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Thread: Should Children be allowed to graze?

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    Should Children be allowed to graze?

    I want to address the topic of grazing (defined as the child choosing when and how much to eat as they feel like it and not following a defined eating schedule). Since it wasn't the point of another thread it was mentioned in I thought it would be best discussed here in debates.

    In this thread we're addressing eating habits in school aged children... not babies and toddlers.

    This article is good I think. It pretty much reflects my take on nutrition and kids...

    http://health.discovery.com/centers/...t/ff_kids.html

    addressing the specific topic is this...

    Dr. Ayoob suggests keeping kids on a regular meal and snack schedule — three meals and two to three snacks per day is appropriate. Though grazing may work for you, he advises against letting your kids do it, because what they're eating may not be nutritionally complete and it may interfere with their appetite for meals.
    and then from

    http://www.healthyweightnetwork.com/zart6.htm

    more families are snacking or “grazing” instead of eating regular meals. Meals are more likely than snacks to follow healthy eating principles of balance, variety, and moderation.

    I just don't see a problem with parents, parenting... and that includes with feeding their children. I see learning self-control, delayed-gratification and moderation as a good thing. Now, during the first year I nursed DD whenever she wanted it. As a toddler she is allowed to graze for the most part. She tells me when she's hungry and I get her something to eat. Now... it she's hungry and I'm fixing dinner right then I tell her, ok honey, I'm fixing dinner now and she says ok and gets herself in her booster seat and sits ready for me to bring the food over.

    Right now the kids are following the 3 meals and a couple snacks a day thing. But with them going to school I can't see that they are actually eating what I send and not trading their healthy foods for junk or just throwing most of their food away. I am really looking forward to starting homeschool. I will be able to make sure my kids are eating good healthy hot meals daily and getting regular healthy yet tastey snacks in between. DS who is not a morning eater can start his first lesson for the day while DD is eating her breakfast and can take his breakfast as soon as his body is ready for it. The rest of the days meals and snacks can be scheduled out evenly with lessons and activities. The kids will love having unlimited access to ice cold filtered water throughout the day.

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    I'm just here for the lulz. Sarsparilla's Avatar
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    The rest of the days meals and snacks can be scheduled out evenly with lessons and activities.
    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.

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    Full Sponsor RealCranky's Avatar
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    Yes. I think that children need to learn to eat when they are hungry, and not eat when they are not hungry.

    As long as most of the food available to them is healthy, I think it is better to let them choose what to eat, and when.

    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 ;-)

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    Anyone for tennis? Michelle's Avatar
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    I don't see anything wrong with grazing, but I do see potential problems with what they might be grazing on.

    When I was in elementary school we had a garden out back that covered about a quarter acre. We had strawberries, raspberries, green beans, peas, tomatoes, and a host of things that made their way to the dinner table as well.

    Mom used to send us outside to "graze" in the summertime when we begged hunger in off times. We could stuff ourselves in the garden as much as we wanted to, in addition to regularly scheduled meals and snacks. We were all skinny as heck, too (mostly because we were playing outside all day ).

    We had plenty of opportunities to learn self-control and delayed gratification outside of the food arena.
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    Inactive Member allboys4me's Avatar
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    My children are allowed to eat when they want and what they want. I have a huge variety of food in the house. Most heathly, some junk. I refuse to have arguments about food with them. I can not control their bodies. Only they know if they are hungry, thirsty, tired - those are naturally occuring things that happen at different times of day on different days. Grazing allows them to eat when they are hungry and avoid melt downs caused by low blood sugar and hunger.

    My sons are incredibly active and participate in sports on a daily basis. They need a higher level of protein and carbs that an average kid their age to make up for the energy expended on the ice on a daily basis. They eat on average - 4 meals a day. Carbs and protein are offered an hour an a half before practice. A lighter healthier meal is prepared after practice. They also eat breakfast before school and lunch at school. Snack is normally cereal or the like when they get home.

    I have a completely different hunger schedule. I don't like to be forced to eat when I am not hungry and I don't like to be told I can't eat when I am hungry. I am perfectly capable of making sure my hunger issues are taken care of when they should be. I trust that my children have the same capability.
    When we really understand the fact of separate realities, we will stop spending so much time and energy trying to change the reality of others.


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    I'm just here for the lulz. Sarsparilla's Avatar
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    he advises against letting your kids do it, because what they're eating may not be nutritionally complete and it may interfere with their appetite for meals.
    Two things wrong here: (1) if you are providing the grazing snacks, you'll make sure it's good nutrition, and (2) why are meals sacred? My mother, who was actually a pretty good eating role model for me growing up, thinks that any meal eaten after about 7 is "so late!". But what if I ate lunch at 2:30 and wasn't hungry when dinner was ready at 5:30? But I'm hungry at 9, so I fix us a meal and we eat.
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    Shrieking Violet Sprockey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RealCranky View Post
    Yes. I think that children need to learn to eat when they are hungry, and not eat when they are not hungry.

    As long as most of the food available to them is healthy, I think it is better to let them choose what to eat, and when.

    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 ;-)

    This

    and what Sars said.

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    Moderator Shaena's Avatar
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    I provde a good breakfast in the morning, lunch at school, and a good dinner at dinnertime.

    in between those times if my kiddo feels hungry she likely is. I try to keep only healthy stuff in the house. I really don't have problem with my daughter having a helping of carrot sticks on her own choosing before her supper. if the snacks I keep in the house are always healthy I cannot imagine how she could miss an important nutrient by the end of her day.

    I don't deny treat type food-cookies and ice cream, but those would likely be the "lets sit together at the table and enjoy that serving together" type deal when it does happen.So we can model a healthy way of eating the "fun" stuff.

    I just refuse to make something like food regimented.

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    Member caramia's Avatar
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    We have food in the house that my 8yo daughter is allowed to eat whenever she wants. Generally it's yogurt, fruit, vegetables, nuts, etc...

    When she was younger I used to keep a drawer and a shelf in the fridge that was free to her, but we don't need to do that now.

    She definitely goes through growth spurts where she eats much, much more than normal for a month or two and then she slows down again. She did this last fall and then she grew so much that we had to buy her a whole new pants wardrobe- twice.

    When she was young all she wanted to eat were dairy products- warm milk, cheese, & yogurt. In those days I had to direct her towards certain things because I didn't want her living off of purely yogurt. Now though, I trust her and she generally makes good choices.

    It works for us. She still eats good meals most of the time, so whatever. Even she didn't eat dinner because she'd just eaten yogurt & carrot sticks, who cares? She just ate yogurt & carrot sticks!

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    Premier Sponsor Kael's Avatar
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    We have 3 set meal times, with grazing in between.

    Except for my 5 year old who is afternoon Kindergarten which means lunch is at 10:45 in the morning so a second lunch is required at 3 when he gets home. This also means that DS 4 eats two lunches on his off days from preschool since I can't feed one child lunch and not the other.

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