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DS taking food

(22 Posts)
ForFrithsSake Thu 28-Mar-19 11:09:19


My 9yo DS has been taking food without asking. I'm not sure how much or how often. As far as I know it's usually fairly harmless stuff like a handful of raisins when he's passing the jar, a sneaky corner of chocolate, cherry tomatoes from the fridge...

But this morning his little sister told me that she caught him eating sweets in bed at 5am. I asked him about it and he denied it. I didn't really believe him and went up to his room. Lifted the pillow and found a little pile of sweet wrappers. I asked him again and he admitted he'd taken a little bag of sweets this morning because he'd woken up STARVING (so much so his tummy was hurting). He insisted the other wrappers were innocent - taken out of his pockets after being allowed a sweet after tea.

I had a little chat to him about how it isn't ok to eat sweets in bed, isn't ok to lie and isn't ok to sneakily help himself to sweets that are supposed to be shared. He got really upset.

I don't know how to deal with this. I wouldn't worry so much, but he's becoming chubby around the waist and I don't think this is really an isolated incident.

In terms of meals and openly consumed snacks he eats almost exactly the same as his sister, who is 3 years younger and really skinny. He doesn't seem to have an off switch though and has been known to make himself ill from over-eating.

The sweets he helped himself to last night were leftover from Christmas. Whenever DC are given sweets (Christmas, Easter, parties, Halloween etc.) we put them in a tin and they share them - usually allowing them to choose something each after tea. I'm not controlling or obsessive about foods. We usually have biscuits or crisps in the house. They are allowed a biscuit or 2 if someone pops round for a cuppa and get crisps a few times a week in their packed lunches.

I thought that allowing treats to be a normal part of life was the best approach, but now I'm not so sure.

Any suggestions or advice?

OP’s posts: |
typoqueen Fri 29-Mar-19 11:21:30

My son went through a stage of this too, i would find chocolate, sweet and biscuite wrappers stuffed everywhere, we had fruit and rasisins that the kids could help themselves to whenever they wanted a snack, so the simple thing i did was not to have sweets, biscuits or chocolate in the house, they got their sweets on a friday after school and a treat mid week.

ForFrithsSake Fri 29-Mar-19 14:40:44

Hmm yes, I might just have to remove all treats. The thing is pretty much all of them are given to the DC by other people - parties, school, Christmas etc. And I can't get rid of things like raisins and sugar?! He ate the contents of the sugar bowl 2 nights ago!

I know lots of kids go through phases of raiding the cupboards for snacks. I did as a young teenager, but it would never have occurred to me to do it in the middle of the night!

OP’s posts: |
surreygirl1987 Fri 29-Mar-19 20:02:36

I actually used to do this myself when I was an early teen. The only thing that would have worked for me would be not having it in the house.

TigerQuoll Fri 29-Mar-19 20:48:30

I sometimes wake in the night after a bad dream and the only way to shake it off so I don't dream about the same thing when I go back to sleep is to get up and have a walk around, and eat and drink something. I usually go for milk and a slice of bread or a biscuit. Maybe your DS is the same. Can you have something that he is allowed to have in those circumstances, like some extra milk and dry boring crackers?

Goldmandra Fri 29-Mar-19 21:48:18

It sounds like this may originate in hunger. Could you encourage him to eat larger meals? Maybe more low GI food so he takes longer to get hungry?

HennyPennyHorror Mon 01-Apr-19 07:08:37

I agree that he sounds hungry. You say he's getting bigger around his waist but do you know his height and weight? So you can work out if he's within healthy boundaries?

ForFrithsSake Mon 01-Apr-19 10:46:11

Thanks everyone, he says nothing is worrying him or keeping him awake. He just is starving to the point his stomach hurts and he can't get back to sleep without eating something. It's not every night, maybe 4 or 5 times over the past couple of weeks I think.

It could be that he's due a pre-teenage growth spurt. He does tend to look chubbier for a while then shoot up in height. I honestly don't think he can be genuinely hungry though. He eats really well and doesn't really seem to have an off-switch when it comes to food.

I think I will tell him to try having a glass of milk if he really needs something in the middle of the night. He eats dinner at about half 5 or 6, so I might offer him some nuts or an oaty biscuit before bed... I just feel that, by looking at him, he certainly doesn't need more to eat!

He's definitely chubby around the middle. He's on the shorter side of average in his year 5 class, not 10 until end of July but his 9-10 school trousers are too snug round the waist. He's not naturally sporty or active.

OP’s posts: |
HennyPennyHorror Mon 01-Apr-19 12:34:27

What is he eating for lunch and dinner?

ForFrithsSake Mon 01-Apr-19 12:59:04

Eeek, I'm scared you're going to judge me and say he has a terrible diet!...
A typical day might be:

Plain full fat yoghurt with fruit and honey or a handful of granola on top
Piece of toast or a crumpet with butter and Marmite

Peanut butter or cheese and chutney sandwich
Cucumber, olives or tomatoes
Apple or dried apricots
Crisps or cereal bar

Sweet potato mash
Bean burger
Peas and carrots
Pasta with tomato sauce and grated cheese
Pitta with hummus, felafel and salad
Scrambled eggs, potato waffles and sweetcorn

After dinner he usually has some kind of pudding. Could be yoghurt or a sweet treat (small choc bar, mini bag of Haribo, small slice of cake, etc.) and sometimes some fruit.

OP’s posts: |
LuciaLuciaLucia Tue 02-Apr-19 14:27:02

Does he eat some meat? Do you OP?
My 7 yo would be starving on this. Having said that - every child is different.

ForFrithsSake Tue 02-Apr-19 15:11:46

What does you 7yo eat Lucia?

None of us eat meat. But we eat plenty of full fat dairy, eggs and beans / pulses and plenty of carbs. He's honestly quite tubby round the middle, to the point that I was really thinking I should try and cut down what he's having rather than add more...

OP’s posts: |
HennyPennyHorror Tue 02-Apr-19 15:15:13

So he seems low on protein OP. That's why he's hungry. If he has eggs on some days but not others, he will be starving. Can he have cheese? I agree you need to offer nuts too.

ForFrithsSake Tue 02-Apr-19 15:43:30

Do your DC eat more protein than this though? I'm not being difficult, just trying to understand.

I've had a quick google and the recommended protein intake for 9 to 13 year olds seems to be about 34g. The below list takes him to 39, and doesn't include extra protein he's getting every day in things like butter, cereals, other vegs etc.

yoghurt 8g
peanut butter sandwich 10g
cereal bar 3g
bean burger 7g
peas 3g
yoghurt 8g

OP’s posts: |
ForFrithsSake Tue 02-Apr-19 15:44:21

He has cheese every day Henny, and nuts in some form most days too. Eggs a couple of times a week.

OP’s posts: |
LuciaLuciaLucia Thu 04-Apr-19 07:24:35

Sorry if that came across as vegetarian unfrendly- that sure wasnt my intention.
My 7yo:

As you probably see im forringrin


10.00 snack
Yoghurt/sandwitch 2slices of bread 2pcs of ham + small apple/ 1/2 orange

1.00 lunch
Meat + potatoes (main meal prepared by school)

15,45 After school snack
Carrots stick hummus crackers

18.30 Dinner
Pasta/fish/pankakes/eggy bread

Plenty of water inbetween. Drinks too much squash. Sweets probably 3-4 times in a week.

I know is not a done thing in Uk - snacking inbetween main meals, but this was I straggeled most foodwise with.

So maybee a 2. evening meal, something small?
What does he say in the evening, is he hungry?

ForFrithsSake Fri 05-Apr-19 12:11:44

Not at all Lucia. I suppose I feel a bit defensive about choosing a vegetarian diet for my children!

Your son's morning snack is about the same as my son's packed lunch! But apart from that it doesn't look that different.

My DS has a larger breakfast and has some kind of pudding (usually yoghurt but sometimes cake or a sweet). He often eats the fruit from his packed lunch as a morning or afternoon snack.

He doesn't often say he's hungry after dinner.

I found more evidence of secret snacking hidden in his bedroom again yesterday sad

OP’s posts: |
surreygirl1987 Sat 06-Apr-19 20:01:11

Are you sure it's only early in the morning that he does this? If he eats some of this stuff in the evening or at bedtime, that would likely be the cause of him waking up starving early next morning (binging on sugary snacks late makes you feel ravenous next morning!). I wonder if it's comfort eating. Also, if it's mostly sugary things remember that sugar is actually very addictive.

ForFrithsSake Mon 08-Apr-19 09:43:06

As far as I know he doesn't eat anything after his dinner. He usually finishes dinner at about 6 then goes up to bed at half 7 or so, so not much time for snacking. Even if he did sneak something it could only be a little sweet or a handful of raisins - I don't think that would count as binging on sugar?

According to him, it's only in the night / early hours that he's taken the food, but of course I can't be sure of that!

OP’s posts: |
user1496701154 Sat 13-Apr-19 20:05:59

Sorry by age of one a child needs 3 meals a day and 1 to 3 snacks . My 20 months old eats more. It's sounds like you need to incorporate healthy snacks into babes diet. Obviously sweet and everything are fine in moderation otherwise kids will act out and overindulge if not offered.

ForFrithsSake Mon 15-Apr-19 10:21:12

user1496701154 Have you replied on the wrong post by mistake? My DS is 9 years old and has 3 meals a day, plus some snacks. I would be very surprised if a 20 month old eats more than he does!

On a weekend he doesn't have a morning snack but he usually has a 3 course breakfast - yoghurt with cereal/fruit and a crumpet early on then a piece of toast and chocolate spread or jam later on when I have my breakfast. He will usually have a couple of biscuits or a piece of cake in the afternoon.

On school days he usually has a piece of fruit or veg from his lunchbox for a morning snack. And when he gets home from school he usually finishes off anything left in his lunchbox as he rarely eats it all - wants to finish fast and get out to play.

I will say again, he's not underfed or underweight, quite the opposite!

OP’s posts: |
LuciaLuciaLucia Wed 01-May-19 09:21:35

Hi OP how are you and your son getting on?
Could it be something emotional? Some trigger from school?

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