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Should I forget snacks to get her to eat more

(29 Posts)
Denmark Thu 30-Jun-05 11:43:41

I don't think my 17 mth old daughter is eating enough. She eats plenty for breakfast (2 weatabix w/milk) but it is very hard to get her to eat anything for lunch and dinner. She is a VERY VERY fussy eater and sometimes she will not eat anything except a few slices of apple etc. even food she likes and just to get to eat something before bedtime I offer weatabix and she will eat 2 hole, so I know she is hungry.
She is growing normally, her weight is average and she has plenty of energy and is very happy, she also sleep through from 19H00 until 06-07H00 without waking. I have tried to feed her in front of tv (bad idea i know), I am leaving differnt kinds of snack on the sofatable so she can help herself when she is playing (which she does but not enough)and most of the time I am having my lunch etc and the table with heras a family, she likes that alot and sometimes she will eat a lot, but most of the time just a little babybel, little bit of sausage etc.
So I was wondering if it to extreame to leave out any kind of snack, biscuits, apple, banana etc. and just offer her Breakfast, lunch and dinner and her milk ?

QueenOfQuotes Thu 30-Jun-05 11:45:44

It's a good idea to try - but be warned it doesn't work with them all.

I've tried that with both DS's at various times (both times we tried for just over 1 week) and both times they STILL didn't each much at meal times, and I just ended up with two miserable and grumpy boys.

I've also heard that it recommeneded that children have 4 'small' meals a day (which is apparently what's best for adults too!) so is it worth doing that???

lilaclotus Thu 30-Jun-05 11:46:42

i think as long as they are healthy snacks, it's fine.

expatinscotland Thu 30-Jun-05 11:49:51

My DD is a snacker. We tried to cut out the snacks to get her to eat more at mealtimes, but it didn't work so well. So she only gets 'healthy' snacks and if she refuses them then too bad, she just has to tantrum it out.

Our daughter is skinny like her dad as well - her dad weighs about 9 stone at 6ft and can't gain weight to save himself.

Snacks are carrot or celery sticks, cut up fresh fruit, raisins, Cheerio's, oatcakes with cheese, yogurt, toast strips with humus, etc.

Mum2girls Thu 30-Jun-05 11:50:05

IMO, in the main, stick to proper mealtimes, sat at a table, with you - no tv. Doesn't have to be miserable, but I think kids needs to be taught from an early age, that mealtimes are for just that. You say she eats a good brekfast, because she's hungry and just gone x hours without food - take your lead from that.

I offer a small snack dried fruit about midmorning - drinks when they ask - mine are 2yo and 4yo (altho not pop) and then nothing till lunch. I sit down with them and eat the same thing as they do. If they don't eat lunch, and it's a one-off, I don't mind - if they get into a cycle of refusing each time, they get some fruit for dessert and that's it till next meal time.

I probably sound draconian, but I firmly believe it's a discipline you have to teach.

lunachic Thu 30-Jun-05 11:55:36

works with my ds if he doesnt snack in afternoon he'll eat tea if he's snacked he will just pick even if its something he really likes
i keep try to keep snacks healthy so that if he has eaten them i know he has had something of value nutritionally
dont think its extreme to leave out snacks as it is rewarding seeing them hugrily finish their dinner and ask for more !! hunger can be positive for them too !

Seona1973 Thu 30-Jun-05 11:57:21

How much milk are you offering? From 1 year old the minimum recommended milk intake is 350mls (around 12 ounces) and this is inclusive of milk used on cereal, in food, etc. Maybe if you offer less milk your lo would be more inclined to take solids.

My dd has a couple of ounces of milk in a cup with her breakfast and a small avent cup of milk before bed (5/6ounces) and that is all the milk she actually drinks. The rest of her intake is from milk with cereal, yoghurt, cheese sauces, etc.

I only normally offer my dd a breakfast, lunch and dinner with one mid-morning snack (she doesnt get her lunch till after her nap - around 2pm - so it is a long time to go without food if she doesnt have a snack).

Your lo sounds as if she has a big breakfast - maybe if you cut it down a bit (e.g. 1 weetabix instead of 2) she would be more inclined to take some lunch/dinner. Weetabix is quite filling as it is full of fibre and may be filling your lo up to much and putting her off her other foods.

a couple of thought for you anyway. take care

QueenOfQuotes Thu 30-Jun-05 11:58:35

"dont think its extreme to leave out snacks as it is rewarding seeing them hugrily finish their dinner and ask for more !"

It's extreme if it makes NO impact on their eating habits at all

lunachic Thu 30-Jun-05 12:01:03

oh blooming heck trust you to get picky qofq's
what i say is dont give them any snacks ever and see if they eat their dinner then -bet they will after a week

Tortington Thu 30-Jun-05 12:04:30

oh no i know i am going to be shot but this is my point of view.

i think your pandering - i dont think its healthy to pander especially with meals.

unless a child had something wrong with them medically it will eat. it may not eat its dinner but by jove by tea time it willbe hungry.

i think your setting a rod for your own back - i just couldn't cope with pandering to a childs needs for the next 16 years!

and the term fussy eater gets my goat. i know kids dont like certain foods - i dont like ham, i dont like prawn cocktail crisps, dont like the white of an egg.
however i eat the yolk of an egg, other cooked meats and other crisp.

some parents say he wont eat *all veg or *all fruit. and i simply thing in most cases this is a bag of shite. i think the whole thing is mre about attention than food.

Kidstrack2 Thu 30-Jun-05 12:07:25

Yeah def try this but be warned it might not work! The fruit snacks are certainly not doing any harm but cut out any biscuits that are not needed. Her breakfast sounds fine and maybe offer her one piece of fruit between breakfast and lunch and same between lunch and dinner so she isn't filling up on snacks. She may be hungry come lunch and dinner then again might not be! My dd went through a stage of snacking in the end I cut out the mid morning snack and at lunch time she would have snack like things for her lunch i.e cubes of cheese, some grapes, some brown bread and half banana. Wouldn't worry too much about it some like set meals others like snacking, at the end of the day if she is happy and healthy theres no need to worry!

QueenOfQuotes Thu 30-Jun-05 13:14:31

"it may not eat its dinner but by jove by tea time it willbe hungry. "

do you want my kids for a week??? Because that 'theory' sure as heck doesn't work for them!

TracyK Thu 30-Jun-05 13:40:04

my ds is a snacker too - but then so am i - I'd prefer to have little and often. Although if ds only has a small snack mid afternoon then he eats more tea. But its the cumulative effect of a whole days intake surely. They still have little tummies. I give my ds, 6oz cows milk on wakening, then cereal or porrige and fruit, snack at nursery mid morning, lunch at nursery at 12, banana or nectarine at 3 (and milk if he hadn't eaten much lunch) then dinner at 5.30/6. 8oz formula at 7.30 in bed.
We have meals at a variety of different places - sometimes at table, sometimes on laps while playing, sometimes at restaurants, sometimes in the garden. I think with todays lifestyle - meals are more relaxed now. But I won't let him get up from a table and run around during a meal - unless its outside.

HappyMumof2 Thu 30-Jun-05 13:41:56

Message withdrawn

serenity Thu 30-Jun-05 23:02:26

Why is it so important to eat at certain times of the day and why do people get so upset about it? Some people and children like to graze and some like to eat big amounts at mealtimes, so long as they are energetic and healthy what's the problem?

Ds2 used to drive me to distraction, he barely eats breakfast, eats tons at lunchtime, and then picks again at dinnertime. It doesn't matter whether he snacks or not - it's just the way his body clock works. I had to learn to stop stressing about it, I just give him tiny dinners instead.

It seems very harsh to me to starve a child just to make them eat to your timetable (and that's not directed at anyone in particular) Surely it's healthier to eat when you are hungry rather than eat for the sake of it? I have to say though that I wouldn't leave snacks out, let her tell you if she's hungry and get her something then. DD (19 mths) drags me to the kitchen or gets a plate and waves it at me if she wants something,.

handlemecarefully Thu 30-Jun-05 23:08:19

My dd and ds tend to eat little of their evening meal if they have snacked in the afternoon. I would personally prefer they eat their evening meal which is usually quite a good balance of protein, fat, carb, fibre and vits that I have lovingly prepared than a snack.

Yes, snacks can be nutritious (fruit etc), but my preference is for them to have a meal representing all the food groups - and we have immeasurably more success if they are hungry at dinner time.

expatinscotland Thu 30-Jun-05 23:09:54

Dh and I are both lifelong grazers who can't eat much in one sitting. We do sit down at mealtimes, but we do nibble throughout the day. I get very light-headed and weak if I go for long periods of time w/o eating.

handlemecarefully Thu 30-Jun-05 23:10:56

I notice that Serenity says that snacks make no difference to her child's appetite - well they definitely do to mine. So clearly there is not one right answer - no 'one size fits all'. You'll need to work out what type of child your is I suppose (i.e 'snack sensitive' or not 'snack sensitive')!

ChicPea Thu 30-Jun-05 23:18:33

I don't agree with snacking but that's just me. I find if I give DD, who 3 in Sept, raisins or rice cakes while we are out, she will not eat much of her next meal whether it is lunch or supper. Similarly, if DH is picking at food as I am preparing supper, he hands various stuff to DD and lo and behold, once she is seated, she has lost interest. A little bit of food is enough to take the edge off of her hunger and she will then reject a good lunch or supper with carefully thought out protein and carbohydrate content.
So I don't feel snacking is right for my children but this is very personal and I do respect other Mums who allow snacks.

serenity Thu 30-Jun-05 23:22:18

Yes, it's down to individuals definitely - DS2 might be strange but DS1 and DD eat at any opportunity and have no problems at mealtimes.

Tortington Thu 30-Jun-05 23:54:44

"do you want my kids for a week??? Because that 'theory' sure as heck doesn't work for them! "

no thank you. not as much a 'theory' as an opinion based on my experience not only with my children either - i hasten to add. once again a personal anecdote which is insufficiant and weakens an argument however...
one child i have inflicted my cruel regime on, is a child who will not mix her food on the plate. she had beans on her mash and ate jove she did...her mother being totally shocked.

again i think its attention. this child knew i am not the sort to give attention to a child ( as mumsnetters well know) if at all avoidable. so fairly pointless playing me up or the tea would be in the bin and its a long time til breakfast. she was 10.

soapbox Fri 01-Jul-05 00:05:42

I'm with Custardo on this one!

However, IME another thing that will work is buying a trampoline

My DCs spend so long bouncing away all day that they eat 3 good meals and plenty of snacks on top! Food bill has gone through the roof though

I hate the concept of children's food with a passion. They get normal food and invariably eat whatever they get given. Of course they have some likes and dislikes, and I wouldn't purposely give them something that I know they dislike. However, dislikes don't number more than 2 or 3 foods each. They are allergic to some foods so this has taken some flexibility out of their diet, so I'm not keen to add too many more foods to the list that I can't prepare.

Even the foods they think they dislike they must have at least one spoonful of. Everything gets put on their plate and they leave what they don't want.

I have never made any fuss over finishing off food or not getting pudding or the likes. But if they don't eat a reasonable amount at dinner then there will be no snacks at all so nothing to eat til the following meal. I never ever comment on food - just take the plate away, bin it and give a fairly bland response to request for snacks. They know now not to even bother asking if they haven't eaten well at meal times.

QueenOfQuotes Fri 01-Jul-05 00:10:42

trust me - we tried it with DS1 for just over one week - 8 days to be precise - in that week he ate practically nothing only 'picking' at his meals. - he lost weight and became very lethargic - we started allowing the snacks again.

That was 2yrs ago - STILL snacks - but also finishes all his dinner (some of the time) - but then I don't always finish off my dinner either - and I rarely snack.

colditz Fri 01-Jul-05 01:01:50

I'm with custardo on this one too. Even a three year old knows that the gap between lunch and tomorrow's breakfast is a long one, and will eat their dinner after a few days!

QueenOfQuotes Fri 01-Jul-05 01:02:45

well I personally wasn't willing to 'prolong' it anymore than 8 days with practically no food!

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