2 year old constantly whining for snacks!

(41 Posts)
GlummyMummy Thu 02-Jun-16 20:15:22

I've posted on here about this before but the problem has really escalated recently so really hoping someone has some good advice!

My 2 year old daughter spends her whole day looking for food, it seems to occupy her every thought and I can only distract her for so long before she asks for it again. It's slightly better if we are out of the house but if we are at home she just constantly stands pointing at the cupboard and shouting for snack, cheese, sweeties etc etc. I try to ignore her but she is very persistent and it's particularly embarrassing if we have someone in the house with us.

How has anyone else coped with this? I am paranoid she is going to end up huge, as she seems to eat so much more than other kids. I am always amazed when we are at toddler groups etc and parents have to persuade their kids to leave the toys and come and eat snack....my daughter is always the first one there! If we are playing at other kids houses, she has usually finished their snack and hers before they even come looking for it! It's mortifying!

She has become quite a wingey child lately in general (definitely the terrible twos) and is very strong willed and demanding. I hope it's just a phase as it's exhausting! Nothing seems to occupy her, she doesn't even settle for a story these days, so I'm getting no respite at all!

Any ideas/anything worked for others?

CoodleMoodle Thu 02-Jun-16 20:21:53

No advice I'm afraid but my 2yo is the same at the moment. It's the only time she gets really upset! She's not got the best diet (improving though) but she eats. And eats, and eats!

We usually share some toast mid-morning (she's already had a big bowl of porridge by this point) and then a bit later she has a snack before her nap. In the last week or so she's finished her toast and immediately starts asking for her "num", which is usually toddler snacks (biscotti, crunchy carrot sticks, etc, usually some raisins and a breadstick as well). If I say no we get instant stamping feet and wailing!

It's probably a very long growth spurt...

doesntmatterwhoyouare Thu 02-Jun-16 20:23:31

I just feed mine more, a varried diet inc lots of veg and a bit of fruit and they don't get sweets etc (pudding is yogurt and fruit) just occasional cake or ice cream at xmas, bdays etc
Also had the hard lesson of treats on view does not make them yours. So leaving food out let them gave one and then say no to any more, they are for your aunty/cousin etc. Did that around 15months with each kid.
Is she over weight? How much is she eating?

BrightandEarly Thu 02-Jun-16 20:29:07

Assuming she's not got any particular issues associated with her weight, just feed her more!

My three year old often asks for snacks when she's actually hungry. I've started to carry around pasta / chicken / cheese in Tupperware boxes and feed her when she asks for a snack. I think she's growing and just hungry most of the time!

SuburbanRhonda Thu 02-Jun-16 20:29:14

I was going to ask about her weight. We have a child at school who has hyperaphagia, where the part of the brain that should switch off when you're hungry, doesn't. Could you take her to the GP for a checkup?

Shadow1986 Thu 02-Jun-16 20:31:53

My 4. Year olds are the same. I've started buying carrot batons, so every time they fuss they are starving out come the carrots! They will soon get bored I'm sure!

GlummyMummy Thu 02-Jun-16 20:34:03

thanks both, glad to hear it's not just us going through this!!

She is tall, arms and legs not big but she does have a pot belly and a round face with several chins (bless her!) Maybe it is a growth spurt as she has become quite heavy to carry recently!

She has two bits of toast and a banana for breakfast, mid morning snack (usually some rice cakes or a babybel or some more toast). Lunch is pasta or beans on toast, homemade pizza, oatcakes and cream cheese, or eggy bread, followed by yoghurt. Then as soon as she gets up from nap at 2pm she looks for some breadsticks, some toddler biscuits (oat things or biscotti), and sometimes fruit or another babybel. Then at teatime she has something similar to tea time, maybe fajitas or mince or salmon pasta, followed by more fruit.

She is quite fussy at mealtimes and at snack. I have tried offering her carrot sticks or something healthier at snack but she has a major meltdown and shouts for biscuits!

The worry I have is she isn't a hugely active child. She likes to be carried when out and doesn't run around much although she is into everything and active in the sense of not settling to one activity for long.

BrightandEarly Thu 02-Jun-16 20:40:37

Have you tried adding more protein? Chicken, cheese, full fat yoghurt, eggs etc. That may fill her up a bit longer...

FabFiveFreddie Thu 02-Jun-16 20:43:31

That sounds like a lot of carbohydrates and not a lot of protein or fibre tbh.

Try her in banana chopped into porridge in the morning. Mid morning snack (if she wants it) fruit or something like hummous with carrots, avocado toast. Lunch should be half carbs and the rest veg and protein. Similar for dinner.

Is she still having milk? If not when did she stop?

The belly is likely from the carbs, not from actual overeating.

Finally, she's 2. She can stomp and wail all she like but you shop, cook and serve. She will eat only what you give her. If she doesn't like it she will soon learn to if you stand firm. My saying she doesn't have naughty stuff, only that she only has as much naughty stuff as you give her, irrespective of the fight she puts up.

FabFiveFreddie Thu 02-Jun-16 20:44:29

Sorry for typos, too many to correct blush
Hope meaning is clear.

doesntmatterwhoyouare Thu 02-Jun-16 20:45:09

For a comparison my kids are 16 months and 2yrs9months and our eating routine is
5am milk and a small snack (rice cake/small piece of bread)
6am milk and a piece of bread
8 porridge (up to 3,toddler bowls) and a sandwich
930 price of fruit
1115 cooked lunch (e.g a hotdog and roll and salad)
1400 cooked lunch (no that's not a typo!) maybe a pancake and salad
1530 (little one only - a small snack)
1630 cooked dinner (e.g veg, chips, 1 egg cheese omelette)
1700 yogurt and fruit
1715 milk and bread

The big one use to eat more and to be honest the little one does tend to out eat him but isn't as hungry as he use to be.

No weight issues so far but both are pretty active.

doesntmatterwhoyouare Thu 02-Jun-16 20:48:28

I know that's a lot of bread - I'm working on it - they are just always hungry and I run out of ideas. blush

Allyoucaneat Thu 02-Jun-16 20:59:05

It sounds like a lot of carbs bread/pasta and not much protein. Try filling her up on protein, boiles eggs, chicken, peanut butter etc.

My ds1 as a toddler was like this too, he used to take food from other children's plates at nursery blush. He still eats like a horse but is very tall and slim. I just try to make sure I offer him healthy filling snacks and limit the junk.

GlummyMummy Thu 02-Jun-16 21:14:35

this is really helpful, thanks everyone!

I am aware she does eat a lot of bread, tried really hard to offer her alternatives but she just refuses. As for protein, she does have chicken regularly, salmon, and mince, and she likes homemade quiche packed full of eggs. She does have sips of milk but no big drink of it.

I haven't had her properly weighed but I don't think she is hugely overweight compared to her peers, just a chubby tummy and face.

hyperaphagia sounds interesting, never heard of that! I think eating has just become an obsession for her, it's the first thing she thinks of when she is bored, and when food is in sight she can't rest to anything else until its all eaten. I think half the time she asks for food she isn't even that hungry. Often she just wants to carry the snack around for a while rather than eat it immediately so it's like a possession thing. Also, she is at home with me rather than at nursery so she knows where the food is in the house. If she was at nursery, there wouldn't be snacks readily available.

doesntmatterwhoyouare Thu 02-Jun-16 21:24:29

Sorry I.meant mine eat a lot of bread -,didn't even notice it on yours.

In your place id have veg and rice cakes everywhere all the time and let it run it's course. I dis that for dc1 and he stopped the constant liking for food as he knew where it was when ge wanted it. Dc2 has just found the fridge and climbs in confused

SuburbanRhonda Thu 02-Jun-16 21:47:21

The other thing you could try is 123-Magic for the behaviour - have a look on Amazon. She's just the right age to start.

GlummyMummy Fri 03-Jun-16 12:56:12

I think my daughter does eat a fair bit of bread, she seems to love it - takes after her Dad! I am concerned it is causing her tummy to bloat though.

I have tried offering her raw veg as snacks but she leaves them every time. She is a big fruit eater but not so keen on veg, only really likes cooked carrots, cooked broccoli, mushrooms and peas

Like the sound of 123-Magic, will check that out - thanks!

Despite loving snacks (we are just back from toddler group where she ate all of her plate plus cleared up what was left of everyone elses!), she is quite fussy with meals. Made her fish pie last night and she wouldnt touch it! My other half eventually relented just before bedtime and gave her some cheese and chicken - we didn't want her going to bed with no tea as she would no doubt wake up through the night starving!

FabFiveFreddie Fri 03-Jun-16 13:56:37

It sounds from this post that you give her what she asks for or 'prefers'. If you do so you have to live with the consequences. If you want her to eat different food, at different times, in different quantities, that's what you have to enforce. She's only 2! You're in charge here! She might moan and groan for a few days or even a couple of weeks, but she will adjust. It doesn't matter if she skips a meal here or there through sheer stubbornness, she will soon learn that you mean business. If all that is on offer is raw veg, that is what she will eat if she's hungry. If she's stubborn and won't touch it, she will have to wait till the next meal (let her bend your ear in between times). If that meal is fish pie and she really was hungry, she will eat it. If she wasn't hungry and still won't touch the fish pie, keep her going until the next feeding time when again you offer her something you approve of. Keep at it for only two or three days and she will get the message. And don't withhold the naughty stuff, she's not being punished after all. Just stand firm on the quantity she's allowed, so she doesn't fill up on it.

Kariana Fri 03-Jun-16 17:42:04

I agree with the above. All those carbs and fruit will be setting up a cycle of sugar highs and crashes which result in craving more sugary/carby foods. You need to break the cycle and whilst you are doing it she won't starve. Offer one choice of snack or meal and try to increase the protein in these e.g. sticks of cheese, raw carrot with humorous or cream cheese dip for snacks, more egg and meat based meals. Completely leave out the carbs for snacks that way she can't 'choose' to eat the carbs instead. She will whine and moan that she is hungry the first few times but actually she either won't be hungry or she will just be craving the sugar high. She certainly won't starve if she leaves it and doesn't eat it, even if it is a main meal. Don't let her moan for certain snacks/foods and get her own way as the cycle will just continue. If she does miss the evening meal then a drink of milk at bedtime will help fill her tummy till morning (and again if she is hungry she will drink it).

I think you do need to establish if she is over weight or not as some of the advice on here will only apply if she isn't (e.g. the bits about feeding her more). The pot belly sounds like a carb overload, it's much the same reason malnourished children have pot bellies, because what they do get tends to be carbs. It's difficult to tell from your description of her face - it sounds like she is a little chubby but then she's young so it may be her family e is carrying baby weight. On the other hand her legs and arms you say are normal so that suggests she might not be overweight. I think it is best to establish where she is for your own peace of mind and also so you can implement the advice that is going to most help your daughter and her behaviour.

doesntmatterwhoyouare Fri 03-Jun-16 17:46:17

I've found we don't need to worry about a missed dinner anymore as the older one at least doesn't wake for food even.if he has no dinner. Take the plunge and try not giving nice evening snacks.

ArgyMargy Fri 03-Jun-16 18:09:28

She sounds bored and eating is something to do. You need to get her to be more active - carrying a 2 year old should only be when they are tired. And she should be mainly walking now, no buggy. And snacks are not necessary.

fruitpastille Fri 03-Jun-16 18:27:10

She sounds like my two year old. Her big sister was the same and she's turned out ok so I'm trying not to worry too much. My eldest was very, picky and he seems ok too😉 Fwiw I think her diet sounds fine - normal for a toddler. Mine asks when she is tired as well. She would accept her dummy as an alternative but I'm trying to wean her off that too!! I think most two year old use a buggy as well - getting to school on time would be a nightmare otherwise!

GlummyMummy Fri 03-Jun-16 20:51:55

I definitely think a lot of it is boredom with her, though she does get plenty of stimulation in her day.

Any idea how I can encourage her to be more active?

And does anyone have any inspiring ideas of non-carb or non-sugar snacks? Will just have to clear the house of temptations for her!! Also hard to find non-carb meals, pasta and bread are easy and she does like them.

BrightandEarly Sat 04-Jun-16 10:31:44

I think you've said you make this already but egg meals are easy to make. My DC love scrambled eggs with cheese or prawns mixed in. Also my DC quite happily eat chicken cold. They do also like baked beans which I realise is quite high in sugar but there is a lower sugar version. And Greek yoghurt with a bit of honey and fruit.

GlummyMummy Sun 05-Jun-16 20:43:10

She used to love omelette but stopped eating that two months ago for some reason. Will try her again with scrambled egg. She does like cold chicken and the low sugar beans. Oh and yoghurt is always a favourite too. It's just the constant looking for snacks which gets me down......she totally has a one-track mind!

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