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Old 01-11-2012, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,435 posts, read 41,667,043 times
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Thanks all. I've tried to rep where I could.

I have tried asking them what they want and then we go thru the "I don't know- Well if you don't know how do I?" cycle till I get frustrated. But I will try it again. I hate standing around the kitchen saying "Well there's X and Y and Z and A and B and C" with them saying "What else?"

They seem to me like newborns still---eating every 2 hours. breakfast 6:30-7, snack at school 9:30- 10, Lunch around noon and after school snack at 2:30. We eat between 5:30 - 6 and there are no bedtime snacks before bed around 8. weekends are different of course.

I am bending over backwards to avoid tension at the table (like I had growing up). I don't make them clean their plate but I do want them to eat reasonable breakfast since it has been so long since last night's supper.

Again thanks.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
3,388 posts, read 3,228,085 times
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With my 3.5 year old, I usually give snack choices, although there are times when he asks for something else (apple or banana?, no I'd like peanut butter). He knows to ask before grabbing something and I currently monitor portion size/time of day (most of our snacks are on the healthy side but wanting 3 apples in a row is still quite a bit!/not too close to a meal time). I'm not sure of the "when" specifics yet, but the plan is to give him greater freedom as he grows up.

My philosophy on it is that I want to teach him to make his own choices, listen to hunger cues, learn to make healthy snack/meal choices, and know that junk food is not an everyday thing (but also not glamorize it by making it a reward, if that makes sense). He's a bigger kid by body type/genetics (not overweight by any stretch of the imagination, but of a football player build), so I want to make sure that we're guiding him gently towards healthy choices so he doesn't decide to rebel and go "all junk all the time" when he is independently making meals. I think that, generally, being over-controlling or rigid about food with kids can lay the groundwork for unhealthy relationships with food later in life.

ETA: Since my post isn't all that applicable, necessarily, to an older child's development - my thinking has been influenced by Ellyn Satter (Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family; How to Get Your Kid to Eat, But Not Too Much).
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:57 PM
 
11,230 posts, read 9,237,838 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Thanks all. I've tried to rep where I could.

I have tried asking them what they want and then we go thru the "I don't know- Well if you don't know how do I?" cycle till I get frustrated. But I will try it again. I hate standing around the kitchen saying "Well there's X and Y and Z and A and B and C" with them saying "What else?"
If they are saying "I don't know". Then they are probably old enough for you to say "there is the kitchen"!

Quote:
They seem to me like newborns still---eating every 2 hours. breakfast 6:30-7, snack at school 9:30- 10, Lunch around noon and after school snack at 2:30. We eat between 5:30 - 6 and there are no bedtime snacks before bed around 8. weekends are different of course.

I am bending over backwards to avoid tension at the table (like I had growing up). I don't make them clean their plate but I do want them to eat reasonable breakfast since it has been so long since last night's supper.
They are not going to starve themselves. Natural selection kind of guarantees that. Many times tension comes from attempting to exert too much control. When we moved to an eat or don't eat, I don't care (if you are hungry, you will eat...) the tension disappeared.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:58 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 89,033,856 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I have tried asking them what they want and then we go thru the "I don't know- Well if you don't know how do I?" cycle till I get frustrated. But I will try it again. I hate standing around the kitchen saying "Well there's X and Y and Z and A and B and C" with them saying "What else?"
Then it's time to let them fend for themselves. As long as the kitchen is full of healthy choices, they'll be fine on their own.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:03 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,410,927 times
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I would just step away from the process altogether. If they don't know what they want they aren't hungry enough to eat. Let them get a snack as they want--as long as it isn't too close to a meal.

As for eating every 2 hours, possible. My youngest eats about every 2 hours. He isn't a big eater, just consistent by eating every 2 hours. Actually, that is better for your body and you consume a proper amount of calories usually that way vs eating 3 meals/day and over eating because you are too hungry. You should never get to the point where your stomach is growling hungry really.

As for eating/not eating breakfast, let them listen to their own bodies. They know if they are hungry or not and you really don't. By telling them WHEN to eat you are doing as much harm as telling them WHAT to eat.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:15 PM
 
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Snacking was only an issue for us during the elementary school years. In middle school and high school they usually got home so close to dinner that I just started serving it earlier.

We did pretty much what Dew suggested, and had a snack shelf. I didn't prohibit chips, but they had to take out a cereal bowl size serving, not the bag.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:17 PM
 
Location: here
24,472 posts, read 28,756,384 times
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Offer 2 or 3 choices and let her pick. Minimize the unhealthy choices that are available. Don't buy chips if it is that big of a problem. Turn off the TV during meals! My son can't concentrate on eating if the TV is on even if it is the news. I like to watch it in the morning too, but I wait until they are out the door, or I watch the first 5 minutes to see the headlines, then turn it off. It is all available to watch online anyway.
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:15 PM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,532,806 times
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We let our kids pick their own snacks from what is available. We don't keep a lot of snacks in the house, so it usually isn't much of an issue. One thing we do is pre-portion them out. We found that this encourages them to make healthier choices, you can have ALL these carrots, or you can have this handful of chips. It also eliminates the sitting down with the whole bag of chips and snacking away. We don't believe in not allowing them to have "junk" food, we just practice enjoying it in moderation.

In general my kids are grazers, they eat a lot of small meals and snacks. It's rare that they sit down and eat everything they are offered for dinner, but we have NEVER forced them to eat everything. Sometimes this results in wanting a snack two hours after dinner was served, we just role with it and let them have it, if I was still hungry I would eat a snack then, lol. We also don't force them to eat things they don't like, but do encourage them to try different things.

All three kids are extremely healthy in terms of weight, so it seems to be working. I grew up in a "clean your plate" house and one where a bad day ended in ice cream. I've really tried to avoid creating issues with food the way my parents did. Thankfully my wife was raised in a different environment and could help me with that.
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:17 PM
 
11,614 posts, read 19,729,031 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Thanks all. I've tried to rep where I could.

I have tried asking them what they want and then we go thru the "I don't know- Well if you don't know how do I?" cycle till I get frustrated. But I will try it again. I hate standing around the kitchen saying "Well there's X and Y and Z and A and B and C" with them saying "What else?"

They seem to me like newborns still---eating every 2 hours. breakfast 6:30-7, snack at school 9:30- 10, Lunch around noon and after school snack at 2:30. We eat between 5:30 - 6 and there are no bedtime snacks before bed around 8. weekends are different of course.

I am bending over backwards to avoid tension at the table (like I had growing up). I don't make them clean their plate but I do want them to eat reasonable breakfast since it has been so long since last night's supper.

Again thanks.
I agree 100% about avoiding tension where food is concerned. I think you can avoid frustration and tension by allowing them to choose their own snacks from whatever you have in the house. My kids have been choosing their own snacks since they were in kindergarten.

I keep very little junk food in the house, but when it's here they are allowed to eat it. Otherwise I keep lots of fruit around. I find that after school my kids want a SUBSTANTIAL snack. They sometimes make themselves a sandwich when they get home. They also like chocolate milk (which they make themselves). My oldest and youngest LOVE greek yogurt. My middle son likes soup. Whatever they eat they fix/take on their own but of course they are older than your kids.

I think that by 9 years old the kids should be old enough to fix themselves a snack, with some limited assistance if they need to cook. There is no reason a 9 year old can't take their own fruit or make a sandwich.

Good luck.
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:37 PM
 
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My 4yr old picks his own snacks. He loves eating fruit, veggies, cheese, yogurt, crackers, ect. He will occasionally choose a pack of fruit snacks or two oreos, but 90% of the time, he picks the healthy snack on his own.

Your child cant do the grocery shopping so if it isn't in the house, she can't have it. Besides, why let a 7yr old boss you around? Tell her she can have Option A or Option B and if she wants neither, then well, no snack for her
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