Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Snacking, grazing and meals...

Shelly posted a comment, about kids wanting to snack all day and not wanting to eat their meals.
Here's her comment...
Melinda,
I'm curious. How often do your kids eat during the day? Mostly your younger A's, since they seem to line up with my kids. I'm struggling with the kids wanting to graze all day, then they don't eat their meals. Then when they don't eat their meals they get hungry soon and it's created a vicious cycle of my kids snacking, not always on the best foods, and not eating their more nutritious meals. Any suggestions for me?



hmm...well one of the biggest problems I have with snacking and grazing all day, is that I, Mama Bear am a grazer!! So yes, naturally my children are too. All the things I will suggest, are not always true, nor do they happen each day. Please, please, PLEASE keep in mind, there are almost no perfect days around here!


I guess the first suggestion I would give, and this is something I can honestly say about us, let them snack healthy. All the snacks we have in our house are healthy. We do on occasion have sugary candy, snacks and treats...however these are so rare, it's almost never. Also all our food is whole grain {nothing processed}, natural sugars {non processed cane sugar, honey, agave, stevia, and even better completely natural...things like fruit juices} no hydrogenated oils.. so all our sweets are either homemade, or purchased at health food stores. This makes it, not only healthier, but also, in our case, harder to get. Meaning there are less of them. Another thing, is almost always when an A asks for a snack, my response is you may have a fruit or a vegetable.


Next is that we have a pretty strict meal time schedule. This is not so much from me, but from my children. When I notice they are getting whiny, pouty, tired and the sort....it's usually meal time. For the most part, A7 is a grazer, but that's simply because he can't sit long enough to eat! The rest of the children don't get snacks too often. I usually only allow a snack in the late afternoon, around 3pm. Sometimes we will have something around 10-11am, though this is very rare. It usually is when I notice everyone seems to be struggling with hunger. All snacks are also "approved" the A's must ask before eating, anything. So I can take mental notes on what they are eating, and how often.


Now, this is definitely not to say that they don't ask for snacks ALL DAY LONG! They do, but no they don't get them. I have one A, A4 he's a bottomless pit, seriously he will get up off the table, after eating his 3rd plate of dinner, and while clearing his dishes, be asking for a snack! I am SO Scared for the teenage years!! Papa Bear is always telling the A's he has to work so hard, to feed their big bellies!


We also have a pretty strict rule, you do not leave the table until your plate is cleaned. Even my younger A's, they may not always clean their plates, but they don't get down until Papa Bear or myself decide it is time. I also use meal times, as teaching times. This makes it so they have more of a reason to stay there, and well if food is right in their reach...they usually eat it.


We also have a rule there is no dessert {on the rare occasion it's offered} nor snacks unless you have eaten your whole meal. I give them all ample time to eat, and if an A doesn't finish in time, then those rewards are taken away. So if they don't eat their breakfast, or lunch {or in some cases both} then there is no 3pm snack. You must eat all the healthy meals, before you receive a reward.


I would honestly have to say, for the most part the only time my A's don't eat their food, quickly is when they don't like it. We also have a strict rule, that you get what you get and you don't throw a fit...you finish what you are given.


Even though I am a grazer, I truly try to eat healthy and show my children the value of health. I want them to understand that eating healthy not only helps their bodies {physically} but also their mental outlook...


Shelly, I hope I answered your question.... if not ask again! I LOVE to answer questions and comments. It not only tells me someone else enjoys my ramblings :p but... it also tells me that these crazy thoughts from this homeschool Mom, are helping others, and truly that's why I have this public blog. I learn so much from others, I love to pick others brains and thoughts. I love to take things that others say, and try them....but most importantly I like to make them my own.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Melinda. Just hearing what your family does has given me some ideas. I'm afraid it's going to be rocky for a while, while we implement some new rules but they will be worth it in the long run. The first thing I'm doing is putting up/throwing out most if not all of the junk food. Then I'll replace it with healthy things. I need to be stricter about not letting the kids have rewards if they don't finish their meals. What can I say, I'm a sucker and sometimes I'd rather just give in than hear the whining. I have a long road ahead of me. Not just in the food area, but other homeschooling areas as well. Thanks for all your ideas. I love reading your blog and getting new ideas. Since I'm just starting out on this homeschooling journey, I'll need LOTS of tips!!!
    Thanks again,
    Shelly

    ReplyDelete

since August 13, 2009

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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6