

Flobbadobs Tue 19-Feb-13 11:59:27

natural I think that has a big part in it yes, when they're little, being told where they are on the chart is usually a positive, I certainly thought that as he was over the average for his age he must be healthy, not undernourished.
A big change I made with my younger 2 was to not take any notice of the centile charts at all and not getting them weighed unless it has been at the usual check ups.

choceyes Tue 19-Feb-13 12:00:08

WorraLiberty your post reminds me of when one of my NCT friends said that her 6 month old was eating 2 weetabix and sometimes a 3rd! I was gobsmacked as even I would struggle to eat that. And also felt like such a bad mother because my own 6 month old was being BLW and only had tastes of things at that time.

HollyBerryBush Tue 19-Feb-13 12:01:26

Food was rationed post war until 1956 - therefore you will have a generation, upto and including the mid 1980's who associate food with wealth and happiness. Thus begats the next generation.

Some cultures still associate food in the same way - some Ghanans practive 'over feeding'. Mostly it is poverty related. Money = Food = fat baby = healthy baby.

A lot of western mothers associate food with love.

Most people now realise a healthy balanced diet is the way forward - but given the amount of shit preservatives, pesticides, steroids, 'franken foods', the other additives, colouring, sweetners, trans fats, sturated fats, added salt - the whole bloody kaboodle - I don't think a beef patty is really the biggest concern of any parent with the food industry right now.

sydlexic Tue 19-Feb-13 12:02:17

To those with 10 year olds, IME DS and many of his friends gained weight in year 6 had ferocious appetites. My GP told me that it was normal ready for a growth spurt. Since last September he has grown 4 inches and lost 7lbs, he is now slim.

BikerBear Tue 19-Feb-13 12:07:06

Having just read the posts in this thread I think there may be something else that needs taken into consideration as well...
The recent horse meat scandal has highlighted, the fact that buying ready packaged and frozen meals means you never really know exactly what ingredients are in these foods.
Yes, we know the manufacturers and retailers are supposed to indicate the content but we all know that there are certain 'allowable tolerances' of substances that everyone knows can be downright harmful to health.
this is in addition to the preservatives and bulking agents used...
I have believed for a long time that it is not just how the foods are treated and packaged for freezing and transport (as most are NOT as fresh as the supermarkets would like us to believe) but it is also what the animal is fed while being bred for consumption. Even some of the so called 'organically labelled' foods are failing this scrutiny.
You only have to think about the grazing cattle on the Eavis farmland after the Glastonbury festival to realise what could also potentially be in the food chain...
Not wanting to scaremonger, but this seems to be something I am more and more reluctant to have dictated to me by the profit motivated corporate food giants.
I know there are financial, time and geographical restraints and it is not always possible to have access to local and inexpensive fresh produce, but whenever possible I prefer to buy locally sourced fruit and veg and my meat from a butcher who uses locally sourced produce.
I did see a rather thought provoking piece of advice recently that said...
"As a rough guideline, if you want to eat healthily then avoid any food that has a TV/Media advert"
When you think about it it makes sense. smile

GregBishopsBottomBitch Tue 19-Feb-13 12:07:30

I've had weight issues my whole life, but my DD is very slender and athletic, she likes to eat, but we try to eat good food and shes a busy little bee. My DD is aware of her limits, and will stop at that limits. Im quite lucky that she knows her own appetite so well. So overfeeding her has never been an issue.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 12:10:19

sydlexic I have a 10yr old DS (and a 13yr old and 21yr old DS) and I noticed that from about years 5 and 6, many kids do 'bulk up'.

But thinking about my older DS's friends, many of them continue to be overweight even now...though a fair few are also very slim.

hamdangle Tue 19-Feb-13 12:10:27

I think the problem can often be that a lot of parents don't understand what a healthy diet actually is. A lot of posters on here have said that they don't eat junk food or takeaways and prepare food from scratch. This may mean that your kids are eating fewer additives but doesn't necessarily mean that they are eating fewer calories. lasagna, cooked from scratch with flour, cheese, fatty mince and white pasta is full of calories. If you are eating a lot of pasta, white bread, potatoes etc in large portions then it's not healthy regardless of whether you made it yourself.

I think the idea that you can exercise it all off is misleading too. You can go for a six mile run and only burn off a few hundred calories so getting your child to do football/gymnastics etc a couple if times a week will keep them healthy but won't really make a difference to their weight.

Having said that I really do think some of it must be genetic. DS is quite skinny and always had a healthy diet but as soon as he was in high school and able to buy his own food he invariably chose crap. He's still skinny despite regularly finding empty boxes of six cherry bake wells/ jam tarts/ cup cakes in his bag. Grrr.

lynniep Tue 19-Feb-13 12:14:28

I know what you're on about OP but it is difficult.

I don't think I'm in denial about DS2 - I'm fully aware he is very heavy for his age (he is tall too but proportionally he is on the heavy side - like me except I'm not tall!)

DS1 is completely the opposite, tall (the 2nd tallest boy in his class of 45) and slim (like his dad).

I haven't brought them up differently - they both eat the same - a mixture of healthy and not-so healthy. DS2 has smaller portions as he is 2.5 years younger than his brother, but right from day one it was obvious he was naturally more solid (not fat!)

Both of them eat well, but seem to stop when full though - so I just go with that. Of course if I gave them chocolate they wouldn't stop (nor would I) so treats have to be in moderation, but for mealtimes - if they are hungry, it gets eaten - if not, they are allowed to leave some as long as they've made a good effort (something I was never allowed to do)

I find actually that it isnt me that 'justifies' him being overweight. In fact other people do it for me. I honestly dont know if they genuinley think he 'looks' fine or if they are just being kind.

HorizonFocus Tue 19-Feb-13 12:16:04

silvery Your boys probably feel hungry because they are having carbohydrates (apple / grapes / bread / cereal / cake) every couple of hours.

wordfactory Tue 19-Feb-13 12:18:50

I never know what to think about this.

I mean, I don't like to see fat children, and my own are very thin...but nor do I like to take the moral high ground. I can't really, because my two eat like hoovers, and much of it isn't health food!

catgirl1976 Tue 19-Feb-13 12:19:18

DS (15 months) is on the 91st percentile for weight. But he is off the charts for height

Always has been since he was born. Nothing to do with what he eats I don't think. He's just big. And he's not fat, he's completely in proportion

Lottikins Tue 19-Feb-13 12:22:28

Well tall and big framed do exist, and are different to overweight.
I think a lot of the time it is kids are 'under-exercised' rather than over fed

MiaowTheCat Tue 19-Feb-13 12:22:36

It's threads like these that mean I'M usually the nutter getting reassured by the health visitor about the rate my little girl's gone up the centiles... from below the bottom of the chart up to the 91st where she's decided to hang around. I've had myself so stressed out about repeating the sins of my own life that the HV's taken the tape measure on a couple of occasions and had to demonstrate to me that in fact she's just caught up to where she's obviously meant to be from starting as a preemie and her height's on exactly the same centile as her weight... add in a side order of her being later to get mobile and start slowing the weight down and it's made me incredibly stressed over time - until I realised she is just incredibly tall and in proportion (I blame dad for that one -he's 6 foot 7 and she takes after his side instead of my utter midget side).

Her diet I watch like an absolute hawk - but believe me, I'm under no illusions about her and the risk she's at for becoming like us.

Oblomov Tue 19-Feb-13 12:24:58

Ds1 eats and eats and eats and is skinny as a rake. Ds2 is solid as a rock and built like a bouncer. In the bath last night, I thought he was looking a tad.... so will ahev to cut back. They both eat huge hearty healthy meals and then eat snacks all day long, of healthy things but also crisps and biscuits .
I keep an eye on these things because I care.

choceyes Tue 19-Feb-13 12:28:32

Can I just ask a question.....
My DS, 4yrs has a sweet tooth. He will eat chocolate, icecream, jelly, biscuits etc all day if I let him. I don't know how he got his way, but I am sick of having to limit him on sugary food. If I give him some chocolate he will pester me for more and more and more. But I don't give him more, I give him a portion that I think is enough for a child of 4yrs, so 1 biscuit, small portion of icecream, a couple of squares of chocolate etc. But I feel so controlling and I hate having to do this. He will eat healthy food, he does like almost all fruits, meat, fish, wholegrain carbs, nuts (we never have white carbs - nursery do, so they get a mix), although veg is hit and miss if he has no access to sweet stuff. But the issue is when I offer him something sweet he will want more and don't know when to stop.

DD is 2.5yrs and she is very good at limitting herself with sweet food (although she is still BF, and we know how sweet that is, so maybe that's why!) and eats a whole range of healthy food, including lots of veg, so I never control her eating, I am much more relaxed about her eating. I'm happy to give her an extra biscuit or piece of chocolate is she asks as I know she will balance out her intake throughout the day. But with DS I have to be strict and say no more, and I feel mean and controlling and I worry that I might be giving him issues for later on in life.

Any ideas about what I could do?

Theicingontop Tue 19-Feb-13 12:30:35

If you are eating a lot of pasta, white bread, potatoes etc in large portions then it's not healthy regardless of whether you made it yourself.

I agree, it may be free of additives and preservatives but it'll still pile on the pounds. Encouraging people to cook from scratch usually starts with "You can make food that tastes just as good as these tasty ready meals, for half the price!" and that's good, but you have to go further than that and encourage healthy cooking, not just cooking that emulates the junk.

GloryWhole Tue 19-Feb-13 12:32:35

People boast and are competitive about overweight children!?
Really? hmm

I think alot of it can come down to poor advice as a baby. When they are little the HVs are all over the weight thing. Make them eat this, full fat that, three hour feeds, sneak in calories with cream in potatoes . You are made to feel like a faliure when your baby doesnt put on enough weight.

It's do easy to fall into the trap of " he's been ill he needs building up" or ever since he had the tummy bug he will only eat chips and ice cream and before you reAlise it your kids living on crap gaining too much weight as you thought it was better to eat that than to be eating nothing.

It seems rare these days to
Hear of hcp who look at the whole child and the family. Mums tall dads tall child is tall clearly they may weigh more than another child that doesn't make them
Over weight. And equally children of five foot parents are never going to
Be the same height and weight as other children their age and that's their build but the patents are told they r under weight.

Until that kind of crap stops parents are always going to feel
That something is wrong. And yes if friends r Moaning their kids never eat then I can see why parents are proud that their kids are dustbins.

But I do agree that allowing children to eat poor diets and allowing them
To get overweight is abuse. It may be done eith love but it's still abuse. I can see how easily it can happen though

Johnnysknickers Tue 19-Feb-13 12:41:45

My sons are both a healthy weight but are tall and strong. I think it's a good thing personally, especially as they eat well and healthily.

Obesity is a different thing, DH and I are both fitness fanatics and I'm pretty tiny but my children are "big" in that they take after their rugby-playing relatives which I often comment on in a positive light.

Lancelottie Tue 19-Feb-13 12:43:03

goodtimes -- they make me feel like a failure too, as DD remains overweight or nudging it, despite my best efforts.

Maja, I think the question is WHY some children overeat whenever they get the opportunity (and have you ever tried -- really tried -- limiting one child's access to high-calorie food, when another child in the family is a food refuser and very much underweight?)

My nearly 2 year old brother is a beast. Hes in 2-3/3-4 years clothes. He is tall and fat! He was breast fed til he was around 14 month. He was big at birth too. He eats the same amount as my sister who is 3 yet she is a scrawny little thing.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 19-Feb-13 12:47:56

So if you were educating someone with food issues, who say does cook from scratch but lasagnes, potatoes etc. Where do you start?

soverylucky Tue 19-Feb-13 12:49:06

I didn't start putting weight on till I left home at 18 to go to university. It was my own fault. I am paranoid about my dd's being overweight. A few things I notice are firstly the almost constant snacking that I see all the time. When I was a child I would have a good breakfast - usually porrige, I would have nothing till lunch - we weren't allowed snacks at breaktime at my primary school. Obviously at high school it was different but it would be a piece of fruit. I would have my lunch and then when I got home I would be allowed 1 biscuit and fruit. I would have an evening meal - no desert except at weekends and then I would sometimes have a bit of toast for supper. I spend a day with friends and they have a bag bursting with crisps, biscuits, cut up fruit, mini - yogs, fruit flakes, raisins etc. The kids did into in all day. This is true of many of my friends. I don't get it but have mentioned this before in MN and got told I was a bad mum for not giving my kids more than one mid morning snack and one mid afternoon snack. My kids are healthy and not overweight.

I also notice that people give the same portion to all their children even if one is 3 and one is 9.

catkind Tue 19-Feb-13 12:54:55

I think it comes from when they're babies. All the HVs etc are terribly pleased when they gain weight and eat well. "Oh he does like his food" is almost a modest brush-off when people congratulate you on your big baby.
Some people don't realise this stops applying at some point!
<watches 91st percentile chubby baby suspiciously - oh no, she's 98th percentile for height, guess she's okay still>

BalloonSlayer Tue 19-Feb-13 12:57:42

I grew up hating most of the food I was given (thing classic 1960s/70s diet cooked by a not-very-good cook), constantly hungry and craving sweets.

I have ended up with the mindset that I really can't bring myself to give my DCs - two of them hugely fussy, one not at all - a plateful of something I know they can't stand. This is because I remember all too well the misery of a plate of sheep's hearts, boiled potatoes and tinned marrowfat peas < boak > and just want to give them something they like.

My sister was staying with me recently and one night we planned to have curry. She mentioned that my nephew really doesn't like curry but "never mind, he'll eat it, he just has to when we have curry." I know that my DSis was being sensible by not pandering to him, but it broke my heart in a way and I cooked him something else, which he was delighted about. She gave me the hmm look and I know she's right but I couldn't have enjoyed my food knowing that DN was hating his. (And he's 14! not a little kid!)

Getting to the point, I KNOW I have exactly the wrong attitude over feeding my kids. Yes I won't let them stuff and stuff but they rarely want to. I do make them eat appropriately, eg "no you can't have chocolate now, it'll be lunch in half an hour," and encourage them to eat fruit and veg, but broadly speaking I give them food they want to eat and my sole motivation for that is that I want my kids to enjoy their food and not dread mealtimes like I did when I was little.

So I am exactly the sort of person whose kids are likely to be fat. Except they are all as skinny as rakes.

So you wouldn't judge me by looking at my DCs, but that's probably just genes.

hamdangle Tue 19-Feb-13 12:58:40

Growing up we had a good portion of either salad or vegetables with every single meal and it was a variety of salad and veg too. When I was in college a friend went on a diet and she would bring her own salad which consisted of a bowl of iceberg lettuce with some processed ham chopped into it! She had no idea how to eat healthily without depriving herself and feeling miserable. My mum was also into chickpeas, lentils, mung beans before it became fashionable so our diet was healthy and varied and just seemed normal. We also rarely had puddings and never had biscuits in the house at all. If you are full up at dinner then why would you need a pudding?

ubik Tue 19-Feb-13 13:03:06

The whole baby weight thing can be very hmm

I know of some people who put custard in the baby's bottle "to build him up" shock

And the fact is that children who are fat take in more calories than they burn - there is no great mystery to it.

My children are not overweight and eat a fair amount of rubbish - but they do dancing, swimming, athletics and run round park with friends every week. They snack on fruit and the odd biscuit. A packet of crisps is a treat. They get sausage and chips once a week.

Oblomov Tue 19-Feb-13 13:15:30

Theicingontop:
"encourage healthy cooking, not just cooking that emulates the junk"

So no to pasta and potaotoes now? hmm
I don' get it.
what EXACTLY is it that is classified as healthy eating then?
I think you better spell it out to me. Becuase I thought that meat, veg, fruit, pasta. Nothing wrong with any of those things.
Now you say there is? No more sunday roasts for any of us eh? hmm

SuffolkNWhat Tue 19-Feb-13 13:16:29

I am overweight and my DD is a skinny little thing. I do worry that people think I starve her but she eats very well, she has suitable portion sizes for her age and loves fruit and veg. She is always on the go etc

I was exactly the same at her age and was thin until the age of 15 when my knee injury put stop to a lot of my regular exercise plus the giant boobs gene kicked in

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 19-Feb-13 13:22:43

Me too oblamov, but I know my eating's messed up and would love someone to spell it out for me as that's what I thought!

Wossname Tue 19-Feb-13 13:27:37

I think I have no real idea of portion size. Dh has completely overwhelmed me with the amount of food he eats and I struggle to judge how much to give dc. Dh eats an entire pizza followed by a family sized bar of chocolate. If he says he's having a sandwich he means a huge French loaf with a tonne of meat on it. Its kind of blurred for me what is a normal size meal. My mum gave me a roast dinner last week that had a teaspoon of peas, a small slice of chicken and two small potatoes- i have no idea if that is small meal or a normal size meal. But i really don't want to pass that on to my child.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 13:28:00

Children are meant to be 'skinny' though. Many children have a naturally fast metabolism and can eat a fair amount and still be skinny, as they need lots of calories to grow and develop.

Which then begs the question, exactly how much are some overweight children eating each day to be as overweight as they are?

hamdangle Tue 19-Feb-13 13:32:15

Use the 'eatwell' plate as a guide. A third of your plate should be veg or salad and a third should be carbs but try to use wholemeal rice, pasta, bread instead of white. Roast dinners are fine but if you have a ton of meat with fat on, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and some lonely peas on the side then you need to think again!

I think the attitude of many parents towards children finishing a plate of food is problematic too.

When I visited my cousins house as a child I was served a huge plate of food and not allowed to leave th ed table til it was cleared. Unsurprisingly 3 out of their 4 children arr overweight as adults.

As long as my kids have had a few mouthfuls they are never pushed to eat beyond the point they feel full. Sometimes they feel full after half a plate (child sized) but others will ask for more. I let them be the judge and all three are a healthy weight.

I think the culture of saying 'just eat the last few bites' does more damage than people realise.... Everytime you force a child to eat past full their stomache stretches a little bit, do it constantly and you end up with a six year old eating adult portions of food.

Wossname Tue 19-Feb-13 13:36:10

Oh me and the kids eat well, i have just left husband to it really. We don't eat white carbs, have lots of fruit and veg, no puddings or anything, nice home made soups, veggie stews with pulses etc. The actual food is good and cooked healthily but I think i do make mistakes with portion size, am getting more aware of it though.

shewhowines Tue 19-Feb-13 13:38:06

My DD was a huge chubby baby but seems to have a built in "stop" button. My average baby DS has no stop button. I have to be that button for him.

It should be the other way round surely. confused

forevergreek Tue 19-Feb-13 13:41:04

I think it's the snacking culture. My two are pre school age, it wouldn't occur to me to take a snack out with us.

They eat breakfast/ lunch/ dinner and have a set snack time around 3.30 ish.

If they are eating a good breakfast of say porridge or boiled eggs and toast, then they easily last until lunch. They have honestly never asked for food/ snacks.. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, I suppose they get fed approx every 4 hours automatically so aren't hungry.
Have you ever read 'French children don't throw food'?. It's has some unusual ideas but also emphasises the lack of constant snacking in France

I know a lovely lady who also has a two young children. They are constantly having food given to them. An hours trip to the park will involve snacks in buggy, snacks on swing, juice every 5 mins and snacks in buggy on return home. I wouldnt take more than some water. Unfortunatley these children are rather overweight. Also for example I would take a buggy but both mine would walk, with youngest in buggy if tired, both hers will be strapped in a double buggy without the option to toddle ( only a 10 min adult walk). My children will constantly be offered their snacks and usually decline as they just aren't used to it ( and have only eaten breakfast an hour before)

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 13:48:19

Forevergreek, I think you raise a good point.

I know several children that just never seem to stop eating. One old friend used to bring her children round for an hour or so and would bring a whole carrier bag of food with her as they needed to eat constantly. Said children were maybe on the stocky side but not overweight. But I can see how a child can get overweight with that kind of snacking, plus enormous meals too

hamdangle Tue 19-Feb-13 14:02:47

It's not just healthy snacks but constant treats too. When I was a kid I had a ten pence mix or twenty if I was lucky (showing my age) but now I see children in prams with whole bags of haribo to themselves!!!

I once asked my mum if I could go on a diet - in fact, I asked to go to the doctor to be advised on a diet - because I knew I was overweight. She refused.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 14:05:42

I think it's the snacking culture. My two are pre school age, it wouldn't occur to me to take a snack out with us.

I agree with that.

When I first joined MN I was shocked at how often people were being advised to 'take a snack to keep them occupied'...when they were saying they had to go to a wedding/meeting/event that the kids would be bored at.

Occupying children with food instead of toys/books would never have occurred to me.

But I wonder if there's a link between that and boredom/emotional eating when they get older?

Fakebook Tue 19-Feb-13 14:13:32

I have the opposite problem at the moment with dd. She is surviving on salad and fruit. It's easy to be proud of your child when they eat well, and tbh, if my dd started eating more and grew an appetite I think I'd fall into the trap of continuously being proud because I've never known her to be a good eater.

ubik Tue 19-Feb-13 14:19:29

Actuallly i think snacks are good for preschoolers.

They have high calorie needs compared to the amount of calories they can take in at one meal - small stomachs!

But it's a fine balance.

ubik Tue 19-Feb-13 14:24:17

and the France thing...meh

My French SIL gave her babies powered food til they were 18 months and then they seemed to exist on pasta cooked with no salt with the occasional grating of cheese and broccoli.

French women are thin because of cultural pressure - there isn't the same acceptance of being overweight there is here, people will openly comment on your weight in France.

whois Tue 19-Feb-13 14:29:31

In ikea a few years ago I saw a grossly far woman forcing her toddler to finish his FIFTEEN meatball and chip portion. Total child abuse.

Fat parents with fat kids is disgusting and all about a lack of healthy diet and exercise.

ICBINEG Tue 19-Feb-13 14:30:52

I am with wossname on this one. I worry very much about my DD inheriting my bad relationship with food.

I don't understand how/when you should go from feeding on demand as a baby to limiting their breakfast at 1 yo?

People have stated that if a 1 yo is eating 3 weetabix then that is obviously too much...but if your 1 yo is crying from hunger then surely you are supposed to feed them?

How do you know when you should be following demand and when you should put your foot down?

DD has always been a sparodic eater. One meal she will eat more than me and the next almost nothing at all.

Should I be evening her out? Or shouldn't we be teaching eat when you are hungry and stop when you are not?

Oblomov Tue 19-Feb-13 14:34:18

The snacking culture came about in my childhood.
Before that we nearly all had breakfast lunch and dinner. only.
The came the finger of fudge " the snack you can give to your kids without ruining their appetite".
Now we all snack 24/7
My 2 eat HUGE bowl of cereal, or a full english breakfast, then withing an hour are hungry and have cheese and biscuits, a banana, some crsips and a youghurt. or grapes, or a chocolate bar,a d a muffin, or pate and crackers, or ... drives me NUTS. Then a huge lunch, then a snack, then a huge dinner. I go for meats, steamed veg, carbs, and loads of protein to keep them full. Nothing works.
And as I said, ds1 is skinny as a rake. It costs me a fortune to keep my 2 fed.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 14:36:57

I can't imagine a baby crying with hunger after 3 weetabix...or even 2 for that matter.

Unless they have a medical condition, I'd say it's more likely the parents are assuming the cry is a hunger one...whereas it could be for other reasons.

ubik Tue 19-Feb-13 14:40:05

I think with weetabix - why not just give 2 weetabix, then offer toast or banana?
DD1 tends to have a big bowl of weetabix/bran flakes, for breakfast while the other two like boiled eggs and soldiers followed by an apple and a glass of milk, sometimes toast and peanut butter or scrambled egg.

I'd try to offer different things at breakfast just to get a balance of nutrients.

curryeater Tue 19-Feb-13 14:43:27

I agree that the "finish your plate" thing is harmful (and I don't enforce it although the spectre of my mother hovers over my shoulder with terrifying disapproval as I throw away substantial remains of my completely unpredictable dcs' meals), but to some extent I think it is a bit of a red herring, as it used to be standard practice, but sadly the fattitude problem is very suddenly getting very much worse. I think we should be looking at something that has actually changed.
Yes I think people offer snacks a lot more.
I think there is a lot more advertising and a bigger focus on food and consumption generally
I think that food is relatively cheaper (people who struggle to pay the rent / mortgage, gas, electricity, council tax, transport, can almost always find 75p for a packet of biscuits)
I think it's about snacking, and the culture of individual eating that is connected to that. Meals served to groups at the table (whether at school, to the whole family at home, whatever group applies in any situation) are necessarily limited. Someone has cooked it, there is a certain amount to go around (because it was made out of raw food that is not edible in itself and you might not even have access to it), afterwards food-time will be over. If you don't like it, you eat less and hope it will be your favourite tomorrow. If everyone loves it, you have to share out the last bit. Now it always seems to be food-time. If people worked shorter hours, and the adults in families had time to eat together and to cook for those meals, yes the food might be "healthier" (though too much of anything is fattening) but more importantly there would be a cultural code that people eat at mealtimes and not otherwise; they fit in with each other.

Wossname Tue 19-Feb-13 14:44:34

This the kind of thing I don't understand- isnt peanutbutter really fattening? Not criticising at all, it's just I read all of these toddler snack suggestions on mn and its stuff like peanutbutter, cream cheese and butter and I would be too scared to give my toddler something like that due to my worries about wright.

ICBINEG Tue 19-Feb-13 14:44:41

my DD doesn't eat weetabix at all but we have the same with other things. As far as we can tell when she says she is hungry she is. If you say no more of thing X then she will transfer demands to something else. When she is full there is no point even asking if she will have something else...

I only even ask when she basically hasn't eaten all day but if she doesn't want to eat then she doesn't.

And when she does she really does and cannot be distracted from the goal.

So given I have to go to bed feeling hungry in order to not gain weight, and it is likely that my DD will be similar...at what point am I supposed to start sending her to bed hungry to avoid the charge of child abuse? sad

Wossname Tue 19-Feb-13 14:46:26

Weight,not wright!

ubik Tue 19-Feb-13 14:50:00

Peanut butter is very nutritious. I buy the low sugar 'whole earth' variety and it goes onto toast without butter. DD2 and DD3 may have a couple of small pieces of toast with it and because it contains alot of fat, it is quite satisfying and sustaining throughout the morning. Breaktime snack is an apple and then it's a school lunch.

But I wouldn't then give DD2 more peanut butter toast as a snack on that day. The following day she will have boiled egg and soldiers. It's all about balance.

I used to take my kids to a certain cafe every Tuesday tea time (due to having an activity nearby) and every week a woman took her children to eat there. All three were obese. Her kids all had: ham & cheese toasties, fruit juice, bag of crisps, chocolate muffin or chocolate brownie, hot chocolate with cream every week. I would personally have fallen asleep with digestion issues had I eaten such a calorific meal.

curryeater Tue 19-Feb-13 14:51:56

Wossname, fatty foods like peanut butter and cream cheese carry more calories per volume than lower fat foods, but some people (like me!) will consumer fewer calories over time on these foods because low fat foods make me so terribly terribly hungry.
So: one slice of ryvita with low fat spread contains fewer calories than one oatcake with peanut butter.
but the person who ate the ryvita with low fat spread will very likely get terrible hunger pangs sooner and over the day eat more. and possibly "worse" food, because what is available as snacks tends to be less nutritious than the foods available at mealtimes.
Also, children do need fat, so it's not just about calorie load but about the absolute need for children to eat certain nutrients that are only contained in fats.

This is why my dh recommends 3 almonds and 2 walnuts for supper.... one additional slither of ham if ravenous.... (I kid you not)

TobyLerone Tue 19-Feb-13 14:59:18

DD (11) is overweight. I wish it was because she eats crap. Then we could do something about it. But she doesn't. She eats normal portions of exactly the same healthy, homemade food as me, DH and DS (13) (all healthy weights). I have absolutely no idea why she's the weight she is. I wish I knew.

I'm sure people judge me. I don't care. And I still judge parents of overweight kids when I know they feed them crap all the time.

ByTheWay1 Tue 19-Feb-13 15:02:37

My 2 girls both have the same mother - me - and same father- DH - and are given exactly the same things and quantities to eat and do 4 hours of Karate a week - and yet are totally different body shapes - one is underweight, and the other is average (totally - on the 50th centile) - yet people say -"oh she (DD1) must like her food" or "oh, don't you feed her (DD2) then" when they are together....

So I really can't win as a parent - should I feed more or less? should I differentiate meals? Or should I just tell them all to P off.....

tiggytape Tue 19-Feb-13 15:29:28

ByTheWay - mine are the same. One so skinny it causes comment and one is average weight but looks much bigger because often compared to sibling.

It is partially portion size and attitude to food I think - they both get the same sized portions but whilst one DC loves food, relishes meal times and finishes what's on the plate, the other DC is bored by food, hardly ever finishes meals and would probably go days without eating unless presented with food.
Skinny DC also never gets excited by eating - has no favourite foods for example (not even treats) just ones that are tolerable and ones that aren't whereas other DC really loves certain things that are only healthy in moderation (and only gets these things in moderation).

This has been apparent since babyhood in both of them despite having been fed and weaned with the same foods at the same time.

The rest is down to body shape - one DC is just naturally slender - even fingers and ankles are scarily narrow whereas other DC has no fat on their fingers or their ankles but they are just built much wider.

I wish I knew how I could even it out a bit more. I worry normal DC will become overweight when allowed more autonomy over food whereas skinny DC could go off to uni and probably forget to eat for whole weeks at a time! I honestly don't think it is anything I have done - certainly not something I have purposely done anyway.

BalloonSlayer Tue 19-Feb-13 15:34:57

wossname toddlers need some fattening foods. I feel quite concerned reading you saying that you are too scared to let your child eat peanut butter, cream cheese or butter because of your issues about weight. You do run the risk of creating a whole different set of issues with food there. The key is - a balanced diet, ie fatty food is fine for small kids but not at every meal every day. A low fat diet is not recommended for small children.

Young children need fat in their diets. They are making myelin (a fatty sheath for nerves) and cannot do this without fat. Fat is not the enemy. Mass produced crap, sugar, empty foods and a lack of fruit and vegetables are the enemy.

My DD (2) eats like a horse but it is fruit and vegetables with good protein and complex carbs and, yes, fats. No food is banned as such but we don't have biscuits, juice, sweets or crisps in the house so she doesn't get them here.

hamdangle Tue 19-Feb-13 15:56:38

Fat in foods does not necessarily turn into fat in the body . It is refined carbohydrates and sugary food that make you fat. And white bread is full of all kinds of crap too. Doing exercise a couple of times a week is good in that it keeps you healthy but will have little effect on your weight. You need to keep active all day long. Unfortunately the older children get the more time they spend sitting at desks in school so can pile on weight if their diet is unhealthy or their portion sizes are too big or they aren't encouraged to play out when they get home from school.

Oblomov Tue 19-Feb-13 15:59:11

"ham & cheese toasties, fruit juice, bag of crisps, chocolate muffin or chocolate brownie, hot chocolate with cream every week"

Ha ha. sounds like a mid morning snack, in our house.

Curryeater..... I do think it is a relatively recent thing though for there to be enough food on the plate to ne problematic. In times past there was a lot less food available so no child had to be told 'finish your plate' as chances were they were hungry and there wasn't much food on the plate, and certainly no chance of extra if the plate was cleared. By the time I was growing up there was more food available and portions were getting bigger, children were being served more food than they needed and being forced to clear the lot.

Wossname Tue 19-Feb-13 16:10:46

Youre right, BalloonSlayer, completely right. I have 2 settings with food, binge and diet. I give my toddler lots of fruit, veg, fish and chicken breast, etc but I am not 'trained' to have a balanced diet and am obviously starting her off down the same road. Lots to think about here for me. I love her more than anything and am just frightened of her being like me, but it seems I am going about it in completely the wrong way.

Its a tough one. Do I bother to try to give you all a little tiny shake and say "doh! wake up - OP is simply airing her prejudices and enjoying other people enabling her attitude"?

Well I've started now so I will finish. I don't know anyone nor have never met anyone who thinks its great their children are overweight. But I do know a lot of people who feel they have no choice but to try and justify what their children look like to people like Tulahoob who says she is only trying to enjoy a little stare and a point at fat people who don't apologise for their fat children. Oh, so that's alright then!! For a moment I thought she was judging other people, and then when anyone else dared to say 'oh I'm not sure that's fair' OP suddenly becomes the poor victim - "I'm only saying ...." opines Tulahoob, bottom lip wobbling.

Of course, I am not as perfect as the OP. You can tell that from my tone. When my children were born, small babies still wearing 6 month old baby clothes at a year etc., I thought I was on to a winner. I'll restrict their food, I thought, and they will never become fat like me. Clearly I am fat because I am a lesser person. But they are not, they are epic, and if I stop them eating foods that are high fat/high sugar etc., all will be well. And all was well. I stupidly felt relieved that they did not turn out like me. When eldest DD got to age 9 still slim I could have literally punched the air with joy, their restricted intake was working!! Never mind they had to sit and watch other kids eat crisps and cakes etc., no darling we don't have sugary drinks, we don't have sweets etc. Then second DD got to 6, I could see my plan wasn't working. Both remained small, DD1 aged 11 is now the size of an average 8 year old, but when I compared their weights to "ideal" charts, they were no longer ideal. a pound or two over, then a kilo, then 2 kilos.

GP despatched us to the dietician and we sat before her, just as my mum had sat with me, same age, different hospital. Surely Tulahoob this medical person will tell me the error of my fat ways? She looked at DDs food charts, looked at height and weight in their red books from birth to present and said "there is nothing I can do, you know all the right things to do, they eat healthy home cooked food, and your GP shouldn't have sent you to me." and so we were left dangling, with DD2 in particular getting bigger and my constant battle to continue with the "restricted eating" policy. So there you are. That's my story. All an excuse I am sure eh?

Do you remember not so many years ago there used to be a jokey way of saying "Oh I don't like black people" and then noticing a black person within earshot they would say "OH No, I didn't mean you!! You're alright, its the others I'm talking about ...."

Are you talking about the other fat kids Tulahoob? Oh well, that's ok then.

wasabipeanut Tue 19-Feb-13 16:21:20

OP YANBU. People use all sorts of reasons to justify their neglect of their children which has resulted in obesity.

I agree with the comments made about snacking. People seem to be encouraged to have their kids eating all the time. Even the "healthy snacks" we're supposed to give like raisins, fruit, breadsticks etc. are just carbs and sugar. Children that are asking for snacks one hour after a meal aren't hungry, they've just got used to eating all the time. I'm afraid I favour the French approach. It won't kill a 3 year old to feel a bit peckish for an hour before their tea. On the contrary, they'll eat a good meal and everyone's happy.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 16:22:58

A dietician wasn't able to give you any information about portion size or exercise for your overweight children?

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 16:24:25

BurningBridges that was really rude and uncalled for. I'm not even going to lower myself to defend myself to you as you've read all kinds of things into my post that weren't there.

hamdangle Tue 19-Feb-13 16:40:21

I think people do worry too much about what they eat and then everything to do with food becomes emotionally charged and people pass on this obsession with food to their children. If you are constantly dieting yourself then you begin to see sweets and cakes as comforting and healthy food as a punishment and can feel like you want to treat your children because you know they will enjoy it but then feel guilty when you do. Also, if you restrict the amount if food a child has and they actually are still hungry after a meal (and not just wanting food out of boredom) then they will feel like they are being punished in some way and will develop an unhealthy attitude towards food.

If you give your kids a healthy balanced diet then you shouldn't need to starve them at all. You just need to avoid bad habits like snacks because of boredom and giving treats to control kids or keep them occupied and make sure that ALL meals involve a good portion of veg or salad to fill them up. And again, just because it's home cooked doesn't mean it's healthy.

DueInSeptember Tue 19-Feb-13 16:42:20

Sometimes I think it's healthier to be slightly fatter and have a good diet than be skinny and have a very poor diet. My nephew was a big baby, a fairly tubby toddler and has evened out as he's grown upwards. He eats a very varied and healthy diet, would eat anything including most fruit and veg, lobster, curries etc.

On the other hand, I have a four year old DD who is skinny and not very interested in food at all. She is fussy and getting her to eat/ try new things is very difficult. She must be ok as she's fairly healthy but sometimes I worry about her diet.

I think I'd prefer that she was more like my nephew.

ICBINEG Tue 19-Feb-13 16:52:58

hmm no one seems to have answered the question regarding when you stop being led by child demand and start dictating what they eat and how much....or even that dictating what they eat actually is the way forward for life long healthy eating....

Does any one actually have an solutions to the problems or is burningbridges correct in labelling this a pointing and staring exercise?

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 17:05:01

ICBINEG - if DS was still saying he was hungry after a reasonable portion of dinner (eg. I use Ikea children's plates) and a piece of fruit/portion of yoghurt for pudding, I would offer some more vegetables. Usually that sorts out genuine hunger from hungry for a biscuit.

I think you can be child-led while breastfeeding, but if bottle feeding or giving solid food then you have to exercise portion control.

wonderingsoul Tue 19-Feb-13 17:07:03

I am hugely over weight.

and I blame my parents for my health issues. I was a very fat child. I rarely sure ethier of them and they treated with sweets and crap to make up for it.

its left me with huge food issues. and In being honest I treat with food to. weather it be sweets or fruit or food.

I am so determined not to let my children be fat and as it is they are both thin and do not sit down for long so always on the go.

Iv put a no sweets but on a weekend and rarely have Chrisp or craps in the house. as it goes they don't eat a lot but will eat little and often.. think grazors. Antrim thankfully they have a love for vegetables.

I would prefer to see a over weight child or a under fed one. but it causes so many issues. not just physically but my self esteem is non existent. all has been. both are sad to see.

wasabipeanut Tue 19-Feb-13 17:10:47

I agree. The only food I have ever been child led on is breast milk. I manage portion control in a similar way to majablene. I think dietary advice for children needs to change with less emphasis being placed on healthy snacks and more being placed on eating decent meals.

The biggest change needed is cultural though which takes time. I realise it isn't easy to resist demands for food all the time when advertising, peer pressure etc. are all bearing down.

Midori1999 Tue 19-Feb-13 17:13:32

I have been very careful to never force or encourage my Dc to finish what is on their plate or make an issue out of food. I am overweight and do are real issues with food, presumably because food was used as both a punishment and a treat when I was a child and also because we were forced to clear our plates, even if that meant sitting sobbing at the table for hours. sad we are also doing BLW with DD and any future DC in the hope that they will more easily learn to regulate their own appetites.

I have to admit, at times my DC eat ridiculous amounts, mostly healthy stuff, occasional junk, but at others they barely eat anything, presumably as they are acting to hunger. They are all as thin as rakes too.

I do have a friend who says her very overweight son is just 'big' and that he eats healthily and not loads, but then at other times 'boasts' about how many roast potatoes etc he will eat. I think she just doesn't want to admit her child is overweight and also has a different idea of a healthy diet to me.

Rude? Oh OP you are funny. You start a post talking about people and their kids being fat and you think I'm rude? This is AIBU - where if you post offensive messages you run the risk of other people calling you on it.

MajaBiene - she said keep doing what you are doing and if at all possible up the exercise. DD had a question. She asked "why do my friends have cakes and crisps in their lunchbox, yet they are not fat, and I'm not allowed any, and I am?" and I could have kissed that woman because she told the truth "Some people are naturally thin, but you will always have to be careful what you eat, its just the way you are".

But of course, that's not what people want to hear. I understand.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 17:17:02

I think it often starts to go wrong for people with the way babies are bottlefed (which is also a cultural thing) - encouraging quick consumption of huge bottles 4 or 5oz apart. They drink so quickly they can barely have a chance to realise they are full, finishing whole bottles in 5 minutes - and parents then mistake the desire to suckle for hunger.

I agree something needs to be done about advertising. Obviously many people are t influenced. I'm
Certainly not but we all dread that trip to the supermarket as everything aimed at children is neon. Like cereal can't be eaten without cartoon characters on it and milk shakes have to glow in the dark. Why food can't be made appealing without shaping into dinosaurs or looking radio active I don't know. It's aimed at getting the kids hounding parents for crap. sweets at eye level etc why can't pre packaged kids food just be made healthy.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 17:18:01

BurningBridges - why not reduce the amount of food you give your children if they are getting fat on the amount they have now?

ICBINEG - the OP asked surely people can see their children are overweight. Yes they can. Maybe their jolly answers are trying to protect their kids from spiteful opinions like that of Tulahoob. I can't say, most people are supportive to me, others mostly mind their own business. Maybe behind my back there are many Tulahoobs.

TobyLerone Tue 19-Feb-13 17:21:15

Bet you never thought of that gem, Burning hmm

pooka Tue 19-Feb-13 17:23:20

Dd is 9 and frequently has to wear age 11 clothes to fit round her weight.

But her bmi is slap bang in middle of healthy range, I keep an eye on it and make sure she has healthy food options - changed from school dinners to packed lunches, keep an eye on portion size etc.

She has a wide abdomen. Always has had, from scan pics to birth (weighed 6 10 so not hefty). I see pics of myself at a similar age and I had similar abdominal proportion. Am size 10 and well within the healthy bmi range.

I hate buying clothes that are so much bigger in age terms than her real age. I feel worried for her and concerned that she will pick up on it and worry herself. I had an eating disorder as a teen. I don't want her to feel the same way about hers,ef as I did about myself.

Ds1 and ds2 are ribby and lean. Just like my brothers. Not fair!

I have a fucked up relationship with food. And am concerned that my own insecurities men that I almost see dd as an extension of myself and that her having a round middle is a reflection on my parenting. So I probably am defensive. Incidentally, I am quite big boned. Broad shoulders and thick wrists. wink

MajaBiene - did you not read what I said? Or did you just see I was fat, my kids are fat, and feel happy that you can put me right? I have always restricted their intake. If I did so any more then they wouldn't be getting the minimum intake for a child.

TobyLerone I thank all the gods that be that I can receive such wisdom. Eat less, exercise more?! That is some radical thinking there. grin

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 17:26:09

BurningBridges, so they are eating more calories than they use, but they already get the minimum? Definitely need to start using some more calories then.

Eglantyne Tue 19-Feb-13 17:26:47

Burningbridges has been to a dietician. An expert. Yet some of you think you have better advice for her?? Burningbridges my dd8 asked a dietician exactly the same question yours did, and got the same answer. Pm me if you want a chat. I'm going to back away from this thread now, some people just don't get it.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 17:27:18

If you already know that your children need to eat less and exercise more, why don't you do it? It does your children no favours to allow them to become overweight.

And again, MajaBiene has come to the rescue! So if they already do swimming, trampolining, dance and gymnastics do you think I should cut down on the hours they sleep, or take them out of school and push them up and down the high street with a stick?

TobyLerone Tue 19-Feb-13 17:28:21

Ffs maja. Are you having reading comprehension issues?

Eglantyne thank you - I think most people do get what we are saying very well, but they like to think they have the moral high ground, because it enables the pointing and staring.

I'm off too but only because I have to put the hoover round.

pooka Tue 19-Feb-13 17:30:45

Waist. Not weight. <sigh>

curryeater Tue 19-Feb-13 17:31:25

Burning Bridges: "She asked "why do my friends have cakes and crisps in their lunchbox, yet they are not fat, and I'm not allowed any, and I am?" "

[weeps for BB's child]

I know, some people just do put weight on more than others, and it is cruel not to admit this or suggest otherwise.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 17:32:18

TobyLerone - you say your overweight child eats "normal portions" and you don't know why she is overweight. She is overweight because she eats too much - it doesn't matter if it is too much healthy food or too much crap, if she consumes more calories than she uses then she will get fat. So either you decrease portion sizes or increase exercise.

burning has the dr ruled out thyroid problems etc that could be the cause. If the diet and excercise is not helping your children there just be a medical reason behind it? Has he done all medical tests or has he dismissed testing due to age?

Fwiw the dietician sounds rubbish there just have been something else they could have suggested sad

The fact is though.... Guidelines amounts are just that.

If I or dd ate 'guideline' amounts we'd be fat, we have low metabolisms and need very little food. My father is the same

So just because the child is eating what seems like a small amount, if that child is overweight the fact is they are eating more calories than is necessary to maintain their metabolism and the excess is stored as fat.

People see how little dd and I eat and are shock but it's enough for us and as we've never trained our stomachs to accept more food we maintain a healthy weight.

PeachActiviaMinge Tue 19-Feb-13 17:50:28

I'm big, DH is big DD was 10lb 4 at birth and never stops eating shes a tiny tiny little thing with a lower end of healthy BMI. People never believe how much she eats until they witness it. She just never stops moving either and eats well.

My friends children though are all overweight and most of the DD's clothes are given to my DD when she grows out of them which is sadly always waist wise both children are the same age. Its just again that her children are more conditioned to sit on the sofa and play on the Xbox than run around they're not actually allowed to play outside for various stupid reasons they also eat a lot of junk food and never actually seem to stop eating unhealthy snacks.

YANBU its a rotten thing to do to your children and something that is likely to carry on through the next generations it did with my Nan, Mother and Myself the only reason its been broken now is good genetics and a person with a huge interest and the willingness to learn to feed her family well.

TobyLerone Tue 19-Feb-13 17:56:45

maja I don't need to justify myself and how I feed my children to someone so wilfully ignorant as you. But I really think that perhaps you ought to remind yourself that you are not right all the time. You're certainly not right this time.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 18:20:02

And this is why young children end up overweight.

Because they are "big boned", "love their food", "only eat healthy stuff", "are always hungry", "have a slow metabolism".

If parents won't take responsibility for getting a hold on their children's weight when they are young, and when eating patterns and behaviour are set, how much harder is it going to be for those children to manage their own weight as adults?

TobyLerone Tue 19-Feb-13 18:35:39

Well, apart from the 'healthy food' thing, I've never said any of those things about my child, Maja, either here or anywhere else. But I refer you back to my musings about your ability to fully comprehend what you are reading, if indeed you're reading at all.

I'm out. You seem determined to apply things which just aren't there. I don't have time to argue with someone who keeps repeating the same incorrect assumption.

Maja - can you explain why, in Tobylerone's case, three out of four people in the family are a healthy weight whilst one is overweight? I assume that Toby would have said, if her dd did radically less exercise than the rest of them - in fact, I am sure that, if this were the case, she would have worked out for herself without being told in such a patronising fashion why her dd was putting on weight.

Have you stopped at all to consider the fact that some people have faster metabolisms than others? Or that there are medical conditions that can cause weight gain? Or did you just leap in to generalise?

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 18:38:27

So why is your child overweight then?

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 18:42:40

Because the overweight person is eating too much. It doesn't matter if other people eat more and are thinner. Many overweight people feel that they eat little or eat healthily.

I'm sure if Toby's child has a medical condition then she would have it investigated.

nextphase Tue 19-Feb-13 18:44:31

Going back several pages, we also operate the food getting more boring as requests for more continue. If they are happy to eat an oatcake, they really must be hungry. If its turned down, hunger isn't the major factor at play.

It does amaze me how much / little different kids can eat, and the amount they eat doesn't always relate to size. The guidelines are just that - guideline intakes, but the range is obviously quite wide.

I think as the population gets heavier on average, we are loosing sight of a normal body shape - and people now who are thought of as skinny are actually normal, and its the rest of us (yes, me included) who are overweight skewing things.

SilveryMoon Tue 19-Feb-13 19:35:43

Horizon Any suggestions on what I should give them instead then?

HorizonFocus Tue 19-Feb-13 19:49:41

Snack foods that keep you fuller for longer include:
hard boiled eggs / cauliflower / carrot / broccoli with houmous / oatcakes / cold meats / nuts / cheese / cold meats.

Cat98 Tue 19-Feb-13 21:44:18

I'd like to know what people think about the question choceyes asked a few pages ago! My ds was breastfed, we did blw, served up primarily healthy foods, have never made him clear his plate etc. he is a healthy weight and very active. However he seems to have a bottomless stomach for sweets/chocolates/ice creams etc!
If there are any around he will often ask for some after just a few bites of dinner. If we say no if he's hungry he eats his dinner and that's it but if he's still hungry after dinner he can have some, he will visibly force down his dinner just to get the dessert - which is exactly what we have tried to avoid!
Of course the answer is not to have dessert available but there are times when it is, and he knows it! At parties etc the amount of junk food he can put away amazes me for a child who generally has/had excellent portion control. It's like he has an 'override' button for junk even though we have done all the right things!

MaryPoppinsMassiveSack Tue 19-Feb-13 22:29:29

My next door neighbour was a right fat little madam when I was growing up. Her mum blamed all the sugary medicine she had to take as she was often ill, not the daily intake of cake. Honestly, you've never seen someone with such constant jam smeared chops. Some people will come up with any old tosh to cover up their bad parenting. The mum was a cake guzzling fatty too.

I called them the Captain Birdseye Family, I didn't realise there was a difference between him and Mr Kipling, but I was only 4yrs old.

Wossname Tue 19-Feb-13 22:35:35

Dont beat yourself up, 4 year olds arent very good at being kind.

Thumbwitch Tue 19-Feb-13 23:38:43

Cat - I think, and this is not a criticism, more of an observation (limited in scope!) that sometimes the more you restrict something, the more they want it. So that when they do get their hands on it, they shovel in as much as they can because they don't know when they'll get it again.

My best friend had her DS 4y before I had mine, and she restricted his TV watching to almost nothing when he was very little. As a result, he became a complete tv addict! But has calmed down again now. I have other friends who have restricted sweets/junk food intake completely, whose DC, now older, have troubles restraining themselves.

But equally I have a friend who restricted her DCs' intake of junk food and none of them are interested in it.

My DS1 (NOT a stealth boast, he's the first one, I'm sure that DS2 will prove me wrong) has something sweet nearly every day but is very self-limiting - we still have Christmas stocking chocolates left, and I've had to throw away chocolates from Easter in previous years because they've not been eaten for too long.

But all children are different - I could have been letting him have something sweet every day and he still ends up guttsing it all down whenever possible - I think I was just lucky.

ICBINEG Wed 20-Feb-13 00:24:26

wossname that might be one of my all time favourite MN put downs!

Cat98 Wed 20-Feb-13 07:23:23

Thumbwitch- I can see what you're saying, and we haven't actually forbidden junk, he gets plenty - but what I mean is that I have to restrict or he will just eat and eat it! I have to be the one to say that's enough now, or just not buy it. Or should I buy it and let him eat as much as he wants? <confused> smile

ErikNorseman Wed 20-Feb-13 08:43:42

I accidentally underfed then over fed DS between birth and 6 months. He was so skinny then he got fat as butter. I feel very relieved that he seems to have a normal appetite and metabolism. I was underfed as a newborn for similar reasons (milk production) and then formula fed and I do wonder if that affected my appetite. But then I also grew up with three very active brothers and I got given the same amount of food, which was too much for me. My appetite is enormous and I've spent my whole adult life trying to find ways to control it without being miserable. I think it's so easy to set a child's appetite wrongly and so hard to reset it. Even with the best will in the world (my parents were veggie, literally no junk food ever, very healthy and balanced diet, just too much) it's possible to get it wrong.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 20-Feb-13 09:38:18

Interesting thread, Tulahoob. I think it must come down to the fact that some parents just don't know better, or if they do, they can't recognise that what they're doing isn't on the 'better' side. I see posts from 'proud' parents on MN quite often and I wonder what they're proud about, it's often something that really isn't 'medal deserving'. It seems to be more about the parent's needs for recognition rather than actual bona fide achievement of something. It's very sad and where nutrition is concerned, can be devastating for a whole lifetime and generations beyond.

I also agree with Worra and forevergreek... some people (and therefore their children) are ALWAYS eating, I don't understand the snacking culture that we seem to have here. They don't do this in France from what I've seen, nor other mainland Europe countries. It's a huge problem here, we have so much food 'available' and I think that some people see their ability to keep fridges and cupboards stocked as a 'comfort', an indicator of 'how well they're doing'.

I truly think that the emphasis needs to come off food - whatever it is. It's fuel for the body and that's all it is. Yes, you can make it palatable and delicious and steer off the 'mucked about with stuff', but it's still just food and there's no need to be eating something every hour, barring properly diagnosed medical conditions that require it.

Constant eating/snacking really isn't a good thing in my book, not at all. It leads to a lifetime of looking for the next thing to eat instead of actually, living.

MummyPig24 Wed 20-Feb-13 09:52:15

I agree it is not ok to overfeed your children. It is nothing to be proud of. My children 'like their food' but they are not overweight. I think if I didn't limit what ds eats he has potential to be overweight. He is 5 and very very active and sporty and has the appetite of a horse. That's fine because he eats a healthy diet but I do limit portion sizes or he would eat and eat. I am a bit overweight and I do not want my children going the same way!

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 20-Feb-13 09:58:14

I'm sad to read BurningBridges post, it sounds an awful position to be in and nobody should judge BUT, isn't AIBU - the whole flipping board - a pointing an staring platform? I've never seen it be anything else and it's 'celebrated' as such.

You can't pick and choose what you 'point and stare' at... you either do that or you don't.

curryeater Wed 20-Feb-13 09:59:41

LyingWitch: "I truly think that the emphasis needs to come off food - whatever it is."

YY

I think that the "eat fruit" message, for instance, has turned into a massive disaster. It was meant as "why not have an apple instead of a bag of crisps" and has somehow been understood as "any sort of sugar tenuously derived from fruit can be, and should be, thrust at your children at all times"

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 20-Feb-13 10:14:27

curryeater... I think that fruit is actually a 'problem food'. I know it's natural sugar but for me, the nutrient hit (which could be easily exceeded by vegetables anyway) isn't worth the sugar 'spike'. Vegetables trump fruit everytime for me.

I'm horrified at the concept of fruit 'flakes'... what the absolute deuce are those all about? shock

MajaBiene Wed 20-Feb-13 11:50:19

Fruit flakes, fruit bars, fruit winders = sweeties for parents who wouldn't dream of giving their children a packet of skittles grin

Lottikins Wed 20-Feb-13 11:52:57

'Vegetables trump fruit everytime for me.

especially beans

Thumbwitch Wed 20-Feb-13 12:36:01

I have to admit, and I'm a bit worried that I'm going to get caught out with DS2, that I don't understand why some parents feel the need to have food available to their DC at all times.

DS1 goes to a football class, it's 45 minutes long. During that time, the parents sit and watch (encouraged). One family I know there, the younger daughter eats constantly throughout that 45 minutes. She has a packed lunch for it! (it's not lunchtime) and then a box of sweets as well. She is what you might call stocky, and is about 3 now - it may be that she doesn't get fed the rest of the day, I don't know, but what she is fed in that 45 minutes is more than my 5yo DS1 gets for lunch.

We have similar at playgroup - the children are all busy playing, for heaven's sake, they don't need distracting with food and yet again, people bring large amounts of snacks for them. Water, drink - no issue, usually needed, very sensible. Bags of crackers/crisps/fruit bits - not so much. Cheesy dips/biscuits/cakes etc. - can be a real PITA.

DS2 is a milk-monster baby. DS1 was on the 9th centile and stayed there - my little pixie boy! - but DS2 started ~60th centile and now, at 19w, is on the 98th centile. He's bf, no supplementing - demand fed admittedly (as was DS1) - and I'm a bit shocked! SOoooo many people tell me how healthy he looks and look at all those lovely chubby rolls (he currently weighs what DS1 took nearly a year to get to) and he's just like a little Buddha, isn't he, bless him. I'm a teensy bit horrified though - I don't want him to end up having a voracious appetite that involves constant snacking through the day!

Someone please reassure me that he won't...

curryeater Wed 20-Feb-13 12:53:11

Thumbwitch, can't reassure you, but I can tell you that my (bfed) babies were HUEG before they crawled and then lost some weight when they got moving. Now they are older, my nearly 4 year old is skinny and my nearly 2 year old is still roundy baby shaped but with no actual rolls. I think the size your baby is has no bearing on how often they eat as children - that is down to your lifestyle. I cannot BEAR the constant snacking. can't bear it. Junk carbs being thrust at my children by my friends at 5pm while I am thinking about the FIENDISHLY EXPENSIVE salmon fillet that I was going to put on the table at 6, but it will end up in the bin because they are seduced by the snack and their finite appetites can't take their tea an hour later. Infuriating. and it's not just that they are eating crap in the moment; it's that they are being conditioned to think that life takes place against a constant crinkling backdrop of consumption of things in packets.

Thumbwitch Wed 20-Feb-13 13:18:04

That is a little reassuring, curry, thank you smile

DoctorAnge Wed 20-Feb-13 13:27:00

I think it's really, really hard for some people to loose weight for a number of reasons so just because DD is lovely and slim I don't feel like its because I have got it all right.
I have a huge appetite and as a child was comforted and kept quiet with food. When I look at old photos I am always eating something, mouth open to a spoon like a bird. I noticed I had a real belly which was not natural for me at all. Mother was controlling with food and seemed to want her girls to be big so she could be the slim one. It was all a bit messed up sad

As young woman I went on the obligatory diet and lots loads, got a fantastic body as I grew tall and lean and realised how over fed I was. Now through a bad time when I am not working and under stress I am totally comfort eating and have a layer of flab that should not be there. I am a typical Amazonian type build, tall slim and muscular.

DH has this skinny gene. Endless limbs and tiny aristocratic bones. DD has inherited this together with a lack of interest in food. The lucky pair have no passion for food and just see it as a necessary fuel whereas I get so much joy from it, probably due to my upbringing.
It's all so complex. I never, ever judge people with overweight children. I don't know shit about their issues.

Iggly Wed 20-Feb-13 13:29:01

I started a thread a while ago about my ds as I was convinced he wasn't overweight. The HV said otherwise - a shock as I'm a size 8, my DH is a 30" waist (so slim) and all of our family are slim/skinny.

Looking at ds now (he's 3), I'm starting to think he is overweight. It is a blinkered view I've had - I'm sad as I've never encouraged him to finish a meal and he eats a lot of fruit and plenty of exercise. I think he just eats too much snacks. We're cutting down and he seems to be shooting up and losing the fat but he is quite broad shouldered with huge hands and feet so I don't know if he's naturally stocky like my brother/uncle (they aren't fat at all).

Oh lordy! If it was that easy to bring up slim, fit children there wouldn't be any fat unfit parents would there?

We all know what to do. But so many of us don't. Saying the onus is on the parents to teach their kids how to eat well is like saying the onus is on the parents not to bring their kids up to be anxious, or scared of dogs, or shy. We all do our best - but that isn't always enough.

And I have to say that after being Mrs Smuggity of Smug Town when my babies were at primary school they were all long and thin as a piece of string, I have had to eat my words as DS1 (now 16) began to pile on weight and is now really quite big largely because he gave up almost all outside physical activies. DD (13) also got a bit chubby in Yr 7 but lost it all when she worked at a stables.

And how to get over the fact that teenagers are ALWAYS hungry?

Owllady Wed 20-Feb-13 13:42:32

why is it ok for a 7 year old to be bullied?
and why is that specifically his Mothers fault?

CheddarGorgeous Wed 20-Feb-13 13:43:06

This is my take on it.

There are genetic factors in weight - which is why the same diet and exercise plan will not affect different people in the same way. But people tend to overstate these.

Some people do have to exercise more and eat less than others to stay within a healthy weight limit - linked to genetic factors above.

A "healthy weight" is not the same for everyone. Two people of the same height can be very different weights and they will both be healthy.

We generally vastly underestimate how much activity we need to do every day to be healthy (not just to control weight gain - but to remain strong and healthy).

Some people are naturally more active in their daily lives (e.g. walk instead of drive, potter around the house rather than sit on the sofa) which burns calories. People often forget about this and thinks that a child who prefers to be sedentary will be OK because they go to PE a couple of times a week.

So many children are overweight now we have normalised it in our subconscious, so that only very overweight or obese children strike us as unusual - e.g. I worked with a health promotion service where the parents of morbidly obese children literally could not see that their children were fat because they compared them to their peers.

Dodgy thyroids aside - it is a simple formula of calories in - calories out = weight gain or loss. But it's not that simple to get right - for all the reasons mentioned in this thread.

fuzzpig Wed 20-Feb-13 13:51:40

Only read page 1 so far, but YANBU. It's something I really worry about and as parents we have to look out for our children's health, because who else will?

I have started worrying about my DS. He is 3 and when he was born he weighed nearly 12lbs (it is thought I may have developed GD in late pregnancy), so I had lots of "ooh he's going to be a big child", "you won't make enough milk for him" etc. I BFed him for 2 years and he weaned normally at 6 months, but he is 3.5 now and has a bit of a belly on him still. I have no idea if it's normal as my DD is skinny like her dad and always has been.

Anyway DS had a recent paeds check (speech delay) and they aren't concerned but he is around 75th centile for weight and only around 50th for height - is that bad? He would eat all day if we let him - since he figured out stairgates it has been very hard to keep him out of the kitchen. He is really into fruit and cheese and yoghurt.

I feel so guilty about the lack of exercise too, due to health issues (mine) they don't get out as much as they should, although they walk a lot. Feel like a failure TBH.

persimmon Wed 20-Feb-13 13:52:52

My friend's 5 yo DD is really huge. I could barely get my arms around her to help her with a cardi the other day. My friend and her DH are both extremely overweight but seem to eat healthily, but hugely. I've realised recently that portion control is everything - you can't eat huge plates of something just because it's 'healthy'.

I saw a doc some years ago where a very fat actress had her diet examined in minute detail and all her metabolic stuff checked. She was adamant that she ate a really healthy diet, and she did - but enormous portions. She actually had a quicker than average metabolism but was vastly overweight.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Wed 20-Feb-13 14:09:46

I agree with the portion control thing. My dsis thinks i have a problem with food and is very vocal about it. Upsettingly so. I have a bmi in the middle of the range, as do all of my family and until recently we didnt have a car. But she thinks that I undereat on purpose and underfeed my dc and dh because my portion sizes are so different from hers. She had her dh are overweight.

It is acceptable sometimes to make jibes about me being skinny and underfeeding my dc but I would never say anything to her about her eating or portion sizes.

Also for a toddler 2 weetabix, then toast and then a banana is actually a huge amount of calories as the calories in fibre have been seriously undercounted plus it would probably bung them up for ages. I dont think that brown bread and rice and wholewheat pasta ime are very good for babies and toddlers at all. Mine have been very intolerant to that much roughage.

I dont restrict the food my dc eat, there are no treat food, it is just all food with no good or bad foods and there are puddings everyday and occasional takeaways but the portions are the right sizes and there are hardly any snacks.

I really feel for the people on this board who are doing all they can and even a dietician says there is nothing more to be done. I would find that really depressing.

MajaBiene Wed 20-Feb-13 15:47:38

There was a programme on last year called "Secret Eaters" which was quite interesting in terms of the psychology of overeating. It featured several overweight couples/families who could not understand why they were so fat - they felt they ate healthily, cooked from scratch, and when they did a food diary it came in at about 2000 calories.

When the programme makers secretly tracked and filmed them for a week, they found actually they hugely over ate without realising - I remember one woman making healthy salads and then adding 200 cals of mayonnaise, or a family that had a barbeque and managed to consume thousands of calories before the burgers were even cooked. It seems easy for people not to realise quite how much they/their children eat.

tiggytape Wed 20-Feb-13 17:38:07

I saw that too Maja - one lady truly believed she ate too little - her food diary said 1300 calories a day and that she only ate healthy food like salads for lunch but she was still gaining weight year after year. When they filmed her, some days she was eating 3700 calories.

It is quite easy to go over - she had too many soft drinks, large portions even of healthy stuff, went a bit mad at the weekends and snacked on cheese. That was all it took - one of her weekend breakfasts was her estimated calorie intake for the whole day so over time she put on more and more weight.

I recorded it at the time as it was pretty informative on how much you have to think about these things and how easily one bad habit could mess up all your good intentions.

Midori1999 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:03:27

I too saw the Secret Eaters thing and I think it is easy to underestimate how which we (and our DC) eat.

My friend is very overweight. She says she doesn't understand it and just eats one meal a day. That's either a lie or she just doesn't realise.

Noodled Wed 20-Feb-13 18:18:42

Thumbwitch it will all roll off as he grows. Bf babies do self regulate and that centile chart needs babies on all the different lines... My ds went off the chart and was like a puddle of bread dough. No evidence of that now on his brawny lean frame.

tiggytape Wed 20-Feb-13 18:23:52

Its drinks as well as food - sugar in tea, fizzy drinks can be a whole extra meal a day in terms of calories. I've always thought it is very unfair that you can gain hundreds of calories by the merest sniff of a chocolate bar but you have to half kill yourself on a treadmill to burn off that same amount.

giveitago Wed 20-Feb-13 18:33:47

"Person 2 has one son, who is again extremely overweight and is getting called names at school such as "Fatty". He is 7. She is up in arms about the mickey taking but insists he isn't fat,"

YANBU but it's also unreasonable that young people are taunted and bullied for their weight by their peers at that age (or any age). I'd be up in arms over the bullying as well.

hettie Wed 20-Feb-13 20:46:58

the physics of food/energy are very simple- calories (energy) in should equal calories (energy expended) out.... but the psychology of food is very very complicated....hence the justification.. the societal/ social and personal/psychological factors in the way we think about food are (imho) really skewy at the moment

TheSecondComing Thu 21-Feb-13 00:27:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thumbwitch Thu 21-Feb-13 02:01:50

Thanks noodled! smile

my2centsis Thu 21-Feb-13 04:11:43

I think your being a judgmental cow in my opinion.. Get of your high horse. Oh and before you ask neither me or my children are over weight

MercedesKing Thu 21-Feb-13 06:47:52

It is not that pleasing to have a kid just eating like this, at least problems of health should be taken into consideration. Hope mums pay attention to the overweight issues. smile

I said this on the other thread about weight that's active at the moment, but I think it bears saying here too.

I think that a big part of the problem is people not knowing how to cook properly - so many have been de-skilled by the removal of proper cookery lessons from school, and the wider and cheaper availability of convenience foods, and these people are now raising the next generation, so where I learned to cook by watching my mum in the kitchen, and working with her there (and my children have learned the same way), but there are children whose parents rarely cook from scratch, so they cannot learn these basic and vital skills at home, and for whom food technology lessons involve very little actual cooking.

Firstly we need to bring back proper cookery lessons in school - so that children can learn how to follow a recipe, what the different terms actually mean, and can master the basic skills - like chopping an onion, or telling when something is 'done', or making a basic white sauce. Yes, there are many, many good recipe books out there, but unless you can understand the terms in them, and know how to saute or dice or seal etc, you are going to struggle to follow the recipes. Children also need to learn how to plan their meals and budget their money.

And the same applies to a lot of adults - they need to learn to cook from scratch, to see that it is not difficult or too time consuming, and that the results can be cheaper and nicer than what is in the packets. Essentially, we need to re-skill at least a generation, probably more.

curryeater Thu 21-Feb-13 10:30:21

TheSecondComing, can you link to HENRI? I googled it but I don't think any of the results are what you are talking about...

tiggytape Thu 21-Feb-13 10:36:27

A lot of people can cook from scartch though and are still obese or overweight - look at most chefs or people who are so good at cooking that they work with food everyday. Cookery is very popular even with younger people who don't learn it at school and who take it up in later life inspired by loads of food programmes and blogs that are around.

You can cook the most healthy meal but if you then eat a heaped plateful, you get too many calories. They are 'healthy' calories not stuffed with additives and rubbish but they will still make you gain weight.
There was a thread a while back about fishfingers (not necessarily healthy ones but school dinner ones) and people questioned children 'only' being given 2 or 3 when this is actually considered a normal portion size. I noticed that when we've been to Pizza Express or similar, friends don't order the kids meal for their children because they say it is too small - even for quite young children - they get them a full size pizza instead.
As adults, we're used to having bigger things too - muffins are now enormous where once they were like fairy cakes. Drink sizes are so big, you can virtually order milky coffee by the pint. If you've ever weighed things like cereals or pasta to see the 'correct' amount to eat, it is tiny. It barely covers the bottom of the bowl or plate whereas most people think a heaped up portion is the norm.

I think that's why it is so disheartening - there are many people who are cooking daily, making their own lunches, choosing healthy foods but still putting on weight because we all have a distorted view about how small portions are supposed to be.

You are right, tiggytape - and what I forgot to say in my post was that, once people can cook properly, then they can be encouraged to follow the healthy eating guidelines, and it will be easier for them to do so. Sorry for my dimness!

MerryCouthyMows Thu 21-Feb-13 11:00:36

I know a lady with 4 DC's. Her eldest DD has a different father to her youngest 3 DC's.

Her eldest DD is a perfectly normal size. Her youngest 3 DC's really aren't.

Neither of their parents are overweight.

They have a genetic issue that causes them to have a lowered immune system and also to store fat more easily than most people do.

Even on a VERY low calorie but healthy diet, they remain overweight.

She spends half her life between Addenbrooke's and GOSH with her DC's.

So they REALLY do have a reason for being overweight.

But unless you knew the family well, all you would see is 3 overweight DC's. Her eldest DD is an adult, so you wouldn't see her as part of the family unless you knew them well, so you wouldn't understand that the younger DC's have a genetic issue.

TheSecondComing Thu 21-Feb-13 12:18:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSecondComing Thu 21-Feb-13 12:21:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ICBINEG Thu 21-Feb-13 12:26:27

Thanks for the link!

This makes fantastically useful reading.

"Controlling what children eat, through pressure or restriction, is common but counterproductive.
It particularly occurs when parents are overweight themselves, have problems controlling their own food intake, are concerned about their child’s weight, or are particularly invested in their appearance"

So all those up thread including worra saying you should stop a toddler from eating a 3rd weetabix were wrong.

ICBINEG Thu 21-Feb-13 12:28:07

So putting pressure on parents to control under 5s eating is actually going to increase their risk of obesity.

And that includes judging the fatness of toddlers on MN.

My cousin was born in 1996.

I was mistaken for his mother on more than one occasion.

He's finishing school this year.

<gibbers quietly in corner>

Thumbwitch Thu 21-Feb-13 12:52:46

Summer - are you on the right thread? confused

Whoops.... That was meant for the thread about things you know but still shock you! Fecking phone keeps randomly page changing on me possibly in response to being dropped repeatedly

Sorry all!

loubielou31 Thu 21-Feb-13 13:10:13

If your children are genuinely hungry then I would feel awful about saying no all the time. Surely it would be okay to allow your DCs free access to the fruit bowl. I'm thinking of the slimming world diet which has a long list of foods, mainly fruit and veg but also very low fat dairy, that can be eaten without limit in conjunction with other healthy meals.
NB my children rarely eat enough so not something I've had to deal with.

ICBINEG Thu 21-Feb-13 13:14:15

hmmm 3 tbsp of pasta? DD was eating more like 10 within 3 weeks of first foods.

Oh well I am going to take the advice in the document linked by TSC and stop all worrying about my DD's eating. She will currently eat anything put in front of her (unless she is full) and we don't push her to eat more or stop her eating more already.

EMUZ Thu 21-Feb-13 13:27:56

I think sugar and low fat stuff has a lot to do with (adults as well)
I read john briffa - escape the diet trap this week and it was fascinating
So more foods now are low fat (and they replace the fat with crap, and we get told more whole grain carbs are a healthy diet along with stuff like low fat spread but as a nation people are getting fatter?
Fat is more satiating (if that's the word) and so is protein. I'm eating low (ish) carb at the moment and rarely hungry. But this week I forgot to take food out and had to go to a local shop - all sandwiches, and salads with pasta packed with carbs. Ended up with a bag of salad and some cooked chicken
But the low fat foods get filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners and the taste of artificial sweeteners makes you crave more sweet things
It's like if you had a loaf of really nice bread, could you toast it and eat it all with different toppings? Probably. But could you eat a full roast chicken and unlimited veg to yourself (including chicken skin and butter on the veg) probably not
I don't know if that makes any sense whatsoever grin but I can 100 times recommend that book, and it wouldn't be bad for children because it encourages eating fat

forevergreek Thu 21-Feb-13 13:29:06

3 tbsp is a huge portion. 10 would be adult size! A tablespoon is like a large desert spoon

I would for example do a large spoon of pasta, large spoon of bolgnaise sauce and a large spoon of side veg as a portion for 20 month and 3 year old. That is approx 3/4 of a toddler ikea plate. A spoon full is roughly the size of their fist clenched.

ICBINEG Thu 21-Feb-13 13:31:56

yup I would make pasta and dd would eat off my plate. I would have a large adult sized portion and she would often eat more than half of it. She could make pasta disappear like noones business.

TheSecondComing Thu 21-Feb-13 13:56:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fluffy1234 Thu 21-Feb-13 14:03:28

My Ds used to be skinny now he is on medication for his epilepsy he has put on quite a bit of weight which is a very common side effect. He's now a bit chubby but is able to live almost a 'normal' life.

EMUZ Thu 21-Feb-13 14:06:43

TSC - definitely. Berries are the best to eat or you need to eat some protein alongside. Otherwise you get a spike then a low and you are hungry/shaky again

Wossname Thu 21-Feb-13 14:43:39

That info and link about portion sizes is brilliant, thanks tsc, I was looking for something like that as my perception of appropriate amounts for the kids is rubbish.

This thread has been so helpful, thank you.

TSC I think that sometimes we forget to follow their cues. DD (2) is one who could eat an adult sized pasta dish. But, yesterday she ate a couple of strawberries for breakfast, a small piece of cheese for lunch and a bit of pasta and veg for dinner. Not a problem.

However, I have to force myself not to offer and offer because she isn't eating a lot. I have to remember, she ate a chicken breast and potato and veg the night before. She regulates herself. She has followed the curve (over 99% height, 80% for weight) since birth. She knows what she is doing. DH will try to put the spoon near her mouth to encourage her. Can't help himself.

Hold on, I just read the link, "desserts are important" WTF? Really? DD is obviously being deprived.

TheSecondComing Thu 21-Feb-13 17:22:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SoleSource Thu 21-Feb-13 17:26:00

I have reached that stage TSC! smile

Cat98 Thu 21-Feb-13 19:11:23

Thanks for those links, very useful. I am still at a loss about restriction though. If I didn't restrict at all, ds would choose chocolate to eat, every.time!
Tonight for instance I served up a reasonably healthy tea. He moaned and whinged -' I want something else'! I said he didn't have to eat it if not hungry, but if he was hungry that was all there was. He cried but eventually ate it and said he liked it. Did I do right?!

ICBINEG Fri 22-Feb-13 00:59:31

cat that sounds right to me....you didn't force and didn't restrict but did stay in control of what was on offer.

Sounds perfect in fact.

ICBINEG Fri 22-Feb-13 01:03:38

I have noticed that DD eats different food stuffs at different phases of the growth spurt curve. She is currently carbohydrate mad. Made vege fajetas for dinner and she disappeared the tortilla at the speed of light then the cheese and then grudgingly the vegetables last. And didn't touch the dips...normally it is all about the dips...even if she has to use a spoon. Then she ate 3 mini yogurts. And refusing all fruit today...normally she is such a fruit fiend.

It feels nice to trust her again...and my instincts.

Kungfutea Fri 22-Feb-13 02:55:20

My dd2 is overweight. The reason is she likes her food. I don't think it's a terrible or unreasonable thing to say, it's the truth! Dd1 is slim and it's because food is far less important to her.

Since she was born dd2 (now 6) has loved food. She breastfed like a champ, when she went to nursery I expressed and could hardly keep up with demand. The nursery staff commented on how she'd finish the bottles. When she became a toddler, she was a child who could not skip meals and would become very cranky if a meal was late. Now at school, teachers also comment on how 'well' she eats. Whe we go to parties, she's always looking for opportunities to get her hands on junk. When I ask her how school was, she tells me what she had for lunch. I notice that she does eat more compared with her friends, she's the child who almost invariably finishes her plate.

So what do you do? She loves her food! She doesn't eat junk, we eat quite healthily, we don't have tv, we try to be active. For example, today she had for breakfast a slice of homemade whole meal bread with 100% peanut peanut butter and sliced banana and a cup of cocoa (cocoa powder, teaspoon of sugar, 1% milk). For lunch she had poached salmon, asparagus, broccoli and half a corn on the cob - filled up a side plate. She polished it off, said she was still hungry so got a spoonful of salmon and munched her way through the remaing broccoli. Orange for afternoon snack. Supper was homemade whole wheat mushroom and garlic pizza (using low fat mozzarella) and a tomato, pepper and coriander salad. She got 2 slices which filled up half a side plate and a large helping of salad. She wanted more when she was done so I offered her salad and she polished off another large helping.

I think it's quite a lot of food for a 6 year old but I don't want her going hungry. At the moment she has a healthy relationship with food, she just gets a lot of enjoyment out of it and she will happily tuck into healthy options (although with a strong preference for junk if she can get it!). I feel if I start restricting it then she'll feel deprived. There are worse things in life than beng a bit overweight! I've noticed, for example, that she's a lot fitter than many of her friends. She's got way more stamina. We often take our dog on 3 or 4 mile walks which she does easily, we've taken her friends with us on occasion and quite a few cant keep up the pace like she can - and being unfit is also a risk factor for ill health.

So, op, that long post is just to say perhaps judge less? Children who love food do find it harder to control themselves and even with a healthy diet and exercise will tend to be heavier than children who like food less. It's even harder these days with the access to snacks and junk food, often outside of the home environment.

Altinkum Fri 22-Feb-13 03:44:10

My ds2 is tall and big boned, he is 3.8 years and is in age 5-6 clothes. Looking t him you can tell he is only 3, how wee the fact you can see his ribs underneath his clothes or his hed is the size if a football with masses if curly hair, means he is obese by NHS standards.

All he eats is fruit and veg.

nooka Fri 22-Feb-13 04:44:02

I have two tall thin children who eat a lot. Mostly I suspect this is because they have tall, (relatively) thin parents who eat a lot. ds verges on being underweight. He is really very thin with very little body fat. He is also a bit of a couch potato but he is naturally very active (finds it hard to keep still and fiddles and jiggles all the time). His best buddy is really quite overweight, but is the sportiest child I know with serious activities going on every day. His parents are also active but over weight.

Although calories + activity has consistently been shown to be the determinants of weight genetics clearly play a part too. However just as it's easy not to accurately measure what you consume it is incredibly easy to be far more sedentary than you think too.

Oh and my dd has always been on a relatively high centile for her weight, and pretty much off the chart for height. It's the combination of the two that calculates BMI. dd has never come up overweight although she is heavier than many of her contemporaries, being tall can't be used to discount an overweight BMI as it is a key input.

HorizonFocus Fri 22-Feb-13 08:13:42

kungfu It may seem counterintuitive, but I wonder if full fat foods would help fill your DD up more (e.g. with the cocoa, make with full fat milk and no sugar - that's what I have).

Sounds like you are doing brilliantly with balance otherwise - salmon and salad - nice work!

Thumbwitch Fri 22-Feb-13 10:47:32

I totally agree with Horizon - kungfu you don't need to be giving your 6yo low fat stuff! They need that fat for growth - cell membranes and nerve structures are made from fatty acids, they're important in a child's diet. Plus they help to increase satiety, and slow the absorption of carbs.

curryeater Fri 22-Feb-13 11:49:18

Just to pick up on something - the link that TheSecondComing posted (thanks!) mentioned dessert as something that should only be served in single helpings. So if the booklet says elsewhere that food should not be limited, they are not suggesting that you allow the child to choose what to eat - I understand that to mean that you only offer a single serving of pudding but you don't offer nothing at all if the child is hungry (which is what everyone on where already knows, just saying for clarity because there is some confusion with people saying "you can't not limit because left to his own devices my child would eat junk all day")

I think that is the first time that I have actually seen serving sizes anywhere and it does tie in with my experience of small children. I think we should see more stuff about serving sizes because the focus on what sort of food to offer is pointless.
In pizza express (and I know that is eating out and that is different, but still), I cannot see how any child who is not almost a teenager could eat the meal deal: starter plus pizza or pasta (not that small) plus drink plus pudding. If I were to try to split that between two children we would still throw most of it away. When that is presented as the norm it is not surprising that parents encourage their kids to "eat up".

DS1, (8) is tall for his age and slim (you can see his ribs). He is very active and can eat an adult portion of pasta (100g uncooked weight) or a pizza express adult pizza. This is more than I can eat (average height, size 10), but he seems to need it.

Where we seem to differ from a lot of others, is that snacks here are a rarity. Perhaps after football they might have a cereal bar or a banana, but generally it is 3 square meals a day, and that's the lot! Puddings are one of: yoghurt, fruit, toast, jelly, occasionally ice cream. They usually have something, but are more "savoury" minded. DS has never asked for a pud at PE after his pizza for eg.

curryeater Fri 22-Feb-13 11:59:44

Having read fedup's post, I think all restaurants should stop doing standard or aged servings altogether, so whatever your age you can order a tiny, medium, large or x-large pizza; or my personal thing, I would love it if you could order a small fillet steak. When I buy it to cook for myself I only get a tiny piece as it is so yummy and filling, and I would love to have it out as a treat, but never order it because the menu always boasts that it is HUGE and comes with a million chips.

Thumbwitch Fri 22-Feb-13 12:08:00

Used to be that you could order 6oz steaks, 8oz steaks or 12oz steaks iirc. Can't remember where though! But that seemed fairly normal back in my day (25 or so years ago, I guess - eep!)

I also wish that you could order sized portions, regardless of age. I hate waste, especially expensive waste - but the size of some meals out is ridiculous, so it can hardly be avoided! Australia seems to be following in the American pattern of massive portions, which is probably why there are so many obese people here too (I think it's even more than in the UK!) - that and the huge prevalence of drive-through junk fast food places.

DS1 doesn't have child meals in restaurants - I usually get him a starter from the main menu. Can't be doing with serving him processed crap (which is what it usually is) while we have decent food (DS2 will get the same when he's old enough to eat food)

Kungfutea Fri 22-Feb-13 12:36:42

Well, now I'm completely confused! She's not on a low fat diet per se (lots of fats in peanut butter and salad had olive oil on it and I make bread with ground flax seeds added) but we do tend to buy low fat dairy for the whole family. Do you think I should be buying full fat? I thought from about 2 kids can have low fat dairy.

curryeater Fri 22-Feb-13 12:56:36

Yes Thumbwitch but an 8oz steak is half a pound! I have never seen a 4oz steak on a menu anywhere, which is the sort of thing I would cook for me at home. It doesn't matter if you can share, but dp is veggie.

TobyLerone Fri 22-Feb-13 13:01:44

Steak is sold in restaurants as uncooked weight. Same as burgers. If you grill an 8oz steak and then weigh it, it'll weigh less than 8oz.

forevergreek Fri 22-Feb-13 13:06:23

The problem with low fat is its usually high on sugar to compensate

Kungfutea Fri 22-Feb-13 13:10:21

That's absolutely true for processed foods but not for lower fat milk and cheeses.

Fillyjonk75 Fri 22-Feb-13 13:15:30

My just 4 year old is in 5-6 clothes, but that's because she's the height of a 5-6 year old, she is the right weight for her height though.

I have a lot of sympathy for parents who can't control their weight and their habits get passed on to their children. I also think a lot of people become overweight or obese after they have children due to the lifestyle change. I am slightly overweight but love exercise, and have suffered stress and depression. DDs aren't overweight, but if someone relatively fortunate like me can mess up my diet, I can easily understand and empathise with others with more severe issues.

Thumbwitch Fri 22-Feb-13 13:23:59

Kungfu, I expect they can have low fat food from 2 onwards, but they're still growing! Still making new cells, hormones (derived from cholesterol). Unless they have a specific fat-related health problem, then there's no real reason for children to have low fat food.

Curry - Tobes is right - but you're right too, I've never seen a 4oz steak anywhere outside of a burger joint.

MajaBiene Fri 22-Feb-13 13:30:18

Semi-skimmed milk is fine from 2 according to the NHS.

curryeater Fri 22-Feb-13 13:48:09

Yes Toby, but an 8oz steak, uncooked, to buy is still twice the size of the one I want to eat.

Semi skimmed milk might be ok according to the NHS, but IF you have a child who is prone to eating a lot AND prone to putting on weight, it MIGHT be the right thing to do to make sure all their food is as high as it can be in nutrients, including fat, and therefore leave out the stuff that is carby bulk, ie fat reduced dairy, to see if this decreases their appetite

Thumbwitch Fri 22-Feb-13 13:58:35

And semi-skimmed milk is nearly always 2% fat, not 1% - so if you're using 1% fat milk, then that's not semi-skimmed and is even less suitable for growing children.

Kungfutea Fri 22-Feb-13 14:24:41

Why is reduced fat dairy carby bulk? I don't get it.

I live in Canada and the portions are HUGE. However, I live in a thin bit of Canada and here everyone gets half their dinner boxed up to take with them. No waste and 2-3 meals out of one. I love it. Why don't we do it more in the UK?

countrykitten Fri 22-Feb-13 15:02:27

Lots of people on here listing absolutely HUGE amounts of food that they feed their dcs on a daily basis. Amazed.

LineRunner Fri 22-Feb-13 15:04:36

Just going back to the OP's actual original post - the OP uses the expression 'like/love their food' five times in a pretty negative way just in the one post.

It's easy to see why food is an emotional thing, even for the OP, even for all of us.

DeafLeopard Fri 22-Feb-13 16:02:03

Like a previous poster I have DS who is prone to put on weight and DD that is underweight. DS is always hungry. They are fed a healthy diet - I cook from scratch and they get plenty of fruit and veg in their diet, they don't have fizzy drinks, they do regular sports etc.

Whilst I want to encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle, I am also aware that if I make too big a deal out of DS' weight, I will be setting him up to a life time of body issues.

curryeater Fri 22-Feb-13 16:20:20

Kungfu, reduced fat anything becomes defacto high carb. If a person's body needs fat, they will find themselves hungrier eating this, and over time, eating more. I don't think everyone is the same, I think some people do fine on a low fat diet. for some it's just ballast, they feel hungry all the time, they eat, they put on weight.

That's an interesting point curry remember that experiment they did with a journalist swapping her regular food for diet food? She gained three pounds as it didn't fill her up, give her the energy to go about her usual active life and she ate more as a result of seeking the satisfaction missing from the taste.

fuzzpig Fri 22-Feb-13 21:12:06

Thanks for the links TSC. Will study it at length later, and show DH. He gives the DCs portions that are too big. I don't blame him as he was an abused and neglected child and was often starving. It's not hard to see why he associates food with love when he was deprived of both.

OTOH I think although we both have issues with food (I am a comfort/boredom eater) and we don't provide the healthiest diet due to too many snacks, I am fairly confident that at least the attitude we show the DCs is quite relaxed IYSWIM so hopefully we aren't making the DCs anxious about food. DD (5) has started saying things about certain foods being bad or good - from school I guess - and we have tried to encourage balance and moderation. However as I said we do need to provide healthier food overall. It's hard ATM as we are both unwell and struggling generally so I just want to make gradual changes.

Thoroughly agree with the not finishing your plate thing. I only started learning to leave food on my plate in the last few years - I'm 26! It really started in my second pregnancy - whopper DS who I mentioned upthread took up so much room in utero that I could barely eat towards the end. Since then I've started to confront the psychological feelings about leaving food and can now easily leave something that I don't have room for.

I tell myself that even though it seems a waste to leave food, it is just as much of a waste if I eat it and then regret it/feel too stuffed!

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