This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
My child is a greedy pig. Is it my fault?(178 Posts)
My 10 year old child is eating us out of house and home. I have always had a relaxed attitude to food but think I need to rethink now. 12 year old is great, just has his meals plus 1 bag of crisps per day, 1 penguin, plenty of fruit. Today 10 year old has eaten cereal for breakfast, tuns sandwich for lunch. Sausage, mash and vegetables for tea. Then while I have not been watching, 2 bags of monster munch, 4 lollipops that I had saved for Halloween, 3 ice lollies, 1 entire punnet of strawberries, 2 trios, 2 sausage rolls. 2 apples. About 6 crackers with butter. Then went to bed complaining they were hungry. This is not normal is it? They are actually skinny. Am I right in thinking they will overweight be soon if I don’t stop this?
If they are skinny, leave them to it. Do not give them issues with food. If they're skinny then they're clearly eating the right amount, and if you restrict it they'll end up binging when they get the chance to have more food. They're growing children, when i was 10 I was constantly hungry too.
Give them fruit, veggie sticks, crackers and cheese etc but dont let them have the piles of crisps and sweets.
I dont see anything wrong with having a snack, but dont let them get in the habit of the crisps and sweets.
If they’re skinny then I would just stop buying junk and give them access to healthy snacks. A packet of crisps and chocolate every day for the 12 year old isn’t exactly healthy either.
Also, if their portions at meal times aren't too big, then these snacks aren't really too high in calories so are probably just getting them to the right amount everyday.
I’d say a growth spurt is imminent. I’d stop having junk in the house, increase their portions and add lots of fruit and veg to their meals and snacks. Also make sure they’re active enough.
There's no problem with a skinny child eating a lot. Mine were just like that. Just provide lots of healthy snacks and limit the junk.
Get rid of all the crap.
Aside from it possibly leading to being overweight...its not healthy to constantly graze through the day like that.
Its terrible for blood sugar levels.
I would do what I could to stop it. Especially the eating in secret/taking things when you're not looking.
It's a bad road to go down.
I work with some children who have emotional attachment to food and it causes so many problems. I'm not saying your child does do this!!
But unhealthy eating patterns often turn into many other issues. And it often 'just happens' no underlying emotional issues...just a bad habits that gets out of hand,its definitely an issue if you've noticed it.
My 15 year old DS eats a huge amount of food. He buy snacks on the way to school, has food at recess, then a cooked lunch, then he buys sweets on the way home, cereal when he gets home, then he has 2 dinners (double what DH and I have) then he'll invariably have snacks in the evening.
He weighs 45 kg.
If your DS is skinny, leave him alone. He won't suddenly become obese overnight. It's not greed if he's not overweight,.
And yes as a pp said..increase the portions of their healthy meals and add in more fruit/veg snacks if they are still hungry.
It's not greed if he's not overweight this isn't true. Of course you can be greedy but not overweight
Are they bored? I know mine always tend to snack more in the holidays, especially when the weather is rotten and they can't do much. Presumably on a school day your child doesn't eat this many snacks so they probably don't really need them.
I would agree with the suggestion that you buy less of things like crisps and lollies and offer healthier snacks. Also maybe try increasing portion sizes at main meals abit more if you do think they are genuinely hungry. I think its better to eat more "real" food than to be snacking a lot.
What a lovely way to describe your child. What a lucky kid to.have you ad their greatest advocate
My 14yo DD went on food rampage over lockdown and really chunked out, then almost all of a sudden she grew about 5 inches. It was so fast I could almost see her growing! She’s now very slim again though now has a more womanly shape and we’ve had to buy her a whole new set of clothes. Shes also lost her voracious appetite and is back to normal eating again. We joke now about her ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’ phase. I doubt there’s much to worry about. He’s in the zone for a major growth spurt - just focus on healthy snacks to support all that growing he may be about to do.
I have a huge appetite and I am tiny. My ds 15 is like a bottomless pit especially when he’s having a growth spurt. Increase meal portion size plenty of healthy snacks
You’re SKINNY child has a big appetite and you think you should give them less food in case they start gaining weight?
Do you mean “skinny” or “healthy weight”? And by “greedy pig” I’m guessing you just mean “hungry and snacking on the tasty, easily available junk”..... Your post does make it sound like you’ve an issue with food.
Breakfast - maybe cereal AND toast (ie not just cereal). I guess ideally boiled egg or similar protein.
Lunch - tuna sandwich(es) AND fruit, yoghurt, veg sticks.
Snack - fruit, nuts, hummus, cheese, yoghurt, bagel, toast...
Dinner - a bigger portion!
I don't think it's fair to call your child a greedy pig. If the child had eyes bigger than their stomach, had overstuffed with junk food and was then horribly sick later on, I think you could probably make a case for greed. As it is, your child seems genuinely hungry. They're not zeroing in on certain food types, just eating whatever is available.
You don't say if the amount of food consumed today is typical for your child or an aberration. If it's a once off, well, maybe they were just having a hungry day. It happens. I was bloody ravenous sometimes as a kid.
If this is becoming a pattern though, it might be worth looking into. It could be that there is just an intense growth spurt on the horizon, or puberty approaching, but it might also be a sign that there's something else going on and your child isn't getting the nutrients they need from their food. There could be a digestive or metabolic issue, or even something hormonal playing havoc with their blood sugar regulation. You just don't know.
If I were you I would keep kiddo away from unhealthy snacks, but allow them to eat healthy ones when they seem to be hungry. Particularly protein based snacks, or ones high in fibre, which are more filling. Keep a food diary for a little while - but do it unobtrusively. The last thing you want is to give the child a complex.If the pattern of disproportionate appetite continues, seek medical advice.
Of course, there is also the outside chance that kiddo has taken all this food but not actually eaten it. Is there any chance it could have been stashed away, or shared with a sibling or friend?
I didn’t know you could still get trios
Your post does make it sound like you’ve an issue with food
I dont think that's the case at all op,especially since you said you always had a relaxed attitude towards food. ..and are only now rethinking that.
Plus you've also noticed a difference. It just shows you're paying attention to your child.
It's most likely almost all of the above as pps have said...growth spurt due...boredom etc.
My only concern would be the fact hes taking food when you're not looking,rather than just asking for it.
Middleclassproblem I did not either until I remembered the advert a few weeks ago on a nostalgia session. Kids are loving them (too much obviously).
I'd echo what other posters have said about a growth spurt. It's very noticeable when it happens to DS - his appetite goes mad to the extent he'll eat more than DH (who is ravenous after going to the gym - DH is not overweight just active).
At your DS's weight I'd be less concerned by how much he's eating rather that what he's eating.
He obviously has access to a lot of unhealthy snacks so I'd look at reducing that but otherwise increasing meal sizes.
So for example "expand" breakfast from just cereal to that plus wholewheat toast and some fruit or a smoothie.
Rather than just a tuna sandwich for lunch I'd try and supplement the sandwich with a big bowl of veg soup (easy and cheap to make in bulk and freezes well so you can just portion up and reheat with no fuss) etc
I'd also look at "more filling" fruit. DS can eat strawberries and they don't touch the sides but bananas especially seem more filling.
I regularly make Nigellas breakfast bars (really easy to make in bulk and they store beautifully - you can also vary the recipe to change the nut/fruit combo).
I'm not claiming they are super healthy but they are much better than crisps biscuits and more filling (plus they are also cheaper than copious biscuits/crisps) I keep them in a tub and DS can help himself to one if he's peckish.
Cut up a load of peppers, cucumber, carrots etc and keep in tupperware in the fridge. Offer as snacks when hungry. Stop keeping junk in the house.
You very carefully don't state the sex of the younger child. If they're female then not only a growth spurt could be imminent but onset of puberty.
My Dd was like this to a point just before she reached that point, then when it hit she had a massive height spurt and then returned to her normal eating level which was actually a problem as it edged her into underweight and I had to work really hard to get her to consume enough cals.
Her weight is partly due to her disability too though, which was undx at this age.
She's prone to seeing food as a necessary evil rather than something to be enjoyed which is a bit odd as her dad and I both love our food (though he was a fussy bugger when I met him - whole other thread really but parental issues a factor)
If their weight is ok, they're active, then I would
Improve the meals and portions - a bowl of cereal and tuna sandwich are not sufficient through the day if they are as I suspect the British basic versions. Plus most cereals and milk are high in sugar and while I'm no "carbs are evil" poster it's not healthy to have carbs as the main nutrient in the first meal of the day.
Reduce the less healthy foods in the house and/or make them less easy to access, I don't mean in a pointed way, just in a make the healthier stuff easier to grab, more appealing etc
Encourage spreading calorie intake across the day not mostly in the afternoon/early evening
Are they drinking enough? A common occurrence as many dieters will tell you they've learned is mistaking thirst for hunger. Many of us don't drink as much as we should (I'm guilty of this myself over all my life! Even now I'm very aware of it I can still have days where I develop a dehydration headache and then - d'oh! - realise it's 6pm and I've had one small drink all day! Did it this weekend. Stupid but easily done)
Are they bored/stressed/anxious/depressed? Mood can make a huge impact on eating habits.
It's been a bloody tough year for many and food is one of the few pleasurable things we can enjoy without having to consider covid rules and logistics!
So give them a break and help them develop a healthy relationship with food.
Thank you so much for your advice everyone. Child has been complaining of aching behind their knees last few days so may be a growth spurt.
Oh that's definitely a growth spurt. I see this a lot in the kids I treat. Always pains in legs /lower back before a stretch. A lot get headaches too.
Please login first.