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Kids constantly sneaking and eating sugary snacks!

85 replies

adonemumofthree · 12/07/2019 09:30

NC’d for this.

I have 3 girls, one of secondary school age and 2 still at primary. Very active and busy kids and all 3 are naturally quite slim and healthy!

We like our food and both myself and husband are good cooks and the DC have a balanced diet with plenty of variety, we are also pretty normal in terms of snacks and I have never been too precious about them having a packet of crisps after school or the occasional can of lemonade and it’s never previously been an issue moderating what they eat.

They do come and ask if they want something out the treat cupboard or fridge (toast and fruit is for a free for all) I know this isn’t a very popular parenting choice but I’m paranoid about their teeth and it’s also bloody expensive making sure there is enough there for the week without them digging into all the school snacks.

Over the last 6 months the youngest two have started sneaking food, eating and stashing the rubbish, this isn’t just the extra chocolate biscuit but packs and packs of biscuit, breadsticks, crisps, chocolate, cake, anything really that they can get their hands on! sometimes it’s when we are not looking during the day but other times (and I find quite worrying) it’s first thing in the morning before we get or after we have all gone to bed, it’s starting to feel quite secretive/bingey which I’m petrified is going to turn into an eating disorder.

I have been so careful about how I’m handling it as obviously don’t want to food shame them but this morning I came down and read the riot act (fuelled mainly by the fact that we are pretty skint this month and I had carefully worked and bought out how much we needed for the next few weeks) after finding 2 empty boxes of cereal bars, and an empty bag of fruit flakes and two innocent little faces looking at me saying “It wasn’t me!!” I think the the lying was the final straw!

So much so my youngest has gone to school without a lunch because I told her she wasn’t getting the previous included chocolate biscuit to which she replied “fine I won’t eat my lunch” to which I replied “fine it saves me making it!!” Not my proudest parenting moment and a 1st for me but the whole situation is making me quite sad and stressed.

I don’t think it’s necessarily the amount of food they are consuming, obviously it’s not great but I also know it’s kid like to want to eat lots of treats but I’m worried about the behaviours along side it, the lying, binging, hiding, even me having to ask them to constantly stop doing it, however understanding I have been in the past, It doesn’t sit right with me to constantly checking and judging their food choices which I’m still doing, albeit for the right intentions.

I just wondered if anyone had any advice or has had similar with their own DC and how we handled it. DH is a lot firmed than me and has said we either stop buying it (which I don’t think is fair on my eldest DD or me!!! Grin) or we get a lock for the kitchen door but again I’m worried that this is just another from of food shaming!

OP posts:
adonemumofthree · 12/07/2019 09:31

Just to add, I have phoned the school once I have calmed down and DD will be getting a school lunch today, I’m not going to let her go hungry.

OP posts:
Sexnotgender · 12/07/2019 09:33

I’d lock the kitchen door.

Soola · 12/07/2019 09:34

Don’t buy sugary snacks then they can’t eat them.

We used to buy jelly beans and found they were a weakness and could scoff them with little self control.

So now we don’t buy them.

We’re fine with exercising portion control with everything else but jars of jelly beans defeated us😩

Stuckforthefourthtime · 12/07/2019 09:36

Don't buy them.

Sexnotgender · 12/07/2019 09:36

We’re fine with exercising portion control with everything else but jars of jelly beans defeated us

I’m the same with custard creams. Can happily ignore everything else, but would eat those little buggers until I was sick.

Disfordarkchocolate · 12/07/2019 09:38

Have you considered that they may be hungry?

Seeline · 12/07/2019 09:38

Just don't buy them.

Or buy a lockable box and keep them in there.

Not rocket science....

adonemumofthree · 12/07/2019 09:42


As said in my op there is always food options for them if they are genuinely hungry, toast, fruit, carrot stick hummus

OP posts:
MashedSpud · 12/07/2019 09:45

Buy high protein snacks instead to fill them up more.
Don’t allow mindless eating (reading their tablets/phones/laptops/watching tv) during eating.
Encourage more physical activities to help burn off extra calories.

MrsWooster · 12/07/2019 09:46

Placemarking; ds9 is the same and I am desperately afraid of foodshaming or making a big deal of "desriable" v non desirable food by locking away sugary stuff and making it almost literally forbidden fruit if only he'd eat the bloody fruit!

growlingbear · 12/07/2019 09:47

Stop buying them. Only buy enough for one small snack each per week. Once those are gone it's a week until you buy more.
Put more food on their plates at dinner, maybe? More veg, protein or wholefood carbs so they feel fuller?
Make sure they drink water when they get home. Thirst is often mistaken for a sugar or salt craving.

GirlRaisedInTheSouth · 12/07/2019 09:49

Sorry, but why have all that shit in your house? You don't need 'treats', you're not a dog.

Soola · 12/07/2019 09:49

Milk is another good filler upper! A glass of cold milk is also refreshing.

Happyspud · 12/07/2019 09:50

Bullshit food shaming! Just crack down on it. It’s no joke dealing with weight issues later and rotting teeth. So tell them straight the reason. If they sometimes get treats in a controlled manner you don’t need to be too precious about their feelings about being told no to eating a constant stream of junk.

adonemumofthree · 12/07/2019 09:51


We are a tablet and phone free house, and all 3 DC are very active, they are country kids have a very time consuming hobby and pets.

Would be interested in ideas for more high protein snacks though (though my middle daughter isn’t a fan of meat) as realise they do burn a lot of calories and will naturally be looking to replace.

OP posts:
Flower777 · 12/07/2019 09:55

Often binge eating is rooted in restriction around food.

I wonder if the kids do feel they are being restricted in some way?

Would it be an option to up portion sizes at breakfast and lunch? Or perhaps add an extra thing to the things they can help themselves to?

adonemumofthree · 12/07/2019 09:55


It’s tricky isn’t it and exactly how I feel, my middle daughter is quite a nervy wee thing anyway that already has quite a bad nail biting habit and although very academic also has a sensory processing problem which effects her hearing and the was she talks (when stressed) I can help but feel as irrational as it may sound that a control habit or food issue is exactly where she is heading!

OP posts:
TowelNumber42 · 12/07/2019 10:01

Treats cupboard. That's new to me. They are not treats if you buy them all the time, have a special cupboard for them and give them with lunches every day.

Pepperami, beef jerky, peanut butter, nuts, babybels, pork scratchings, smoked mackerel.

Though tbh, we mainly and deliberately don't have stocks of food that are easy to graze on. You have to think about what you want and do some prep, even if only to make a banana milkshake or toast.

Scheduled extra small meals are helpful too. If they normally need food between meals then plan to give everyone a tuna sandwich at the time they tend to snack, e.g. straight after school or half an hour before bed.

LittleMissEngineer · 12/07/2019 10:01

Have a lockable treat cupboard: you and eldest DD have the key. You could keep their treat food accessible. Explain what it is for and how long it has to last and “when it’s gone, it’s gone). That they need to work as a team to make sure it lasts. If that will get to “Lord of the Flies”, then give then each a lockable box: getting them to take responsibility for their own treats - that it isn’t a bottomless pit.

Have a frank talk to them about “good choices” and the effects of not making good choices. And also “secret eating” and why it isn’t good.

I am similar to you: as long as there is balance, the occasional treat is fine. But breaking all the house rules and secreting stuffing treats is bad.

adonemumofthree · 12/07/2019 10:02


Thanks. Smile

I have thought that two but both girls are grazers and always have been little and often eaters. They obviously do have 3 set meals a day and there is always extra if they want more but tend not to heap their plates.

OP posts:
KingMidasAteMidges · 12/07/2019 10:02

I have got three children, eldest is 11. They have been known to engage in similar behaviour. Weirdly what I found helped is not having anything sugary in the house. If they don’t see it, they don’t think of it and don’t ask! They can go for days sans sweets without noticing. Unfortunately, my DH scuppers any of my efforts to keep kids off sugary treats as he MUST have them every day. Of course, as soon as the children spot a bar of chocolate, oh can I have some too? Whilst had they not seen it, they wouldn’t even have thought of it or wanted it.

The DH has been away for a few days and there is no ‘treat’ stuff in the house. The kids haven’t asked once!

I know I have got a DH problem in this respect. But try changing a 45 year old grown man who was brought up on rubbish. It is exhausting trying to maintain a healthy diet for the kids with a saboteur family member. What I don’t get, DH is suffering the consequences of his bad diet and two of the kids had their first filling by age 7. Bit it is still not enough for him to give up the crap! I feel like I bang my head on a brick wall sometimes.

TowelNumber42 · 12/07/2019 10:03

Get the one with potential food issues to do the between meals meals planning. It works with my DS. The planning helps him think about his choices instead of reacting to hunger/feelings and stuffing whatever cereal bar is available (partly why we don't have much easy food). It worked for us.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER · 12/07/2019 10:06

Either don't buy the snacks in the first place, or keep them where they can't get at them. Hardly rocket science.

adonemumofthree · 12/07/2019 10:07


Thanks will try that. We have recently changed go shopping day to day to doing a big shop at the start of the month (hence why it sounds like me have so much snacks) budget wise it’s working out great but not so good for temptation.

OP posts:
winterisstillcoming · 12/07/2019 10:07

We d-not buy them. We go to the shop on a Friday afternoon, buy treats, go home and polish them off. We love it.

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