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AIBU to think my DDs don't need 2 dinners, even if they do extra curricular activities?

(60 Posts)
GraduallyGoingInsane Mon 27-May-13 14:32:09

I'm really hurt and a bit worried. My friend (and she is normally a good friend not a cruel or vindictive one, hence me asking the MN jury) said she thinks my DDs are too skinny and I don't feed them enough.

The background...
My DDs all do between 2 and 4 hours of dance or gymnastics on 4 weeknights, plus another 3 hours dance on a Saturday morning. This is their choice - they love it, and I'm happy to support it as long as the school work is done.

Generally I pick them up from school (DD4) or the bus stop (elder 3) between 4 and 4.30. They then have training from 5 until 8ish.

My friend commented that my girls are 'too skinny' and she isn't surprised given that I only feed them one evening meal despite all the activity. We lift share to ballet, so she knows what my DDs get. She feeds her DD twice - a 'packed tea' of sandwiches, crisps etc and the a proper hot dinner after dance.

I've always thought that a light snack was more than enough and any more would probably make them a bit sick when dancing or tumbling. If my DDs ever ask for food or mention they are hungry then of course they are offered something, but they rarely say they are hungry.

They all eat cereal, juice and chopped banana in the morning before school except DD2 who claims it makes her sick to eat early. She takes a cereal bar/belvita biscuit and a piece of fruit on the bus, which isn't great but she's 14 and it's a battle I'm tired of.

They have school dinners, so I'm never 100% what they have eaten but its usually sandwiches, soup, quiches etc from what they say. They always take a bottle of water and a piece of fruit in their bags and a sugary snack (kitkat, flapjack, twix type thing).

In the car they always have a banana or an apple and a carton of juice or chocolate milk. They take water with them.

After dance or gym they have a good tea - roast chicken and veg, grilled fish and salad, pasta and sauce, lasagne, chilli, casseroles, chicken with rice etc etc.

They get treats at least once a week - pizza, ice cream, cake etc but its not a regular thing. They rarely say they're hungry, and both DD2 and to a lesser extent DD3 are reluctant eaters at the best of times.

Surely this is enough? They are skinny things, but that's how they've always been, they're small in height too. Both my family and DH's have always been short and skinny.

So, after a long post, my question is, do I need to feed them more?! If so, what?

MissAnnersley Mon 27-May-13 14:34:19

Sounds fine to me.

Ragwort Mon 27-May-13 14:36:23

That sound a very good diet for anyone, let alone a child - plenty of variety, all the main food groups - what's not to like?

I have found that there are quite a few parents who regularly feed their children far too much to eat, whether misguided or to indulge them or whatever reasons. Lots of children are overweight but parents say they are well built yet their parents say ' they don't eat a thing' hmm - presumably your children could tell you if they are hungry? My own DB is like that with his own children who are porky, he often comments that my DS doesn't eat much, but he is healthy and very sporty, just doesn't over eat smile.

NotYoMomma Mon 27-May-13 14:38:48

Sounds fine but I'd be making sure.dd2 had her breakfast in the house, just because gymnasts/ dancers can be put under huge pressure to stay thin and skip meals

fubbsy Mon 27-May-13 14:39:24

That sounds like a balanced diet to me. As you say, they could ask for something if they were hungry. If you are happy and your dcs are happy, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

What prompted this friend to give you this unwanted 'advice'?

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 27-May-13 14:40:15

Mine would need a more substantial snack after school, but they would ask/say they were hungry. Generally I think if they're not complaining of hunger then they're probably ok.

Are they underweight though? If they are then maybe your friend has a point, if not then it's fine.

Pinkflipflop Mon 27-May-13 14:40:38

YANBU and I think you know that!

All sounds very healthy and nutritious, more than adequate for dd's.

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 14:44:06

do they eat their dinner ? if they do then it really isn't an issue , I would probably give them something before practise but if they are not hungry then I am sure they are ok. you know your dds best but your friend was a bit harsh but perhaps they do need something else especially if they are using energy up

ZZZenagain Mon 27-May-13 14:46:17

my dd would be hungry after school and not have much energy for 2-4 hours of dance without a bit more to eat and then not to eat anything much till after 8 would be a change for her. If it works for you and you are not worried about your girls, just take it in your stride.

It probably works out about the same as her dd has, just that your dds eat their food at different times of the day.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 27-May-13 14:53:53

children are all different. I know my DD who is 8 would need more of a packed lunch type thing than a snack if she had activities like your DDs....she's always hungry and is tall and skinny...she would then eat a meal afterwards but not ALL kids are the same and yours are not moaning they are hungry so trust your instincts.

3littlefrogs Mon 27-May-13 14:56:58

I would think most children would say if they were hungry.

Mine certainly would!

seeker Mon 27-May-13 14:59:19

Sounds fine to me. My ds needs more food than that before sport, but he is a bottomless pit. Ds has about the same.

GraduallyGoingInsane Mon 27-May-13 15:04:28

NotYoMama - I have my eye closely on DD2 as she's very fussy with food. She'd have to be very sneaky to be skipping the cereal bar breakfast as the wrappers almost always come back in her bag! I do make sure that she eats her snack and dinner though as I'm aware she's high risk for skipping meals.

My youngest is 10 so they can definitely all speak up if they were hungry and I've never refused them food (unless its 2 mins to dinner or something) so they know they would be offered something.

Fubbsy, I don't know where it came from - we were making arrangements for pick up as usual and she asked if I'd considered a packed tea for them as they 'must' be hungry. When I said I thought fruit was enough she said that she wasn't surprised they were so skinny. I didn't really respond as I was shocked and its prayed on my mind since.

They are all on the lower end of normal weight for their age and height, possibly officially 'underweight' but I've never particularly worried as the family tends to be that way.

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 15:05:30

I would think most children would say if they were hungry.

Mine certainly would!

they would say I agree with you,

op your dd are dancers and gymnasts they are going to be slim, the breakfast thing is frustrating my 15 yr old hates eating in the morning we have an agreement she has to try and eat a little on a school day

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 15:06:58

they 'must' be hungry. When I said I thought fruit was enough she said that she wasn't surprised they were so skinny. I didn't really respond as I was shocked and its prayed on my mind since.

people have no filter sometimes just open their mouth, you know your dds eating habits and as long as they are eating and not fussing about food then you have nothing to worry about

AnythingNotEverything Mon 27-May-13 15:09:42

I think she should mind her own business! You know your kids.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Mon 27-May-13 15:12:52

When I said I thought fruit was enough she said that she wasn't surprised they were so skinny

Is that all she said?

Because that isn't quite the same as said she thinks my DDs are too skinny and I don't feed them enough.

Perhaphs all she meant was if she or her children were to do that they'd be less chunky?

I wonder if maybe you are reading more into it than was intended.

If your children aren't hungry - they're eating enough smile Really, don't worry about it. Children should be a lot thinner than is the norm these days, you should be able to see their ribs etc. It is very easy to 'over-feed' children & lay down fat cells that will not be good for them as adults.

minniemagoo Mon 27-May-13 15:18:44

My 9yr old DD does massive hours for competitive gymnastics and does need 2 meals but each child is different. I actually worry she eats too much but she obviously burns it off as there isnt a pick on her. I'll reassess if I notice any weight gain or other complaints. Unless your kids tell you they are hungry or show signs like lack of energy I'd continue as you are.
She has a good breakfast (cereal, milk and fruit) before school, a packed lunch in school. She has a dinner after school @ 2.30 (today, pasta, chicken kiev, carrots and dough balls), she will have fruit and sandwich for middle of gym (4hrs) and soup or maybe veg and rice when she gets home.

Goldmandra Mon 27-May-13 15:19:15

If you have a 10 yo and a 14 yo who are eating a healthy, balanced diet and not worrying about food you are doing great. If they know they could have more if they wanted it you are doing your job.

If you think they may be underweight it may be worth checking because there could be implications of very low weight that you don't know about.

At this age the most important things is not to make food as issue. Someone I know has one DD who probably is underweight and, at 11, worries about eating too many calories and another who is bang on average but her mother considers her chubby. The mother cannot eat, or allow them to eat, a treat without going on about exercising to get it off later or warning them not to eat too much. It drives me mad but I've said as much as I can.

You seem to have a more more reasonable attitude so try to ignore your friend. You know how your children think about food and what you've described sounds pretty healthy to me.

FannyMcNally Mon 27-May-13 15:24:56

You say '2 dinners' but in our household a sandwich and a packet of crisps is a normal after-school snack. She probably only mentioned it because her children (and mine) would never survive on fruit between 12 and 8. We are all different, I personally hate cereal bars and chocolate bars and would prefer to give a sandwich but as others have said everyone is different. I wouldn't give it another thought.

kinkyfuckery Mon 27-May-13 15:25:00

I think it sounds like they are eating fine, healthy and balanced foods.

I have an 8 year old DD who has a very, very low weight for her age/height, and people feel it's much more acceptable to make comments, that they wouldn't necessarily if she were overweight!

GraduallyGoingInsane Mon 27-May-13 16:06:42

Chipping, perhaps I am reading too much into it, but she mentioned it a couple of times and kept saying 'too skinny' which caused my concern, particularly as she is generally a good supportive friend. To be fair, her DD isn't at all chubby, probably bang on average for her age, but a good few inches taller. In fact she's taller than DD1 who is 16 at only 13.

Goldmandra, they seem healthy as horses, certainly enough energy for everything - they rarely stop! DD1 did see the GP as her periods hadn't started by the time she turned 16 (they have now, thank goodness) but he never raised concerns over whether she's eating enough, despite her BMI being on the low end.

I feel reassured that they are ok now, thank you ladies. I suppose the fact that they are smaller may mean they need less than other taller children.

Justfornowitwilldo Mon 27-May-13 16:15:25

The only thing I'd do would check is that they're getting enough calcium and iron but I'd say that about any girls. Their diet sounds fine.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Mon 27-May-13 16:19:05

I'm glad you are reassured smile

frogspoon Mon 27-May-13 16:22:05

If they are not complaining of being hungry and they are growing and developing properly, then they are probably eating fine.

Everyone is different, her DD may just be a bigger eater and have a higher metabolism, particularly as you say she is tall, whereas your DDs are short. Or her DD may eat less at lunch.

Also her DDs "first dinner" is also just a large snack really, I wouldn't call it a dinner.

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