Meal Wars – Part 4: The Child Who Asks for Snacks All the Time

Some children ask for snacks all the time. In this series, I have provided parents with some ideas to help you and your child cope between meals:

1. Provide regular meal and snack times. This will save you the worry that your child is going hungry and will help your child to curb a frequent snacking habit.

2. Children frequently mistake being tired or bored for being hungry. Help your child work out what they are truly feeling.

Ask if they are really hungry, but fight the urge to tell children, “You are not hungry.”

Notice if your child is acting out of boredom or tiredness, and help to address these feelings first.

Figure out if your child just wants your attention.

Take a few minutes to stop and give your child some one-on-one time.

3. If your child really seems to be hungry, offer a part of the next meal or a choice of fruit or vegetable as a snack. Even with structured meal times, there may be times when you need to be flexible. You are the best judge. I tell my son that he can have carrots or celery if he asks before dinner. If he refuses, then I know he might not be really hungry. As a mom, I would be fine with offering him that option if it’s warranted.

Please see my other posts for the previous Meal Wars series. And don’t forget your responsibilities and your child’s when meal time comes. It takes preactice just like anything else we do.

About Sharon M., MS RD

As a registered dietitian and a master gardener, I know the healing power of food. Nothing has given me more satisfaction than growing my own food. I have experience working in the public health field, including school districts. I have worked with pregnant moms, children, diabetics, and bariatric patients. I emphasis a plant-based, whole food diet. Yet, I appreciate the movement of eating sustainably, while hoping folks appreciate the bean as a source of protein. "To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld "Feeding is going well if both you and yor child are having a good time." -Ellyn Satter
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2 Responses to Meal Wars – Part 4: The Child Who Asks for Snacks All the Time

  1. Caroline says:

    One technique I really like for school aged kids is to get a plastic container (clear plastic shoe containers work great) and fill it with a days servings of fruit and veggies, like apple slices, cucumber, or whatever healthy fair the child likes. When they ask for a snack they know they can have whatever is in the box. The child practices making choices for themselves from a set of positive choices, mom and dad don’t have to constantly suggest what to eat, and everyone understands whatever is in that box is an OK anytime snack.

    • Sharon M., MS RD says:

      That’s a great idea. I used to tell moms to leave a fruit bowl on the counter so their kids (and them) are more likely to eat them. Works great in the summer with grapes…kids will keep eating them 🙂

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