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Why do children need to snack?

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#1 OutForLunch

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:11 PM

I don't remember when I was a child (makes me sound like an old lady!) having constant access to food like children these days seem to.At our mothers group as soon as we get to the park, normally at 930am, the food comes out. This may be fruit, biscuits, muffins, popcorn etc.Now my daughter will have only finished her breakfast at 8am and will be having lunch at 12-12.30pm. Surely she can manage until then with a piece of fruit and thats it?! This is what she has every day but trying to insist on this at mothers group when theres a stack of snacks is impossible! Its not just my friends Ive noticed all the children at the parks have constant snacks.So is it needed this continual buffet of snacks and is this why chidlren are becoming increasingly larger? Dieticians please feel free to answer me honestly!

#2 ubermum

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:15 PM

No idea.
Mine get 3 good meals and can have fruit in between if they are hungry. I make sure that every meal has a serve of protein in it, and that there is vegies at lunch and dinner. I don't do muffins, biscuits and all that crap. Maybe I am just mean. It seems my kids get enough "sometimes" food from every person we come into contact with that tries to feed them.

#3 i-candi

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:17 PM

My kids are 10 and 13 and rarely snack! three meals a day here. Actually DS will skip breakfast if I let him on holidays/weekends.

If I brought out lollies/chocolates then of course they would happily eat them  happy.gif

We do eat dinner early though...


Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:19 PM


I arrive at mothers group with a piece of fruit for my 2 kids and on the table are sweat biscuits, coloured pop corn, dorritos and junk.  Then I am called a meany because I ask them to eat the fruit first!

Same at park...tiny teddies, corn things...

Thats all fine, but then the parents wonder why their kids wont eat at mealtimes???

#5 jo074

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:20 PM

because at mother's group, everyone feels the pressure or need to contribute something to the group collective - hence the mountains of baked goods etc... So on those days kids eat stuff they would not normally get between meals.
My kids do need to snack between meals though, or they end up very hangry, but on days its just us, its something a lot more wholesome than on those sort of catchups.


Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:23 PM

You don't go to mothers' group every day do you? Why not let the kids have a treat once a week / fortnight / month?

#7 Another one

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:24 PM

QUOTE (NATPR @ 14/01/2013, 11:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I arrive at mothers group with a piece of fruit for my 2 kids and on the table are sweat biscuits, coloured pop corn, dorritos and junk.  Then I am called a meany because I ask them to eat the fruit first!

Same at park...tiny teddies, corn things...

Thats all fine, but then the parents wonder why their kids wont eat at mealtimes???

I am like this too.  DD and DS have to eat their fruit.  Just recently at mother's group I have started buying DD a smartie biscuit after she has eaten her fruit but she has to share the biscuit part (not the smartie's) with her brother.

For the few months prior to that we started a treat where we would have a coffee (babycino for her) and biscuit while her brother slept in his pram after we grocery shopped.  He stopped sleeping just as she started asking to have it at mother's group instead, perfect timing and she gets one treat a week like that.

#8 BeYOUtiful

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:26 PM

What age are we talking?  My son needs a snack around 10ish then again around 2.30/3.00pm.  He has fruit or yoghurt or rice cakes or cheese or muesli bar (wholegrain low sugar) or as a treat now and then a pikelet or a cheese/Bacon roll from bakers delight.

Jack eats fruit first he would live on it if I let him lol.

Edited by ~Jane05~, 14 January 2013 - 10:30 PM.

#9 libbylu

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:27 PM

I think kids at certain ages (like maybe 18 months to 4yo) do often need to snack between meals - they are running around at a billion miles an hour and growing like crazy and they only have little stomachs, so need regular refueling.  That being said, there is no reason why it need be anything more than fruit or yoghurt or something - no need to eat junk.
I remember DS went through a stage at about age 3 when after two hours he would have a blood sugar drop and go feral if I didn't feed him in that time.
It was similar to me in the first trimester - if I didn't eat every 2 to 2.5 hours then I would vomit! Different situation, but some bodies do need it at certain times.
Older kids not so much.

#10 JRA

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:27 PM

Well I know at 10 DS needs to snack, not on junk, or life is not worh living

But then I grew up on a farm and dad had 3 meals a day and Morning and afternoon tea every day of his life.

#11 *lightning

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:29 PM

The play group I used to take my DD to was really good. It was only cut up fruit for a snack and its a great way for kids to encourage the kids to eat different fruits.

I don't take much notice of what other people feed their kids but even when there's a buffet full of crap, my kids aren't a that bothered when I say no junk.

#12 OutForLunch

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:29 PM

Hey Im not against biscuits and cakes, occassionaly! No we go to mothers group once a week and catch up every other day with some of the group for swimming, park etc. There is always snacks though so I have said to my daughter to go play and if she is hungry to come to me. Once she is playing she never comes back for food but then some of the mums take food over to them! Its like a team effort to force feed my child snacks! She is a great eater, eats everything and is not fussy at all this is why i want her to continue good eating habits ie 3 meals a day, not too many treats but everything in moderation. A tiny teddy here and there is fine Im not THAT mean!

#13 mummabubba

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

My kids go nuts if they don't get a snack.  They just can't wait that long between meals.
We have smaller meals, I guess.  

I snack all day too - probably 6 or 7 small meals a day!  Just a lifestyle thing, I guess.

#14 Riotproof

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

So, ask the other mums not to feed your kids. I'm not seeing the huge issue. DS does snack. Not overly close to mealtimes, but he does. Generally fruit, yoghurt, rice crackers, the occasional biscuit.

He has a small stomach at his age, and tbh, it gives me a chance to have "morning tea" of coffee.

#15 Beltie

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

I agree OP. It isn't a morning tea or afternoon tea. That is completely normal.

It is the buffet of food which seems to be endless. The children drift up and away as if it some sort of alfresco cocktail party.

It isn't just happening in group settings. Some families come to my work and unpack numerous tupperware containers of snacks the minute they walk in the room. They booked the appointment, I'm not running late so why does the child need to eat right at the time that I'm meant to be looking at their tonsils? From the amount of spilled sultanas, dropped crackers and half eaten bananas in the bin (stinky) the kids aren't hungry so why the need for snacks?

#16 OutForLunch

Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:00 PM

I do ask them not to give her a packet of biscuits, marshmallows, popcorn etc but like I say they still follow their children around force feedingvthem and trying to pop packets of snacks into my daughters hands! She will start kindergarten soon so it will cease to be an issue but I did wonder if it is normal as after today it just seemed a bit ridiculous!

#17 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:08 PM

I think at PG its just a special day each week where everyone brings food to share. Doesn't mean they are all offering smorgasbords of snacks everyday.

My DS is only 15 months old and I offer him food every couple of hours. He just doesn't have the attention span to sit and eat a proper meal. When I was only feeding him 3 meals a day he'd barely eat anything. The snacks he has are little, a piece of cheese, some apple slice, some grapes, a small amount of yoghurt (gasps EB), a piece of toast etc.

#18 mibi

Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:22 PM

We have a casual roster for who brings morning tea (ie a text in the morning...."I'm bringing mt). Everyone brings fruit to share and then the special treat that someone has bought. So we don't get a buffet, but the kids (and Mum's) gets a special treat.

I know I struggle to go without a morning tea and afternoon tea snack. But we don't have a feast everyday - usually a piece of fruit and one other thing - cheese, biscuit, muffin, yoghurt etc. My food obsessed 7yo would be feral without it - but I think for him it's as much as the drop in sugar as anything.

#19 CheekyKids

Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:27 PM

I think it's like when adults get together, we drink and nibble.  Certainly when friends come over, we offer food and drinks.  Part of the social culture??

#20 ekbaby

Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:32 PM

Maybe for some of those kids that mid-morning snack is actually their lunch? I know with my DS1 (4yrs) he probably has 4 meals a day. Breakfast at home, then "lunch" (which others would call morning tea) when we are out, at around 11ish, it's snacky food as in lots of little things, but healthy (ish... stuff like fruit, veg sticks, a dip, a sandwich, sultanas etc)... then he has some more fruit or sandwich or crackers/avo/cheese etc around 3pm ish... and dinner at 6ish.

#21 jm3

Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:37 PM

Totally agree OP and it's something that bothers me everyday.  I need to get a lot tougher with my kids who would snack all day most days!

#22 Sandra

Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:53 PM

If my kids didn't snack they would pass out from  hunger.

All 3 walk 20  mins or more to school,  run around school all day, walk back home in the afternoon then  spend a couple of hours dancing each day.

At school they do  30 minutes of  daily fitness as well as sport.

Who cares if they snack as long as they get a balanced diet? I see this like breast feeding.. if they are hungry feed them..they are children not adults..

#23 bluecupcakes

Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:54 PM

The only thing my boy's seem to need between meals is some fruit and water.  Over the holidays they do seem to be snacking more but I think that's due to boredom mostly.
I remember when my son first started 3 year old kinder, they only went for 2.5 hours in the morning and we were told to send them with fruit and water so that's what I did.  About halfway through the term I did kinder duty and I could not believe that every other child had a full lunch box of food.  Stuff like muesli bars, cheese and crackers, popcorn,yoghurt etc I felt terrible that I had been depriving my son all those weeks while all the other kids had so much food.  So while I still thought the piece of fruit was enough I did send him with a tub of yoghurt as well after that!

#24 lozoodle

Posted 15 January 2013 - 05:27 AM

Because they are little and burn a lot of energy and are growing.

Things like playgroup are out of the norm in my opinion, so every now and then i am not fussed.

Usually a snack would be a piece of fruit or a little bit of yoghurt (omg EB suicide!) but i think people often get carried away with portion size amd type of foods being given as snacks. I allow my girls morning and afternoon tea, but its always quite small. They also get "dessert" after dinner each night which is another piece of fruit and a half cup of milk.

#25 Nora.

Posted 15 January 2013 - 05:33 AM

We didn't have morning/afternoon tea as children & I'm not a smacker. I wonder if that's why?

I gave my two morning/afternoon tea when they were little. If they're hungry after school they can make a sandwich or have fruit.

I see people packing snacks for every outing. A friend packs snacks when she takes her 7 year old to the gym crèche (during holidays).

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