7 year old eating in secret and hiding wrappers

(12 Posts)
Fayrazzled Thu 07-May-15 14:06:20

I'd love to get your advice on this. My 7 year old daughter has recently started helping herself to food from the cupboard, eating it in secret, and hiding the wrappers. The first time I found a load of sweet wrappers stuffed under her bedside table when I was hoovering her bedroom. So they were hidden, but not that well. I tried not to make a big deal of it, explained it's not healthy to eat lots of sweets in one go and also not fair on her brother as the sweets were to be shared and left it at that.

She tends to get up before everyone else (early riser) and is allowed to help herself to fruit. A couple of times over the last couple of weeks, she has taken cereal bars or fruit winder type things. I have explained these are for treats/after school snacks and if she wants to eat first thing she can have fruit. I've just been to hoover her bedroom again and found a box of cereal bars and two wrappers.

To give you more context: I tried to feed the children a healthy diet but I'm really not controlling about food. Compared to some of my mum friends I think I am positively relaxed! But still, I don't want them eating endless sweet treats and junky snacks. My daughter has a good packed lunch (more than her 9 year old brother) and it always comes home empty. She always has an after school snack or two. The fruit bowl is always open. She has a home-cooked meal each evening (and rarely eats it all, I don't think her portion sizes are too small).

I really want to nip this in the bud. I don't want to get it wrong and cause her problems with eating or humiliate her, but I am concerned about the effect on her weight if it carries on and her teeth. Help- how would you approach this?

purplemurple1 Thu 07-May-15 20:15:22

I'd provide more food in the mornings either a prepoured bowl of cereal and a large cup of milk in the fridge (unless she can manage the milk bottle) or teach her how to use the toaster. tbh I'd also let her have a little jam if she wants it esp a you don't mention any weight issues and she seems to have healthy appetiet.

Personally i can remeber as a kid I was allowed endless fruit but it just didnt fill me up, I coul deat lterally eat 3 large apples in a row and still be hungry at that age. My 20month old can eat a small apple direclty before his full dinner and it doesn't affect his appetite.

I also knew as child if I ate snacks it came from my snacks until I'd 'paid' them back so if it was ment to be one a day and I ate 5, I didn't get any after school for 5 days (could eat fruit instead), seemed to work.

Cedar03 Thu 07-May-15 21:02:06

Stop buying the snacks then she can't eat them. We've had similar bits of behaviour from my 8 year old. I try to put things where she can't reach them (yet).
My friend's little boy was caught hiding cooked chicken nuggets in his room!
Good advice from the PP. Tell her what she can eat from the kitchen - my daughter likes eating dry cereal and can manage that without any trouble.

Fayrazzled Thu 07-May-15 23:35:46

Thank you so much for replying. I think that's a brilliant idea- her own treat box and when it's gone for the week it's gone.

Cedar03- I'd like to stop buying the snacks but I find it so hard to come up with alternatives for after school etc.

squizita Fri 08-May-15 10:57:40

I have never enjoyed fruit and it has never filled me up. I'm quite petite and eat a lot of veg. But as a child and now I just wouldn't eat fruit as a snack or to fill me up, any more than I would drink juice as food. The hunger for protein and carbs I get simply doesn't register fruit - though veggie stuff it will.
I'm not that unusual - anecdotally.

Could you perhaps leave healthy non fruit snacks? Eg oat cakes, carrot batons, hummus, home made bakes with little/no sugar?

Also (though totally not saying this is happening here) fruit is very sugary. Kids given loads of fruit can fill up on nature's own sugar water and seem full at meals then crash/get hungry. There was guidance on this when I worked with younger kids as it was mid Jamie Oliver scandal and some places were giving kids cavities and bad habits by cramming fruit. Again not saying this is you - but you mentioned teeth!

Cedar03 Fri 08-May-15 13:09:26

Different snack ideas I use are string cheeses, small tubs of blueberries, kiwi fruit, chopped carrots and cucumber, lettuce (strange child I know but she's recently taken a real liking to it). Also nuts. English muffin with cheese or other filling.

Dried fruit and things like fruit winders do have a lot of sugar in them and unfortunately do stick to their teeth in the same way as sweets do.

I do buy these things but not all the time - we love the convenience of snacks in their packets but actually there are a lot alternatives out there. And as you are worried about the secret eating, reducing the amount of stuff available to snack on will help. (I know that my daughter will sneak and eat a packet of sweets but if you offered her an apple she would say she didn't want it - and therefore isn't really hungry. If the sweets aren't there then she can't do it.)

Midorichan Fri 08-May-15 13:20:51

I remember as a kid we have a shelf in the cupboard for all the snacks - chocolate, fruit things, crisps etc. I would sneak in and take a load because it just tasted SO much better than fruit and carrot sticks, lol. In the end, my mum ended up getting rid of buying chocolate, etc, and would bake up healthier treats for us - granola bars, healthy muffins, etc etc. Stuff she could whip up quick and just sling in the oven to bake, as she worked full time also. We stopped stealing treats then.

CoffeeAndBiscuitsPlease Fri 08-May-15 17:01:55

Well the simple answers would be a. Put the snack somewhere she can't get to, somewhere higher, or locked. or b. don't buy them and make or keep healthy alternatives tons and tons of recipes online for childrens snacks that you can pre make and keep in the fridge or a cupboard - including healthy alternatives that children "make" (build) themselves.

Having her own treat box is good at first, but she will still binge and you'll probably end up with a fight on your hands every week (and feel bad when you are giving her brother treats to enjoy).

Primadonnagirl Fri 08-May-15 17:10:55

Just a general point about fruit.Its often talked about as a good unlimited free food..and it's certainly better than processed sweets..BUT fruit is still a lot of sugar and not very filling. I would second the suggestion of a snack box just for her but I wouldn't have unlimited fruit as well, and include more filling protein snacks like baby cheeses and nuts . Also perhaps your daughter just likes nibbling so think about ways to spread out her overall eating? I know I was as a child but became v overweight because I nibbled and had big meals, but now as an adult I just know smaller amounts of food more frequently suits me better.

ShelaghTurner Fri 08-May-15 17:17:49

Exactly the same problem here, I was about to start a thread. DD1 is 7, usually on the slim side of average although never skinny. Just lately she's looking distinctly chubby.

She helps herself to absolutely everything and anything she wants and we also constantly find wrappers hidden around the house. I'm fairly relaxed with food and try not to make a big deal of anything except being healthy. I am very overweight and just recently have been trying to make her see that eating and eating and eating will make her end up like me. I don't know how else to tackle it.

BreeVDKamp Fri 08-May-15 17:24:09

I started doing this around age 7, it continued until I left home and I still struggle with my sweet tooth 18 years later! No advice really - looking back, for me I think it must have been to do with moving house twice (2 ends of the country so new schools etc) in the space of one school term, and I still stress-eat to this day. But definitely try and support her and try and nip it in the bud now! Which you are doing, so that's not helpful, sorry.

I had always thought of myself as a fat child (looking at pics I really wasn't), nasty boy at school asked if I was pregnant when I was in year 1 etc... Not sure why that would have encouraged me to eat, but could she be comfort eating for some reason?

FresherThanYou Fri 08-May-15 17:33:53

Hi, just my perspective having had a mum who was very controlling about food, don't restrict the amount she eats, rather the type. I wouldn't get a treat box - that is saying some foods are 'bad'. Make healthy muffins, oat biscuits, protein pancakes. Mug of warm milk. Bread & butter. Keep cold pasta & pesto in the fridge, chicken slices, bacon, cheese etc she may actually be hungry, and need to eat small amounts at regular intervals rather than one big meal. Cereal bars are so sugary they are not going to fill her up, just stop buying them. sugar freemom.com is a good website for snack ideas

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