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to restrict how much my DC eat?

(85 Posts)
Ormirian Tue 21-Jun-11 13:03:29

In particular the eldest 2 who are 12 and 14 and, not to be put too fine a point on it, are getting a little chubby?

Over the years we had got into bad food habits - too many packets of crisps and biscuits so about 5 years ago DH and I put a stop to it. The new rule was that the only thing they could help themselves without asking was fruit -assuming it waan't just before a meal. Otherwise they had to ask and could have fruit, wm toast, a sandwich, cheese, cereal, if hungry. Now that the older ones gets themselves home from school before DH and I they can help themselves. After dinner they might have some sort of pud - fruit, a piece of cake, ice-cream. And if hungry later a snack as well. Junk food such as we have in the house is kept to a minimum.

Problem is that they will eat endlessly. It might be reasonably good stuff but they eat heaps of it! I must get through a big box of cornflakes and/or weetabix a week and probably 6k of apples and bananas, monster amounts of cheese and enough bread to feed an army! Apart from anything else we are a bit short of money atm and I can't afford to keep going back to the shops every day. And of course there is the chubby children issue - I tried to explain to DD last night that whilst an apple and cheese are good for you they still contains calories along with the vit c and protein and there is a finite amount you need in a day!

I know they are growing children and they need their food but surely there is a limit to how much they need?

Help!

HowToLookGoodGlaikit Tue 21-Jun-11 13:07:22

There is no "help yourself" in my house. We all eat 3 balanced meals a day, with 2-3 snacks. Mine arent quite as old as yours, but I just couldnt afford to buy all that extra cereal/snacks/fruit!

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 21-Jun-11 13:10:00

Flipside to getting fat is 'not moving around enough'. They're probably using up plenty of energy because they're young but not quite enough to stop it sticking to the ribs. Rather than reducing food (always tricky as they can get it outside the home) find ways to increase their activity level. Limits on TV and computer time aren't a bad start. Get them doing housework or running errands. Enrol them in extra curricular activities.... Just don't let them sit and veg.

Isitreally Tue 21-Jun-11 13:10:06

Well you are doing the right thing by not having any junk food in the house. It might be worthwhile not having cheese there everyday either (or only have small amounts of it). It's not junk but it is one of the most calorie laden foods you can eat and it's really really high in fat and for children who love it, it's easy for them to put on weight.

If they are eating so much that you are having to do top-up shops to replace things that are gone, why not buy less in your weekly shop and do planned top-up shops in the week instead?

That way it will save you money and if it's not there, they can't eat it. I would let them have as much fruit as they want though.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 21-Jun-11 13:12:00

Should add... .if you can't afford it, don't buy it. Limit your shopping to what you need for meals and a reasonable amount of snacks and resist the tempation to stock up. Keep bread in the freezer so it's not so accessible. If it's not in the cuboard it can't be grazed....

2rebecca Tue 21-Jun-11 13:16:21

I would stop buying ice cream, alot of cheese and crisps. If they are becoming obese and you let them eat at times other than meal times then you have to limit the amount of fattening snack food in the house so the only option is wholemeal bread or fruit.
Cereal is for breakfast only and I'd buy healthier muesli type cereals rather than cornflakes.
I keep very little junk food in the house so if anyone wants a snack it's either fruit or takes a bit of effort to assemble something.

Ormirian Tue 21-Jun-11 13:17:35

But I don't want to do top up shops! I am trying to avoid them because I don't have the time. I''s much rather not spend all my lunch hours shopping!

And it's hard to 'hide' cheese or other fresh foods anywhere apart from the fridge. I do keep bread in the freezer so i suppose I could just take enough out for lunchboxes and leave the rest there.

The moving thing is a problem. DS1 used to skate a lot but that's taken a back seat now for some reason - i think because he new mates are into computer games and guitar more than skating. DD rides and helps out all day at the stables on saturday but doesn't do much else anymore - have to say that she does seem to be losing weight though. I can't actually critisise them thiough - I haven't been running much recentlyfor health reasons but I will eb getting back to it asap. We're hoping to adopt a dog soon so that will get us all moving.

Ormirian Tue 21-Jun-11 13:18:22

But how do you tell if a child is genuinely hungry or just wanting to eat?

pinkbraces Tue 21-Jun-11 13:20:18

Muesli really isnt a healthy cereal.

Bloodymary Tue 21-Jun-11 13:23:19

Just 3 meals a day in our house as well, fruit is always eaten with a meal, or else has to be asked for.
Carrot sticks are good if they claim to be hungry!

bigTillyMint Tue 21-Jun-11 13:24:19

We have 3 proper meals a day, plus a snack when they come in from school - fruit and a biscuit / toast. Fruit for afters at lunchtime and usually a smalll pud / cake / ice cream for dinner.

Mine do not help themselves without checking first. They have crisps / chocolate as treats - maybe once or twice a week.

I do a massive shop - online or in person once a week and don't usually have to top up.

They are both very sporty and have very muscular bodies. Definitely in the correct weight range but not at all skinny!

Do yours eat a decent breakfast? Maybe cornflakes isn't cutting the mustard? Porridge / poached eggs on w/m, etc might keep them going for longer?

Ormirian Tue 21-Jun-11 13:25:31

Well to be honest pink, I don't think of bread, cereal or fruit as that healthy having spent years following a low-carb diet. I'd rather they ate a salad with some protein but I have realised that isn't going to happen hmm

2rebecca Tue 21-Jun-11 13:25:58

Muesli is healthy if you buy a low sugar variety. You have to read the ingredients and sugar content etc to pick one though but generally much more healthy than cornflakes.

dinkystinky Tue 21-Jun-11 13:26:07

They are 12 and 14 - can you not explain to them the food budget, that x amount is allocated for their snacks between meals each week, you will buy that on Monday, put it in the snack drawer/place and then basically they have the rest of the week to allocate that accordingly? Or put them in charge of healthy top up shops (though admittedly if I was given that duty at that age it would have been crisps all round)

MoChan Tue 21-Jun-11 13:28:02

My DD and DSC are given three meals a day and are allowed occasional snacks, depending on the time of day/what time they had breakfast, etc.

Apart from these times, if they say they are hungry, then it's basically fruit, though I might be pushed to a rice cake with butter. I think toast is a bad habit to get into, so I don't generally allow that other than at meals, either.

I think one has to allow for growth spurts in children. There are times when my daughter seems desperately, painfully hungry all day, and it generally does happen just before she suddenly seems to shoot up a couple of inches.. however, if they are heavier than they should be, I see no reason not to limit their access to food. I have occasionally seen my DSD get a lot heavier in a short space of time (eg, when on holiday, too much ice-cream, etc) and it's clear to me how much she can eat before it's too much and she gains weight.

I would set a fairly strict limit on the amount of food they are allowed between meals, and which kinds. The right kind of activity helps too; I find all our children are suddenly hungrier when they are watching television! Another reason for limiting it, as far as I'm concerned... when they're playing out they seem to forget about eating altogether.

If they are doing sport, etc, then their hunger is likely to be genuine, I suppose, but in my experience, the fact that they are doing sports keeps their weight in control anyway.

bigTillyMint Tue 21-Jun-11 13:28:30

I agree museli is not good if you have a massive bowl blush Porridge is much better, but would they eat it?!

Do they feel they are getting porky?

bigTillyMint Tue 21-Jun-11 13:29:29

Mine don't say they are hungry at other times - maybe their meals aren't big enough?

Ormirian Tue 21-Jun-11 13:30:39

dinky - i think that is the way to go. Get them on side. I've always explained things to them and tried to get them involved in whatever is going on in the household - problem is they have got into the habit of eating all the time and it's going to take a lot to get them to see they don't need to. But it's got to be best solution.

I didn't really mind when they were smaller as they were all as skinny as rakes and the snacking was moderate.

MoChan Tue 21-Jun-11 13:31:12

Have you thought about cutting out the puddings? We don't really have them. Partly because I don't have a sweet tooth grin but also because I think that puddings every day (twice a day, if they are on school lunches) is a bad habit to get into. We only have them occasionally, though they are allowed sweets/biscuits sometimes as a snack.

ZZZenAgain Tue 21-Jun-11 13:32:18

think it might be more of a habit than actually feeling hungry. Could you eat earlier in the evening?

I don't know at 12 and 14 if you have much influence over them (scared of puberty emoticon) but could you try and convince them to have a glass of water before they snack? Maybe that is all they need.

Tuggy Tue 21-Jun-11 13:33:21

Cheese is one of the worst foods it is SO fatty and you only need a small amount to have a big extra daily calorie intake.

Only buy what you want to buy, and then say NO snacking at all (except some carrot sticks or apples) and 3 good meals.

They will feel hungry and whine at the start but your stomach adjusts and you get used to it

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Tue 21-Jun-11 13:35:28

I wouldn't be buying cake and ice cream as a regular dessert- that is junk food- if you are concerned about their weight. I'd get it as a once a week treat. I'd also stop buying so much cheese - when it's gone it's gone. Once you've done that you need to get them busy/moving. If they're sitting around they will eat more out of boredom/habit. Do they do lots of after school stuff? I wouldn't start restricting food as a first step.

BurningBridges Tue 21-Jun-11 13:40:39

My DDs are younger so don't need as much food as 12 and 14 year olds, DD2 is under dietician and we have been told 1 or 2 snacks per day plus meals that's it, in fact she said I'd been allowing too much fruit! And that meals might need to be a little bigger or more vegetables etc. But even though yours are older that still sounds like alot of food. How many calories etc does a child that age/size need per day?

DilysPrice Tue 21-Jun-11 13:43:20

I'd cut out the cheese completely. Slice of wholemeal toast with a tiny bit of butter and marmite or carrot sticks or an apple will refuel them without being too calorie dense or too moreish - the problem is that some snacks will just keep you eating.

Agree that porridge is a good tactic for breakfast - if they won't eat that then look very carefully at the labels of the cereals they will eat.

My DS isn't slimming down appropriately as he grows taller, and I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and ditch his much loved crunchy nut clusters - delicious and full of nutrients but just too calorie dense - and switch them for weetabix (fortunately he does like that too).

LetThereBeCake Tue 21-Jun-11 13:44:05

I'd stop buying cheese. If you need it for a particular recipe one week, get the amount you need and stick a post-it note on it saying what it's for.

I ate too much cheese as a teenager and it's still stuck around my middle smile

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