My daughter is 3 and wants to snack all day long — every day!
I hear the words “Snack, mom” all day long. I feed her crackers, cheese, apples, strawberries. Mostly healthy snacks. Cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly or chicken nuggets, veggies and a fruit for lunch. But it’s all the sudden constant, and even immediately after lunch.
Finally, we figured out a few things to help her stay full longer.
When I was talking to a friend, she said that she was having the same issues with her kids, so I wondered what other parents are doing to curb the constant snacking. We asked this same question on Facebook and of course, the parents on our Facebook Page came to the rescue with some amazing ideas!
1. “Give her foods that are full of fiber and more protein. For breakfast give her eggs or spread avocado on top of whole grain toast. For snacks try olives, avocado, apples, green vegetables, peas, etc. Make sure she is drinking enough water. I’m willing to bet the she is hitting a growth spurt so she needs more food. At three I would not worry about the amount of food she is eating, I would just direct her toward healthy snacks and not make a big deal out of eating. She will eat when she wants to and she will not when she does not need to.” ~Amber B
2. “My daughter was the same way as a toddler. I made snack cards (index cards with the names and picture of various snacks on them) and I chose a few each day and put them in an envelope. When she was hungry for a snack she would take out a card of her choice and I would give her that snack. When she used up all her cards the snacks were done for the day. It worked great!” ~Melissa O
3. “I offer higher protein snacks (trail mix, Greek yogurt, edamame, roasted chickpeas, etc.) when my son gets hungry in between meals. This usually curbs his appetite in a super healthy way. He LOVES fruit and veggies, but he gets hungry again too quickly. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely have days when it’s animal crackers and fruit snacks too.” ~Lindsey H
4. “Only allow snacks if she ate most of her lunch. You could always offer her veggies during non-snack times. If she’s truly hungry she’ll eat it, if she’s just bored she’ll pass or eat it anyway which extra veggies aren’t going to hurt her. She may be going through a growth spurt or even thirsty. Make her drink a cup of water before that extra snack she’s wanting too.” ~ Shandy K
5. “I don’t limit anything for my kids, if they are hungry I feed them. They are growing kids. I do lie to offer healthy snacks and lots of fruits and veggies. If it’s bothering you that she’s eating so much, I would set up more activities for her because she could just be bored and want to eat because of that.” ~Carolanne S
6. “Have set eating times. Example: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Give her healthy foods that are balanced to satisfy hunger. Then – no eating in between times. If she throws a tantrum, walk away until it’s over. If she whines, distract her with activities that she likes to do. Don’t give in! It might take a week or so before she gets it.” ~Kathie G
7. “I say the kitchen is closed. I do last call for breakfast and lunch, etc. They have a morning and an afternoon snack. I have carrot and cucumber sticks in fridge that they can snack on in between.” ~Vanessa V
8. “I usually keep snacks to a few healthy options…yogurt, cheese stick, fruits, veggies or nuts. If I give too many snacks they don’t eat dinner.” ~Emily P
9. “My kids both have a “snack jar” every morning they pick 3 snacks to put in it. Other than meals this is all they are allowed for the day. They can eat them whenever they want, but when they are gone they can’t have more until tomorrow.” ~Charlee H
10. “My daughter was like that, and I never worried. They eat like birds at that age. Little bits, often. I think it’s more conducive for their high activity levels. She eventually settled into a ‘three meals, and one or two snacks’ routine once she started school.” ~Julie R
11. Remember that kids can’t tell hunger from thirst, most times, so if you don’t think that your child is hungry, offer water or something to drink.
12. Distract your child with an activity. Many people eat mindlessly when they are bored and children are no different. Keep your kids busy and you’ll notice that soon you’ll be asking them them to eat instead of them ask you to eat.