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How available should food be for your kids?
I feel like my kitchen is open 24/7!!


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35 replies to this topic

#1 jm3

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:14 PM

Are you strict and serve three meals a day and offer fruit in between only OR do you let them graze as they want?

I know it's a big spectrum but I'm so sick of going food shopping because two days later we're out of 'stuff'.  I'm not talking about junk food here either (for the most part).  It could be strawberries, watermelon and other fruit, or yoghurt, or toast or whatever...

My four year old is particularly bad and seems to want to eat when she's bored and doesn't take too kindly to being told to wait for tea.

I think I've very generous in what goes in the lunch box each day too - way more than I see other kids get at school.

For what it's worth - 12 year old is very active and skinny as a rake and four year old has always been on the 97% percentile for height and weight.

How does your family approach the food situation?

#2 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:24 PM

My 4 yr old is the same, she'll ask for something to eat right after dinner.
I don't let mine snack for about an hour before dinner, they can eat when they like as long as it's healthy.  They aren't allowed to eat stuff after dinner if they didn't eat it.  Other than those  rules it's fairly open
This might sound bad but my little ones are better behaved when they are well fed.
Things like watermelon, grapes, strawberries etc don't really fill them up much.
I totally know the feeling of going shopping and 2 days later there is nothing left, story of my life.


#3 i-candi

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:26 PM

I close the kitchen after dinner cleanup. Kids can still get drinks though.

My kids only eat 3 times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have never had an afternoon snack, ok once in a while DD will eat an apple or some cheese.

I will add that DD is a rake and never EVER stops, she doesn't walk through the house - she does cartwheels. DS is overweight, he is totally inactive and is on medication.

#4 jm3

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:29 PM

QUOTE (i-candi @ 14/11/2012, 08:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My kids only eat 3 times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have never had an afternoon snack, ok once in a while DD will eat an apple or some cheese.


Have you just never offered afternoon snack or do they never seem to want it?

My 12 year old expects something after school - totally expects it and would probably be horrified if I said no!  LOL!

#5 girltribe4

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:31 PM

They graze , mainly on fruit & toast but they like to have cereal any time of the day too. My 11yr old is a failure to thrive and the others are all well below average , they are all fairly active and for the moment I feel we have the balance right.

#6 jm3

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:31 PM

QUOTE (Mummyone1 @ 14/11/2012, 08:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My 4 yr old is the same, she'll ask for something to eat right after dinner.
I don't let mine snack for about an hour before dinner, they can eat when they like as long as it's healthy.  They aren't allowed to eat stuff after dinner if they didn't eat it.  Other than those  rules it's fairly open
This might sound bad but my little ones are better behaved when they are well fed.
Things like watermelon, grapes, strawberries etc don't really fill them up much.
I totally know the feeling of going shopping and 2 days later there is nothing left, story of my life.


With my four year old I've come to the point that I feed her when she asks for food rather than by the clock because otherwise she would be eating all day!  Well it feels like that anyway.  I think when she starts school next year that should improve given that she won't be able to eat as she wants.  I'm all for offering protein type snacks but kids don't seem to want that... they want fruit or biscuits/unhealthy options.

#7 fringe82

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:32 PM

Mine have 3 meals a day & 1-2 snacks a day.

If they ask for a bit of fruit or rice cracker etc in the morning or afternoon then I will let them have something.... other times of the day I wont and after dinner nothing as they usually have not even finished their dinner.

If my 4 had free run on the kitchen they would never stop eating... ever!!

#8 i-candi

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:33 PM

QUOTE (jm3 @ 14/11/2012, 09:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have you just never offered afternoon snack or do they never seem to want it?

My 12 year old expects something after school - totally expects it and would probably be horrified if I said no!  LOL!


Never ask for it so I've never offered it. DS (who is 13) quite often doesn't even eat his lunch - too busy getting to the library at lunch time to snag a computer  rolleyes.gif

The days that DD (who is 10) asks for a snack she can have cheese or fruit (her fave at the moment is apple).

Edited by i-candi, 14 November 2012 - 08:34 PM.


#9 Buggylicious

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:35 PM

food is available round the clock here, I have very thin children they need every bite I can get in to them.

#10 halcyondays

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:44 PM

My toddlers graze throughout the day. I control what I offer them, but they can eat it whenever they want. My teenagers have a set shelf in the fridge and shelf in the pantry that they can help themselves to- otherwise I would end up with patchy bits and bobs left for dinner.

I grew up in a house where there was very little edible food (lots of dry lentils and uncooked rice etc, but nothing ready to eat without a fair bit of cooking) and remember the horrible feeling of being hungry and not being able to concentrate on anything other than thinking about food.

I keep very little junk food, so don't mind what they eat.

I top up shop every 2-3 days.

#11 EssentialBludger

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:46 PM

QUOTE (i-candi @ 14/11/2012, 08:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I close the kitchen after dinner cleanup. Kids can still get drinks though.

My kids only eat 3 times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have never had an afternoon snack, ok once in a while DD will eat an apple or some cheese.

I will add that DD is a rake and never EVER stops, she doesn't walk through the house - she does cartwheels. DS is overweight, he is totally inactive and is on medication.


Don't they have recess at school?


Mine can graze as they please, but know they have to ask for the "junky" type stuff. They can eat as much fruit as they like.

I myself personally don't have three strict meals a day, and prefer to graze. Breakfast here is non-negotiable for school age DD, and I obviously pack her lunch. DS who is home with me all day can eat at whatever time he likes. Dinners are on the light side as they're fussy and not particularly hungry at dinner time - no matter if I've let them graze or not.

#12 Squeekums Da Feral

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:52 PM

We graze here.
I hardly get hungry and tried having set meals with DD but found she ate more if she grazed over the day.

#13 ReadySetRace

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:52 PM

We have 3 meals plus morning and afternoon tea. In between, they can have fruit and a glass of milk.

I decide what they eat for meals and snacks.  FWIW, we are all skinny.

#14 sparkles30

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:00 PM

My four year old seems to want food every hour, and the 18 month old wants anything her big sister is having! Both are pretty skinny.

I'm thinking about getting stricter as I am getting sick of being the snack machine all day long. I find it great on pre-school days when I pack her a large bag of food and then I'm done with it for the day. Surely breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper should be enough.

We don't have set times for meals, although breakfast is on as soon as they get up and I've brought forward dinner to 5pm to cut out some of the snacking, and then just offer some fruit, milk, cheese etc at about 6.30-7pm to get them through the night.

#15 Chocolate Addict

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:00 PM

My 7yo is a grazer. He eats throughout the day but usually once he has had dinner that is it. Although as he eats dinner around 5.30/6pm occasionally he asks for something to eat later, but usually just some bread (plain, straight out of the packet).

He has major league food issues so not too strict on what he eats. He doesn't eat chips/chocolate/sweet foods etc by choice. mostly lives on bread and peanut butter!lol

Edited by Chocolate Addict, 14 November 2012 - 09:02 PM.


#16 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:10 PM

QUOTE (Buggylicious @ 14/11/2012, 09:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
food is available round the clock here, I have very thin children they need every bite I can get in to them.



Same here, only 1 of mine is a little overweight the rest are all super skinny so I encourage eating.

#17 I*Love*Christmas

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:12 PM

My kids tend to just graze. I prefer them to eat more often and smaller meals than 3 large meals anyway.

#18 Bel Rowley

Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:11 AM

My kids eat throughout the day but they don't have open slather. I know more often than not 4yo DD asks for food because she's bored rather than because she's hungry. Funny how if I suggest something healthy rather than junk the hunger suddenly goes away. They are generally allowed to have snacks whenever during the day, but after dinner, dessert and bath there's nothing more even if they ask for it.

#19 JJ

Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:49 AM

Food is available around the clock here. My kids like to graze and are self-regulating... always have been, pretty much. There's the odd occasion where I ask them to take a break if they've been pigging out a bit, or not to eat anything else because dinner is just around the corner, but that's rare.

At a friend's place the food is all rationed (more for financial reasons than anything else) and it drives me nuts to see her kids constantly beg for food. It has become a bit of an obsession for them and I think it can't be healthy for them. I guess that's the other end of the spectrum.

We sometimes have kids around who go nuts when they realise the food is just available here. Maybe it's because they're not used to it or maybe they would be like that all the time - not sure. I know our arrangement doesn't work for everyone.

Edited by JJ, 15 November 2012 - 08:50 AM.


#20 Carmen02

Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:02 AM

my 10yr old wouldnt stop eating if she had the choice and she is on the heavier side, fruit is available all day but anything other then that nope. But then it comes to DS his 8 and is super skinny and has an extremely limited diet I would love if he ate more its one extreme to the other with my two lol

#21 Kay1

Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

My 4 year old is driving me crazy. He asks for food every 2 mins. I know a lot of it is boredom/attention seeking because I am busy with the baby. To save my sanity I pack him a lunchbox and he has to carry it in his backpack when we go out. It has been working well but today I packed him a lunchbox for the day and he just came and asked for food. By 10am he had eaten: cut up apple, small bunch of grapes, piece of banana loaf, le snack, two snack right fruit biscuits, a vegemite sandwich and several sticks of cheese!!! ohmy.gif

And yes he had breakfast!

#22 niggles

Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:14 AM

The fruit bowl is always available. After dinner, my 4 year old has milk and a milk arrowroot and nothing more.

Between breakfast and lunch we have a toast break and when DD asks for food I offer fruit. She usually says no.

Between lunch and dinner I prepare a snack and she can have fruit whenever she wants but usually only really wants it once.

She asks for food much more often than this but she's really just bored and not hungry. If she was hungry she'd help herself to the fruit bowl.

#23 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

Family of grazers here.   Everyone is expected to have a decent breakfast, but I don't like big meals myself, so don't expect the kids to.  We do have a fairly consistent routine through, so it's not a free for all.




#24 lafonda

Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:11 AM

DS is constantly asking for food. He is 4 next month and every second sentence is "I'm hungry" "I'm still hungry"

I never know whether to let him keep eating or not.

He snacks on cheese, yoghurt, weetbix, le snacks, fruit bars and bananas



#25 Nofliesonme

Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:18 AM

Food is available when they need it, if it's a sometimes food it's on the highest shelf, everything else is open to be eaten, but I bought yesterday 8 apples, 8 banana and 8 oranges, 1/4 watermelon and today I have 2 bananas and 5 apples and 6 oranges left, so tomorrow
I have to get more fruit, I bought a kilo of turkey on Tuesday and there is none left after today's lunch..




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