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Thread: Should Children be allowed to graze?

  1. #11
    Member JAD's Avatar
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    I pretty much let them eat what/when they want within reason (no ice cream for breakfast :) ) I'm also really big on NOT making them finish their meal if they say their full. I do like to make a bit of a ceremony out of dinner time simply because it's nice for us all to sit together and chat but it's about being together, not about the food, so if my 3.5 yo has already eaten by the time the older two are ready I let him go. If my kids are hungry before my DH and I are going to eat I'll still sit and talk with them.

    My kids have really different tastes from eachother (DD is all carbs and sweets, DS is all fruits and veggies and youngest could live off cheese) but they are all rather slim (15%, 25% and 50% for weight) and very active physically.

  2. #12
    Inactive Member Waffle's Avatar
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    I think grazing can become mindless eating so I don't encourage it. I also hate seeing people dragging food and drinks around all over the place everywhere I go.

    However, I have no problem with putting healthy food on a plate and sitting down at the table to eat it if someone is really hungry. I also believe having regularly scheduled meals and snacks is important, so that for the most part the need for grazing just isn't there. I read somewhere that it's really unlikely that a (healthy) body would actually need to eat more often than every 3 hours, but obviously that could vary with growing children.
    *~*~I'd like it if they liked us~*~*

  3. #13
    HI! Wise Old Goat's Avatar
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    One thing I have learned with my own struggles with weight as an adult is that I never learned to listen to my own body's cues. Most experts now agree that the best way to avoid future food issues is to allow children the ability to recognize their body's cues - not my schedule for when I think they should be hungry.

    Ds eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He has a snack at school and when he gets home if he is hungry (which he always is) he has another one. If he says "mum can I have a muffin" twenty minutes before dinner then I will say no, but you can have some veggies or crackers or something. Children's tummies are different then ours. If he's goofing around at dinner when I know he's hungry I will encourage him to eat, but I will never insist he eats when he says he's full. If he eats squat at dinner for whatever reason and then says he's hungry he can have a snack later.

    I don't consider this rewarding him for bad behaviour, I consider it respecting his understanding of his needs. We have dessert available to him every night - but unless it's a birthday dessert = fruit. If he doesn't like his main course he can have 3 oranges for all I care. As long as he gets the calories and nutrition he needs I don't care when. If we are having a family dinner I expect him to make an effort to sit at the table, but when he's finished he's allowed to leave.

    He is a grazer, but you know what that doesn't equate to him constantly eating. He eats when he's hungry stops when he's full. He ALWAYS asks me first if he can have a snack and my answer is always the same "of course - you don't need to ask". The cupboard and fridge is open to him for whatever he wants. We don't have cookies or that kind of junk in the house. We do have chips (for dh) and ds has to ask for those (just because they're high), but he rarely does.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarsparilla View Post
    Every bit of knowledge I have gained from years of learning about weight and nutrition says people need to listen to their bodies and eat when we are hungry and even more importantly, don't eat if you are not hungry, even if it's "mealtime". If I had learned to listen to my inner physical hunger as a child, I am convinced many of my adult struggles with healthy eating would have been nonexistent.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=eatin...ient=firefox-a
    So, what's wrong with having 3 meals and 2-3 snacks and eating during those times according to how hungry you are or are not? That's what I'm saying and I think it's somewhat close to what you're saying. Sometimes my kids will eat a huge amount at a meal, sometimes they won't eat much (but we do encourage them to eat a few bites of protein and some veggies, making it more of a snack sized meal... we never push starches... we never force feed... we use our best judgement based on each child and current circumstances).

    Thing is... if you're sending your kids to public/private/or charter school then they aren't allowed to eat any time they want (unless they have a medical reason and a doctors note)... I don't see how what I'm planning for homeschool is any worse... in fact I think it's much better. I think homeschool will be a much more natural environment for having a meal schedule that meets the needs of the whole family and allows for everyones nutrional needs to be satisfied.

    Having a ds who has food allergies for his first 5 years of life (and a Mom who has had food allergies for her whole life) and having an endocrine disorder myself (where nutrition is key in controling my symptoms) I have researched a lot about nutrition and physical fitness beyond even what I got in college. I consider myself not an expert, but well educated. I realize there are some differences of opinion when it comes to nutrition and so I make choices according to what I've learned and what best fits the needs of myself and my family.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RealCranky View Post
    I like to cook, and I fix a nice hot dinner every night, and often a nice hot breakfast, too, but my kids aren't toddlers and if they aren't hungry at dinner, that's okay. They can heat something up when they want to, or have a sandwich, or some fruit, or cheese and crackers, or cheerios and milk, or juice...

    nesha ;-)
    That may work for your family... and that's fine...

    but...

    I also think that having a family meal time is important. Meals are not just about nutrition... they are about being social and building relationships as well... I think families should sit down and eat together on a regular basis.

  6. #16
    Who? Ike's Avatar
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    Generally, my kids have 4 meals a day. Breakfast, lunch, after school, and dinner.

    They can have fruit, yogurt, or cheese whenever they want. It doesn't seem to interfere with meals at all.

    I'm not much into "snack food" like Goldfish and granola bars. I would prefer they eat food that has real substance. It's okay for once in a while, though.

    My pediatrician wholeheartedly supports this.
    Karen

  7. #17
    Moderator Shaena's Avatar
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    I don't know, if I think about when my kid requests to eat outside of the 3 meals a day, its likely equals 3 snacks a day. twice at home, and her school does a fruit or veg snack in the afternoon-today it was jicama-kinda cool. At home she gets to decide when the usual twice a day snack occurs.

    I think people are confusing what some of us think of as "grazing". I equate it with smaller meals and snacks through the day, and NOT never being without a handfull of goodies all day long.

  8. #18
    Member JAD's Avatar
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    Based on what you all are saying in this thread, I just have to say I think you guys would if you saw the food I let my kids eat. I offer healthy snacks too, but my kids eat fruit snacks, cheese-its, cookies, and a lot of other junk way more often than any of yours do apparently.

    mom

  9. #19
    In her happy place Stanny's Avatar
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    My kids are in public school, and as teenagers, they are allowed (and encouraged) to bring a bottle of water and healthy snack to enjoy any time they wish. I think this started around grade 6. I'm not sure if the culture for snacking has changed, or if it is because they are teenagers.

    I wasn't a big one for letting my kids "graze" but if they were hungry, I'd let them eat. I don't keep chips or junk food in the house, because they would disappear immediately (through no fault of theirs ;) ) I'm big on fresh fruit and veggies, string cheese, yogurt, milk, and water. And at an early age, they could make their own sandwiches.

    I really think kids don't drink enough water and ask for it first. When we have kids friends over, and they ask for something to drink, sometimes they look at me funny when I show them where the water is.


    I don't believe in astrology; I'm a Sagittarius and we're skeptical. Arthur C. Clark

  10. #20
    In her happy place Stanny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by *~Carrie~* View Post
    I also think that having a family meal time is important. Meals are not just about nutrition... they are about being social and building relationships as well... I think families should sit down and eat together on a regular basis.
    I totally agree with this. As they become teenagers, it doesn't happen so often because of work and activity schedules though, so enjoy it while you can.


    I don't believe in astrology; I'm a Sagittarius and we're skeptical. Arthur C. Clark

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