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mylene169 April 10th, 2013 07:32 AM

Kaija is terrible about eating. She would rather be doing ANYTHING else than sitting at the table and eating her meals, especially dinner. Now it's become this endless cycle that I'm worried is going to be a problem once school starts. She always wants a HUGE breakfast - 2 bowls of cereal, 2 waffles and a piece of toast, if I'm awake enough to make pancakes she'll eat 5-6, etc. On days she has preschool she has a small snack sometime between 9-11, when she's home I'll give them something around 10 usually. We have lunch at noon every day and I try to make sure there's plenty on her plate and sometimes she eats it all, most times she doesn't. Then the afternoon fun begins... An hour after she "finishes" her lunch she's "starving to death" again. If I give her something she still claims to be hungry again an hour later, and an hour later, and an hour later... Ideally I want her to wait until Kolbie is up from her nap at 4, starting in August it will be 3:30 before she's home from school anyway and I have no idea if they do snacks or not. And then the kicker is if I don't give in and let her snack all afternoon she won't eat her dinner. And if I do give in and let her snack all afternoon she also won't eat her dinner. She can tell me how starving she is while I'm cooking and telling her to wait 20 min. and then leave everything on her plate but 2 bites. Then right before bed she's telling me she's starving again, at which point I don't give her anything because she didn't eat her dinner. The next morning we start over again.

How do I fix this? It drives me INSANE. I want her to be able to focus at school but if she's REALLY starving all day that's not going to happen. But I also want her to eat when it's time to eat, she should be able to do that at this point I think. We talk about how she can't just eat all afternoon at school next year and that's why I'm "being mean" about it right now. She needs to adjust.

kimmiejo April 10th, 2013 08:13 AM

Re: Meals/Snacks
I would just try to stick to a schedule with eating as much as possible, even if she whines about it. Maybe make a chart or something. My kids are in school 5 days a week so they are on a schedule for the most part...they eat breakfast at home (most days unless we run late then they eat at school), snack at 9:30 at school, lunch at around 12 at school, snack at 3pm at school and then they get home around 4;30 or 5 and we eat around 5:30 or 6. Neither of my kids are big dinner eaters though, they both eat great breakfasts and lunches though for the most part, so as long as they sit and try the food I am ok with it. Then they each get a healthy snack before bed.

Sam is a pretty decent eater, Sydney is super picky and eats like a bird, I really don't make food or mealtime a battle though because so long as she eats a fairly balanced diet, which she does, I am ok with her not wanting to eat/finish her dinner. IDK I just am LOL, I gave up the food fight/battle long ago....but our issue is more about not eating much rather than always being starving. At any rate I would guess when she starts school she will naturally adjust to the new schedule within a few days, kids tend to adapt quicker than we think they will!

mylene169 April 10th, 2013 12:04 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
She's always been more of a breakfast eater, and that's okay with me. It's the all day long whining about starving to death. Just now for lunch she ate a peanut butter sandwich, a handful of goldfish crackers, some fruit snacks and water. Not 10 min. later she said she was still starving and wanted a piece of pizza. She accepted that she finished her lunch and that now she'd have to wait until snack time later, but I know this afternoon is going to be a barrage of "I'm sooooo staaaaarving!!"

TheMommyProject April 10th, 2013 02:33 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
Aidan is also a huge breakfast eater and not always so keen on the dinner. But, I don't have the constant snacking/I'm starving requests from him either, so I tend to just not force the dinner issue.

I agree that getting a schedule in order now that will mimic school is a good idea. Find out their schedule and work to it. They will likely have a snack time in there somewhere. For Aidan, they snack in the morning (around 10:00), lunch at 12:30 and then he's on the bus by 3:00. I pack a snack for him to eat on the bus on his way home.

I think the key for you is to somehow get away from the snack every hour. She'll probably not be happy about it at first, but it'll pay off in the end. And better to deal with it now then when she's also going through the change of a new school pattern.

I just had another thought... in the situation like you described today where she eats lunch and then asks for pizza, what if you offer a healthy alternative (like a piece of fruit) instead? If she's truly "starving", she'll eat it, if she's just wanted the not so healthy option, then you know she's actually not.

We do that with Aidan in the evenings. We don't do any snack after supper, mostly because he's usually just not that hungry later in the day, but if he does say he is, is only option is fruit.

mylene169 April 10th, 2013 04:13 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
I've been enforcing the healthy option for snacks lately. Otherwise she helps herself to the entire bag of Goldfish or an entire sleeve of saltines or something ridiculous. It doesn't help that I work all afternoon while Kolbie is napping and sometimes I'm not paying enough attention and realize what she's doing.

Today actually went pretty well, surprisingly. She only asked for the pizza and I told her she'd have to wait until 4 when Kolbie woke up. When she got up Kaija got them both a cheese stick and I never heard the words "I'm hungry" at all. I'm finding it also makes a difference when what we're having for dinner is something she likes. Tonight we're having chicken enchiladas and she loves them. But if she knows we're having pork chops or something she isn't so in love with she seems more likely to be "hungry" all afternoon.

*Cyndee* April 10th, 2013 07:43 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
Is she eating out of boredom or habit? Maddie pulls that alot with wanting a 'treat' (not a SNACK). She's always hungry after school.

Here is our schedule home or at school:
7:30-8 Breakfast - Pancake with OJ or Milk or Water.
10:30 Snack with Juice or water (usually a pack of muffins or dry snack)
12:00 Lunch - Milk or water
3:00 afternoon snack - dry snack with juice or water.
4 she can have a treat after school
*start the whining and complaining of non stop hunger and wanting another treat or sweet*
5-6 is dinner, I try to hold off as long as possible - milk with dinner.
7 is final call for any dessert or sweet - she likes having a popsicle while taking a bath lately.
7:30 for books or games before bed is last call for dry snack - popcorn or vedgie sticks with water.
8-8:30 is bed, nothing after brush teeth.

I tell her if she is still hungry at any point in the day she needs to eat more at meals and the more she asks for a 'treat' the more she loses them, warnings always work. She can be miserable complaining about food but I think half the time she's just bored or finding a way to get attention b/c I give her options and she never knows what she wants and melts down. It's stupid. I hate it.

I would impose limits on breakfast too. 5-6 pancakes is crazy and could be inflating her tummy for lack of later as large meals. I limit maddie to 1 pancakes, one waffle, or cereal and I supplement a fruit if she will eat it. Second pancakes are rare and only after finishing a fruit.

*Cyndee* April 10th, 2013 07:50 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
I'm starting to remove the word treat or snack and just refer to 'something to eat' and keep all food out of sight/mind unless it's healthy.

Popcorn is a great snack for kids. Its fun to eat, fills them up and when cooked at home in an air popper you can add fun low cal toppings to it to make it fun for her too. A special time of day for that can get her excited and focusing her appetite as long as you limit portions.

bostoncreampie April 10th, 2013 08:52 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
It sounds like she's eating an awful lot of carbs. It sounds like she isn't getting near enough protein? If she is truly eating that many carbs, her body could literally be addicted to them and she feels like she just needs more and more. If you do carbs, make sure it's all whole grains as that'll satisfy her more. Do bacon and eggs instead of cereal and bread. Offer trail mix and nuts, etc throughout the day. I'm guessing it'll be really hard to cut the carbs out some but after she does for awhile she'll feel a lot more satisfied!

.Michelle. April 10th, 2013 10:27 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
Does she eat many veggies? I know personally for me if I eat a lot of veggies or things full of nutrients, and cut out carbs and sugar I don't get hungry as often. However if I eat a bunch of carbs or sugar I crave more very often and it becomes an endless cycle. Perhaps try to offer her less carbs?

EDIT: i just read Kristen's response after I posted this and I think we are saying similar things. I agree with adding in more protein too. It will probably take her at least a week or more to get used to a new diet.

mylene169 April 10th, 2013 11:14 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
I wish I could get this kid to eat more protein. Peanut butter is the one thing I know she'll eat that has some amount of protein in it. Admittedly, we are a poor vegetable eating family as a whole. As a general rule we try to do whole grains when at all possible. I've started limiting breakfast to try to get the rest of the day back on track. I wish I could get motivated to actually make better breakfasts. I work after the girls are in bed and usually am up until 1 a.m. working and I can barely get myself going and eating something in the morning let alone doing much more than putting a waffle in the toaster or pouring a bowl of cereal. I do really need to do better about this - for all of us.

I got Shannon's granola recipe a few weeks ago and asked if she might like that. So I think I'm going to have her help me pick some things to put in it so that she'll eat it.

Cyndee, our rough schedule is really very similar to Maddie's. We used to do a pre-bedtime snack but it started to become an issue where she wouldn't eat dinner, so we cut it out and it hasn't seemed to be a problem. It's getting from lunch to dinner that gets stressful.

OceanGirl April 10th, 2013 11:53 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
Mylene, if she loves pancakes, there are a ton of recipes for protein pancakes if you Google. You could easily make one big batch at the beginning of the month and stick them in the freezer. They would be just as convenient as frozen waffles. If she eats hard boiled eggs, they are fast for morning too. Maybe some veggie sausage or nuts? Oatmeal is also very filling. I'm not much help on getting her to stop snacking because I have always been a grazer myself. I just make sure my snacks are healthy and I do eat smaller dinner portions when I snack a lot. I try not to make food quantities an isue in ohr house but I do try to make healthy options more accessible than unhealthy treats.

mylene169 April 11th, 2013 07:14 AM

Re: Meals/Snacks
Thanks Kristin, I'll have to look into that.

DH and I had a talk about it and we both agree that making quantities a big deal is a bad idea, so as long as she eats something at dinner we don't mind. But she has to have at least one bite of everything on her plate at a minimum. We don't really have many unhealthy snacks, but we definitely don't have healthy snacks either.

TheMommyProject April 11th, 2013 07:15 AM

Re: Meals/Snacks
Mylene - what's your meal structure like? Do you eat as a family? I know your DH is on shift, so I'm assuming it would just be yourself with the girls at supper time, but do you eat with them? think it's important to have structure like that around your meals and it also helps when the child can learn by example from watching how/what their parent is eating. They use that concept in daycares around here where the teachers eat the same meal as the children at the table at the same time, for the purpose of helping to educate good eating habits, so I figure there must be something to it. There are rare occasions where we have to feed Aidan by himself and those are almost always the least successful meals and usually when I need to default to mac 'n cheese.

We struggle with proteins here too, he is just not a fan of meat and since supper is usually built around a protein, that meal is our toughest. Fortunately, he's developed a real liking for eggs. Does Kaija like eggs? We even do breakfast for supper once a week or so. Since he loves breakfast food anyway, it's a good opportunity to have an easy meal centred around eggs and it's a bit of a novelty for Aidan.

~Devon~ April 11th, 2013 09:15 AM

Re: Meals/Snacks
Jacob is pretty good, Paige is our snacker. She constantly wants snacks in the morning then doesn't eat breakfast etc. I've started giving one snack before breakfast and one in the afternoon before dinner.

I agree with the others about more proteins, fruit & veggies. It's hard to introduce something new to them at this age but who knows, it might be something they end up loving! What if you ask her to choose a new snack while grocery shopping; bell peppers, cucumber. Oh, what about hummus? My kids love it!

*Cyndee* April 11th, 2013 10:21 AM

Re: Meals/Snacks
Maddie loves hardboiled eggs as snacks, I usually boil a few a week and keep them in the fridge.

TheMommyProject April 11th, 2013 11:26 AM

Re: Meals/Snacks
One other thought... do you garden or have spot for a veggie garden? Aidan is a half decent veggie eater, not a ton of variety (that's my fault), but he'll eat some. But, when we have our own stuff that we grow, he always eats more of them. Of course, that only helps for a few months of the year, but it's a fun/educational thing to do together and may give a chance to try some new things.

mylene169 April 11th, 2013 02:13 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
The only meal that's not eaten all together is breakfast. I eat with the girls at the table for lunch and dinner we all sit down together. DH is on 3rd shift so we do get to have dinner together.

I recently discovered she likes hard boiled eggs, so we'll be doing more of those for her, for sure! We attempted a veggie garden last summer and it bombed, lol! We got string beans out of it and the girls both tried them, they weren't huge fans. We're going to try again this summer. I usually try to have her pick a few things at the store that are healthy. Her faves are frozen blueberries and apples. She also really likes yogurt, which I could get more often as well. I took some cut up apples and oranges to a dinner a few weeks ago and no one really ate them. The next day I had the apples out and between Kaija and I we ate them all - about 5 apples worth of slices! Oops!

TheMommyProject April 11th, 2013 02:24 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
So, I'm pretty sure Aidan is reading my social media posts. On the way out to eat last night, after school and before swimming, I hear... "I'm hungry, snack please". I tell him we're 10 minutes from having dinner "but I'm staaaaaaaaarving". He never says that! I laughed (only because of the irony to this thread) and that pissed him off even more. :lol:

He never did get the snack and thankfully we truly were only minutes from having supper, so I didn't have to listen to it repetitively!

bostoncreampie April 11th, 2013 03:42 PM

Re: Meals/Snacks
I would just put my foot down. There is no way I would let Walter eat 6 pancakes without having any protein. He eats a frozen waffle and I make him eat a banana before he gets a second. If he complains, so be it... I would just put your foot down too and say if she wants more carbs she has to have something else first. I have a great recipe for healthy pancakes with oatmeal and wheat germ if you want it.

You can do protein shakes too, with frozen fruit and a scoop if protein powder.

spicymustard April 13th, 2013 07:45 AM

I might try to limit the number of pancakes but then if she wants more food after limit to fruits and vegetables. Also the same if she wants lots of in between meal snacks. Lilly often wants something 15 minutes before dinner is ready and I tell her she can eat an apple, banana, or we always keep carrots, celery, and sugar snap peas in the house that she likes to eat. It seems to work out pretty well because if she really is starving then she gets something to help with that and if not at least it's good for them. :-)

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