Toddler obsessed with food - always hungry!!

(42 Posts)
GlummyMummy Mon 22-Feb-16 19:07:23

My 20 month old daughter has always had a good appetite but recently she seems to have become totally obsessed with food and constantly hungry from waking up to going to bed!

It's becoming embarrassing as when we go out to people's houses she steals food from other kids, eats up all the leftovers on people's plates/the floor at toddler playgroups and shouts constantly for food. It's got to the stage that we can't eat in front of her and I have to hide in another room to eat something!

She is a very tall child but I'm concerned that she's going to become seriously overweight!!!

Anyone encountered this and have any advice?

TurnOffTheTv Mon 22-Feb-16 19:08:43

What's a typical day? Is she drinking enough?

GlummyMummy Mon 22-Feb-16 19:22:07

She doesn't drink as much as I would like, always been a bit of an issue to be honest and probably part of the problem with the eating.

Her typical day would be

8am - breakfast - piece of toast and one weetabix with milk
10am - snack - usually toast, rice cakes or something similar
11.30 - lunch - beans on toast, pizza, omelette etc followed by a yoghurt
2pm - snack - usually a toddler cake bar or bag of toddler crisp snacks
5pm - tea - varies but usually fish pie, pasta and sauce, mince, chicken wrap, omelette, followed by a pancake and fruit
6.30 - milk before bed, usually 5-6oz

She has water throughout the day but not in huge volumes. The afternoons seem to be worse, she would shout for cake all afternoon given the chance, but if I offer fruit or raisins etc she throws them on the floor!

winchester1 Mon 22-Feb-16 19:30:00

Honestly that isn't loads of food for her age esp if she is tall. Is she over weight or taller than expected given you and her dads heights? At least it less than my two toddlers eat and they aren't overweight or esp tall.

At that age mine could understand there's no cake, its this (normally lunch leftovers) or nothing so I'd stick with saying no to constant treats. Try to delay snacks by distracting and we just have to do x and y first and then sit down together and have a proper snack like an egg on toast or cold pasta and a lump or cucumber type things.

ecuse Mon 22-Feb-16 19:38:31

Maybe try giving her main meal at lunchtime? Sound like lots of carbs and during the day. Perhaps more protein and fat at lunch to fill her up? I don't think that sounds too much in itself, but I guess if she's constantly clamoring for more on top it could be a pain. It could just be a growth sport. Both my kids go through phases where their hungrier or less hungry.

winchester1 Mon 22-Feb-16 19:42:51

I should explain, I'm suggesting additional snacks say at 1500 and 1800. Mine have a cooked lunch in nursery at 1130 and a second cooked lunch at 1430 at home. The little one eats again at 1530, then dinner and porridge for supper, then milk and bed at 1800. Afternoons are a hungry time!

Twistedheartache Mon 22-Feb-16 20:07:20

My 16 month old has been like this all weekend. She toddles off to kitchen & points & shouts. Assume it's a growth spurt coz she's had seconds for both lunch & tea at nursery today & she's drinking a bit too much milk still too.
I would say mine eats more than yours but no bread coz it upsets her stomach.
I would stay consistent with mealtimes & snack times and see how it goes - if she's literally screaming for food and can't be distracted she's probably really hungry

GlummyMummy Mon 22-Feb-16 21:19:00

Thanks everyone- really useful.
Winchester1- she's very tall for her age according to the charts but we are both tall. She isn't overweight at all - a 'solid' build though, shall we say :-). I have been firm with not giving her treats, it's just really wearing as she has taking to literally chanting "cake cake cake..." And if we're out at toddlers or a play date, she'll eat other kids' leavings off the floor so constant vigilance is necessary (to be honest, I've caught her scavenging in playgroup bins!) I am trying healthier snacks which she rejects, so maybe that suggests she isn't actually starving?

Ecuse- will give that a go, thanks. Any inspired protein-rich toddler-friendly meal ideas that worked for you?

Twistedheartache- the pointing and shouting sounds familiar! :-) it's not even just that- she's hoovering up food, shovelling great handfuls down her gullet in seconds. Trying to teach her basic table manners is proving hard!

Twistedheartache Mon 22-Feb-16 22:09:33

Table manners will come as long as she sees you eating nicely etc - she's only little still. We've had class letters home from reception teacher last term reminding parents that children are expected to use cutlery for school lunch so could they please teach them so you've got a while yet! I have to admit DD1 was in nursery ft from just under a year so she learnt to sit nicely/share/eat properly there. I think it's easier when they are all doing it together.

The shovelling handfuls in as quickly as possible is v familiar here - especially pasta. The screaming while it cools down is epic - dread to think what the neighbours think.

skankingpiglet Mon 22-Feb-16 22:48:03

I have a 20mo too who regularly matches my daily food intake. She's average height and weight. What you describe yours as having is a similar meal set up as mine has on her normal days (although you don't mention quantity, just range) less the cake, and she is also known for polishing off any snack another child has abandoned (or not, on occasion). She's packed food away since she was 9 or 10mo and really got the hang of successfully getting the food into her mouth. I find a good protein-rich addition to breakfast/snacks are nut butters; she particularly likes cashew butter and would eat it straight from the jar if allowed.
I was also worried I was over feeding her as she eats so much in comparison to her little friends, so I took her to the HV for weighing and advice. They weren't concerned at all and told me to keep feeding to her appetite.

waitingforsomething Tue 23-Feb-16 10:40:29

My dd was permanently hungry from weaning to about 2 and a half. I use to worry all the time but she is now 3 and a half and exceptionally tall and pretty skinny. She eats much less than she did at 20 months now.
They are doing some serious growing- her diet looks sensible and not too much, just let her eat. As long as it's not sugar filled crap all the time she will take what she needs and won't get overweight.

QueenJuggler Tue 23-Feb-16 10:50:19

Too many carbs, not enough protein, no wonder she's so hungry.

squidgyapple Tue 23-Feb-16 11:27:20

are you a dietician QueenJuggler?

MattDillonsPants Tue 23-Feb-16 12:14:44

Squidgy even a non dietician can see that it's too many carbs...not the OP's fault. Not everyone has much of an interest in food and diet...for many parents it's only when we have DC that these things even become an issue.

OP I agree that it's not a massive amount of unhealthy food or anything but you perhaps do need to look at swapping the snacks for something healthier and less processed.

Instead of cake bars or toddler crisps, offer a few pieces of cut up fruit and a square or two of cheese. Other snacks which aren't carby like bread and crackers could include carrot batons with peanut butter...apple slices, a banana either cut up or whole.

QueenJuggler Tue 23-Feb-16 12:15:02

You don't have to be a dietician to understand that protein is "filling" and carbs aren't. Just someone with a very basic understanding of what constitutes a balanced diet. It's also a diet that looks very light on vegetables (and fruit although OP has explained about the fruit-loathing), so I'd be worried about lack of essential vitamins.

IME, toddlers LOVE carbs. Lots of them. So its easy to get stuck in a vicious cycle of carbs, carbs and carbs, which, again, IME, leads to constant hunger and poor behaviour.

OP - would she eat things like breaded chicken goujons, or salmon fillets? My DD loved things like that with a vegetable dip.

QueenJuggler Tue 23-Feb-16 12:16:17

And be prepared for lots of food to end up on the floor until she learns that you're not going to give in and give her carby snacks.

squidgyapple Tue 23-Feb-16 12:40:15

Well to me it looks like a pretty healthy diet - last time I looked fish, eggs, beans, chicken and mince were all protein based foods.

Agree it would, in an ideal world, be good to have more veg and fruit and try to steer her away from cake but I don't think OP should be seriously worried about vitamin deficiency.

We can't see what the portion sizes over the internet - for all we know they may be too small.

Artandco Tue 23-Feb-16 12:54:50

I would up the protein also

Breakfast would be main one to include protein so she isnt so hungry mid morning at groups

Toast - add mashed avocado, houmous, nut butters, philidephia or similar

Weetabix - wheat isn't as long lasting filling wise. Try porridge as oats better as slow releasing energy. If she really like the weetabix try swapping for oatibix. Tastes and looks virtually the same, but it based obviously.

Snack wise rice cakes are pointless. They have virtually no calories or nutrition in so just distract her hunger wise but don't fill. Again swapping for something like oat biscuits would make a huge difference. Can add raw veg and dips or chunks of cheese or similar.

Also maybe suggest you change meal times around a bit. She basically has all here meals between 8am and 5pm, so only 9hours to fit all her calories in one day in, then 15 hrs of no food until the next morning. So maybe she is very hungry by the next morning.
I would try moving dinner back to 6-6.30pm. And making snack mid afternoon more substantial if needed.

QueenJuggler Tue 23-Feb-16 12:57:49

She's not having all of those every day. If she has pizza for lunch and pasta and sauce for dinner, that's very little protein.

TBH, I think many people in the country lack any real understanding of how much protein and vegetable should form part of a balanced diet, and massively overestimate how many carbs are needed.

QueenJuggler Tue 23-Feb-16 13:03:26

Which potentially might also explain our rising obesity problem. People demonise fats, but its often carbs that are the dietary culprit.

seefeld Tue 23-Feb-16 13:06:52

How about an egg at breakfast? My DS is a similar age and loves a soft boiled egg and soldiers or scrambled egg or omelette (I add grated courgette and a little cheese). Or if you're short on time in the mornings you could try a mashed up hard boiled egg on toast instead.

QueenJuggler Tue 23-Feb-16 13:21:59

Yup, I'd go with an egg at breakfast.

Avocado and smoked salmon is a winner in this house as well. Clearly my food bill is fatter than my waistline!

guiltynetter Tue 23-Feb-16 15:01:21

glummy mummy just to say I could have written your post to the letter! my DD is 19 months and for the past 4 or so weeks has seemed to be obsessed with food. she eats pretty much the same sorts of foods as what you've listed. this morning she finished her own breakfast and shouted for my plate, then ate a couple of crusts off it! me and my partner have also found ourselves hiding in the kitchen eating things. no real advice just to say you aren't alone.

QueenJuggler Tue 23-Feb-16 15:04:05

Cheese is a good filling snack - although I tend towards not allowing any snacks at all, really.

I always had some Babybels in my bag. Much nicer than raisins. I'm with your DD on raisins being the food of the devil. Or possible the turds of the devil. She has good taste smile

GlummyMummy Tue 23-Feb-16 19:30:42

Thanks everyone for your advice! surprised to have so many replies!! I guess it's a popular topic... :-)

I just wanted to clarify: when I say I give her pizza I mean some passata on a sandwich pocket, topped with sweetcorn, peppers and mushroom so she is getting plenty vegetables. Also, when I do pasta with sauce, I make the sauce with tomatoes, peppers and onion and she has tuna or salmon with it. Tonight she polished off some homemade mince with veg through it along with carrot and parsnip mash, and had beans on toast for lunch. She also likes homemade quiche with cherry tomatoes and broccoli through it, and a family favourite is baked sweet potatoes with spring onion and tuna on top.

I do often give babybels for a snack, and have tried lots of other healthy options such as carrot/cucumber sticks and dip. The trouble is she knows what she wants, so will just howl and cry for cake (a bit of Soreen or a Goodies Carrot Cake Bar) until I usually relent. No amount of distraction will work!

I will certainly continue to try to introduce more protein, though she's never been hugely keen on chicken or other meat. Anyone suggest any nice recipes that their toddlers have enjoyed? I know it's no excuse but I find it very hard to find time to prepare food for her. We are at a stage when she spends most of the time clinging to my legs like a monkey when I am in the kitchen, shouting for food and pulling open cupboards to see what she can raid!

Very comforting to hear I'm not alone....it's very embarrassing going out in public when it's your child raiding the bins, then shoveling food in her mouth haha! I frequently hear the refrain "Do you not feed that child or something?!?" Even when I avoid the sweet treats at playgroups, she will hunt them out! There's no flies on her, as they say!

Also, are others with kids of the same age still giving them milk at bedtime?

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