my DD is always hungry. always(45 Posts)
My DD is 2 and a little bit. She's lovely, happy, developing well but is always hungry. She eats almost everything, and I.try to give her generous while appropriate portions. She is not fat on the 91st for weight and just above 98th for height so a bit girl. I think she must say she's hungry every hour, and often if I say no you have just had lunch she will cry and cry saying she is hungry. Does.anyone else's child behave like this? I realise that I am lucky she eats well and I feed her a good range of proteins, carbs and fruit ans veg. Snacks are fruit or crackers, and she will have a smoothie for.a treat at the weekend. I am worried that she will develop poor habits and become overweight if she can't control her hunger a bit better.
Our toddler is the same, constantly snacking and eating big portions of food but I am not worried because at 2, they are growing, developing quickly and so active they probably need a constant supply of food to keep their energy levels up, 'want more' is the most popular saying in our house at the moment. Once she is having lots of wet nappies and regular dirty nappies I'm sure she is fine. There is plenty of time to develop a healthy attitude to food and portion size but at this age I wouldn't be trying to stop her eating if she is hungry.
What is her general daily intake? Do things like porridge and eggs etc keep her fuller for longer?
An example.would be
Breakfast a generous bowl of.shreddies, a few bites of toast.
Snack. Some crackers
Lunch spag bol, stew, meat balls, all served with carbs. this is served in a toddler bowl but is full
Snack. Whole banana, rice.cakes, sometimes an apple too if she is still asking
Dinner, scrambled egg and toast, chicken and tomato sanfwich with fruit.
She has a few oz of milk beginning and end of each day.
Nothing seems to fill her up longer although am open to suggestions!
I know its not too much, I don't think, but I wonder what I am doing wrong if she is always hungry. I am worried about bigger portions of food as she is only 2, she eats about half of what I do but I expect she wouls often eat more.
I'm not an expert. But just a thought - could she do with a bit more protein at breakfast and with her snacks, maybe?
They are growing as fast as teens at that age (proportionally). Give her healthy snacks whenever she is hungry (as long as "I'm hungry" doesn't mean "I'm bored/ lonely, payaattention to me"). Offer apples whole (peeled by whole if worried about choking) and similar stuff that's not sweet and is a bit of "work"to eat. Crackers might be a bit ppointless nutritionally and in terms of filling her up - maybe a babybel cheese instead? But I wouldn't say no to a hungry 2 year old as long as you've ruled out it being a catch all phrase when she wants attention - you could also insist she drinks some water before snacks in case she's mixing up thirst and hunger signals and thinks she's hungry when actually she's thirsty.
It doesn't sound as if she's eating too much at all though. It is good for children to eat when hungry, not to be taught to ignore hunger but eat full meals at set times when not actually hungry at all - as long as children are not fed much processed/ sugary foods they self regulate and react to hungry/ full cues until the adults in their lives well meaningless muck up their metabolism by attempting to regulate for them and making food a control issue.
Thanks all for advice. About her only fussy feature is that she won't eat cooked food in the morning so cereal and toast is all I can offer her. Today she had two weetabix and a small slice of toast for breakfast which seems massive to me but this is what she wanted!
Maybe some yoghurt in the mornings instead of the toast? Also make sure she isn't confusing thirst with hunger and give some water as a first option or an ice lolly (did this in summer tbf).
Maybe switch some of the crackers for celery/cherry tomatoes/carrot sticks/cucumber?
Mine are going through a gannet stage at the moment, my sympathies at this time of year when its crisp heaven!
My 3.5 year old says she is hungry when bored / wanting attention, so maybe try distraction sometimes? Or maybe just a growth spurt - amazing how much toddlers can sometimes eat in a day!
My DD is similar, same growth lines etc. Typical day for her:
Breakfast - half portion of fortified porridge, or a slice of toast & butter and a piece of fruit and a drink of milk.
Lunch - sandwich with protein, occasionally a few chips if we're out for lunch, some tomatoes etc & maybe some fruit.
Dinner - hot meal if lunch was cold & vice versa, so: 1 large slice toast & scrambled egg, or fish pie with broccoli, sausage & mash & peas, perhaps a sandwich, pasta bake etc.
Bedtime drink - about 200 to 250ml semi-skimmed milk.
All meals include protein in some form - even if only as a drink of milk or a piece of cheese on the side, or a boiled egg. Also, some fibre foods, like tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli, peas, baked beans, fruit etc. It keeps her full for longer.
She rarely snacks at home (rarely asks) even though they do at nursery. If she does, it would be a piece of fruit or a breadstick. She is a total livewire & constantly running around, not visibly overweight. She does have smoothies & juice occasionally, generally before or with a meal.
Sounds simple but is she drinking enough? Apparently hunger and thirst can be easily confused. And if possible, don't offer sugary drinks on their own as they will raise, then drop, her blood sugar, which causes hunger.
Yes to distraction - if she's hungry try playing a game or something. She won't expire if she doesn't eat for half an hour. If she's still complaining of hunger after that, and has had a drink, then get her something.
If you think she's asking for unhealthy foods a lot - offer only plain, healthy ones. Not crisps/chocolate/grapes. Grapes are ok in moderation, as part of a larger meall but very sugary on their own.
We have similar challenges with our son! Our doctor said that unfortunately just because they are high on the height as well as weight percentile doesn't necessarily mean they are all in proportion and meant to be that way - slightly overweight kids tend to grow very tall early on. They said the trick was to help him learn to hear and manage his hunger. We certainly don't have ds on any kind of diet, but we are fairly careful that our diet is nutritious and filling, and that our occasional treats (which are important too)! Are outside the house and never as any kind of reward. I also try to make sure that we eat as a family when possible, or at least one of the rest of us eat with him, so mealtime becomes a family occasion and because sometimes in the past we weren't the best role models ourselves
I second Lego's points about making sure she is drinking enough water and about protein, as well as fats and whole grain carbs.
Could you move the scrambled eggs to breakfast, or have something with some protein and fats like Greek yoghurt or cheese? Cereal can wear off pretty quickly! Ds also now has mostly wholegrain pasta, brown rice and quinoa and we've cut down a lot on bread as it never seemed to fill him up, and don't have milk as a drink unless the day has otherwise been low on dairy.
thanks all. I am confident that she doesn't eat sugary or high fat snacks or drinks on a normal day. Will see what I can do about protein for breakfast although she will not eat egg in the morning. Why is whole grain pasta and rice better at this age? I'm wary of cutting her milk out, she enjoys it and only drinks about 6oz a day.
My DD was similar at that age (apart from being down at the 25th centile for both height and weight) - I just couldn't fill her up, nursery were constantly amazed at how frequently she needed to eat, and there were some days when she would seriously eat as much as I did.
Now she is approaching 4 her natural appetite is dropping off a bit and she is eating more child-sized portions and is able to cope with being hungry for more than 30 seconds before a melt down happens.
I would suggest that whilst she remains in proportion follow her natural appetite and don't worry too much as it sounds like she has a well balanced diet.
She may be thirsty - the brain often misinterprets thirsty signals as hunger.
Make sure she drinks frequently.
Like others, I would absolutely suggest protein. A veggie meal does pretty much nothing for DS (3.10), and he's hungry half an hour later. I'm the same - fuelled by protein not carbs. I've also noticed that since moving him to brown rice/bread (a bit early, but he's been absolutely fine) he has held his appetite better
Also, yes, thirst. DS begged me for scrambled eggs on Sunday night, having had a huge roast for lunch and a sandwich with salad for supper. I gave him a cup of water 5 minutes before, which he downed, and then another, and then wouldn't touch the eggs and went to bed! I ate the eggs.
But now he's almost 4, he seems to eat less - more the portions I'd have imagined he'd have eaten at 2.5. I also make sure to fill up his plate with lots of veg: carrot, broccoli, courghette, tomato. I think he enjoys the sensation of eating and the different mouth-feels. When he's had a strong-tasting meal like salmon, he seems more satisfied.
Sorry, essay! Just my observations. I keep a close eye on him as I was an odd eater as a child (not enough protein, spent my childhood carbloading and not knowing why I was hungry, yet gaining weight!)
I wouldn't be concerned.
My 2yo ate the following today....
7.30am: Bowl of Cheerios with blueberries, Whole banana, Crepe style pancake, Advent choccy, 1/4 pint milk
10am: Fruit toast
12.30pm: Adults portion of Singapore noodles, pak choi, couple of king prawns, Chilli beef
3.00pm: Box of sultanas (kiddies box)
5.00pm: Spaghetti hoops in sauce, Toast, Petit filou
6.30pm: 1/4pt of milk
He's not fat, he is tall, he's happy and developing fine with great reports from nursery.
He often eats more than me, but he also burns ALOT more energy than me.
Blimey! How many carbs are there in that lot?! Hardly any protein and, no doubt, very little fat.
Carbs are what make you hungry - with this amount of carbohydrate your child's blood sugar levels will be shooting up and then crashing down, which is what makes them hungry.
They need to eat more fat and much more protein.
His diet changes day on day, this is just a snapshot of how much he will pack in.
My point being that I don't think that this volume of food is concerning.
I'm regularly advised of double or triple portions being eaten at nursery dinner time.
But my point is that if you're feeding that much carbohydrate then your child will be hungry, and will eat more. Which isn't great in the longer term.
I don't think you should worry and I don't think you should refuse to feed her if she's hungry. but I'd offer water and boring snacks.
mine ate a lot at that age, 4 weetabix for breakfast but she's three now and eats noticeably less.
as long as she's not fat, I wouldn't worry.
Biwi....i appreciate and understand your point re carbs, and agree.
His diet is not like this every day, he is not always hungry(!), he does not ask for food regularly, but he does enjoy it when available. He gets a varied balanced diet and he is perfectly healthy.
A one day snapshot of my child's diet is all I've given.
(Not sure if your confusing me with the original poster)
No - not confusing you! But the point/info is relevant to both of you. I gave you the link so that you could see it's not just me banging on (again!) about carbs, and so you can see that the day's food that you listed isn't great from the point of view of containing/controlling hunger.
Quite happy to believe that you give him other stuff on other days. But hope that the info is useful/helpful/insightful.
I'm conscious of hijacking this from the original post, but I'm also conscious that you've posted a link relating to adult nutrition from the perspective of a diabetic.
The advice in the guy's blog is fair and true (as far as my understanding goes) but would suggest where searching for answers on children's diet, that an article should be with this in mind.
(Not wanting to come across as argumentative here)
Based on my prev studies, growing kids needs about 50% carbs in their diet to ensure they get enough energy, but please (anyone reading) do your own research as these stats seem to be ever changing.
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