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Why are there more eating opportunities for kids now than in the past?

100df100df Posts: 668Member Member Posts: 668Member Member
Another thread got me thinking about kids and snacks. When I was growing up my organized activities didn't include snacks.

My mom didn't carry food or drink with her for us after age 2. If we were out and hungry, we had to suck it up until the next meal. We would have an afterschool snack. After kindergarten I didn't have snack at school. The only time I remember having a snack at organized activities was girl scouts. Juice and cookies usually.

It was expected that I would have food and drink on me wherever we went - the park, errands really anywhere. I would get the side-eye from the perfect mommies because I gave them water. I didn't serve juice because of the sticky factor. Mommy and Me had snacks. Gymnastics had snacks. Soccer and t-ball had snacks. Some were served and others I provided. I was expected to send a snack in until 6th grade.

What's the deal? Do kids need all this nourishment or are we giving them too many opportunities to eat? Do other parents think the snack thing is out of control? Is it different than when you grew up?

*edit to add I am talking about any foods, whether considered junk food, treats, fruits - anything.
edited April 2016
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Replies

  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    I dont know about anyone else but my kids are much more well-behaved and tolerable when fed. Kinda like myself.
    So I dont mind the snacks - nor do I mind snacks after the baseball game or other physical activity.

    Public school I have to pack snacks in addition to their lunch. They'll have an AM snack if their lunch is later or a PM snack if their lunch is early and an afternoon snack after school. I think thats great. Kids learn better when not hungry.
    *my son is ALWAYS hungry, BTW*
    My mom had snacks for me growing up- but I wasnt in a bunch of extra curricular things.
    Anyway my hanger was real then and is now...so snack me up!
    edited April 2016
  • CrisseydaCrisseyda Posts: 532Member Member Posts: 532Member Member
    Might be related to why over 10% of teenagers now have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

    My children at school are constantly inundated with snacks as part of activities, usually candy and treats. It's like every event demands some kind of food related craft that involves oreos, gummy worms, cupcakes, etc. Sure they make it look pinterest-y and cute, but the alarms in my head are going off. I wouldn't ever buy that stuff or give it to them at home. Why is the school sponsoring this? Why do I have to be the bad guy? When they bring candy home from school, I put it in a box on top of the fridge for after dinner treats. And usually I can convince them to eat something else.

    When my kids and I go out to the pool or park over the summer, I usually bring boiled eggs, cheese, apples, and carrots. If they don't want to eat any of that, then they probably aren't hungry.
  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    Might be related to why over 10% of teenagers now have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

    My children at school are constantly inundated with snacks as part of activities, usually candy and treats. It's like every event demands some kind of food related craft that involves oreos, gummy worms, cupcakes, etc. Sure they make it look pinterest-y and cute, but the alarms in my head are going off. I wouldn't ever buy that stuff or give it to them at home. Why is the school sponsoring this? Why do I have to be the bad guy? When they bring candy home from school, I put it in a box on top of the fridge for after dinner treats. And usually I can convince them to eat something else.

    When my kids and I go out to the pool or park over the summer, I usually bring boiled eggs, cheese, apples, and carrots. If they don't want to eat any of that, then they probably aren't hungry.

    Im glad our school doesnt allow parties with cupcakes,etc.

    OP- Just because its a "snack" - which simply implies food in between meal times - doesnt mean its junk food. My kids have a lot of healthy snacks and then some that are treat-like.
    edited April 2016
  • LKArghLKArgh Posts: 5,085Member Member Posts: 5,085Member Member
    It sounds like a cultural thing? I have never seen anyone carrying around snacks for older kids where I am and I have never heard of an after school activity that involves eating. How do you even offer snacks at something like soccer practice? I cannot even imagine how this would be implemented where I live: drop kids off, come back one or two hours later, pick kids up. It is sports practice for us, I guess in other places these things turn into social events?
  • chunky_pinupchunky_pinup Posts: 759Member Member Posts: 759Member Member
    I'm almost 32, so I don't know how far back you're talking, but we always had snacks growing up. We always had them after gymnastics meets or soccer practice and games...we had them in school, etc. My mom didn't carry a bag of snack food around for my brother and me if we were running errands, so like you, we would suck it up until we got home in those situations, but I remember always having snacks after a lot of the activities you mentioned. We were very active, so maybe because a lot of our activities we did expelled a lot of energy, but I have not noticed any real differences with my child. I mean, I wouldn't give her a big snack after something like a piano lesson, but I definitely would after an athletic practice, and it wasn't any different for me growing up.
  • ForecasterJasonForecasterJason Posts: 2,582Member Member Posts: 2,582Member Member
    MommyMeggo wrote: »
    Might be related to why over 10% of teenagers now have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

    My children at school are constantly inundated with snacks as part of activities, usually candy and treats. It's like every event demands some kind of food related craft that involves oreos, gummy worms, cupcakes, etc. Sure they make it look pinterest-y and cute, but the alarms in my head are going off. I wouldn't ever buy that stuff or give it to them at home. Why is the school sponsoring this? Why do I have to be the bad guy? When they bring candy home from school, I put it in a box on top of the fridge for after dinner treats. And usually I can convince them to eat something else.

    When my kids and I go out to the pool or park over the summer, I usually bring boiled eggs, cheese, apples, and carrots. If they don't want to eat any of that, then they probably aren't hungry.
    OP- Just because its a "snack" - which simply implies food in between meal times - doesnt mean its junk food. My kids have a lot of healthy snacks and then some that are treat-like.
    Yeah, that's how it was for me when I was a kid. I was allowed to eat snacks, but much of the time they were nutritious.

  • chunky_pinupchunky_pinup Posts: 759Member Member Posts: 759Member Member
    aggelikik wrote: »
    It sounds like a cultural thing? I have never seen anyone carrying around snacks for older kids where I am and I have never heard of an after school activity that involves eating. How do you even offer snacks at something like soccer practice? I cannot even imagine how this would be implemented where I live: drop kids off, come back one or two hours later, pick kids up. It is sports practice for us, I guess in other places these things turn into social events?

    I know for me, it was always before or after practice. If a practice was right after school and they knew we hadn't eaten since lunch 4-5 hours before, they'd have something like oranges and bananas for us. If it was later, we might have a similar snack for after practice to hold over until dinner. It wasn't to make it a social event, and we didn't snack during practice.
  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    aggelikik wrote: »
    It sounds like a cultural thing? I have never seen anyone carrying around snacks for older kids where I am and I have never heard of an after school activity that involves eating. How do you even offer snacks at something like soccer practice? I cannot even imagine how this would be implemented where I live: drop kids off, come back one or two hours later, pick kids up. It is sports practice for us, I guess in other places these things turn into social events?

    The small kids' activities are where I see the snacks. The older they get, not so much.
    The little ones grab the snack after the game and head on their way.

    Three meals and 2 snacks a day is what is usually recommended for younger children.
  • 100df100df Posts: 668Member Member Posts: 668Member Member
    MommyMeggo wrote: »
    Might be related to why over 10% of teenagers now have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

    My children at school are constantly inundated with snacks as part of activities, usually candy and treats. It's like every event demands some kind of food related craft that involves oreos, gummy worms, cupcakes, etc. Sure they make it look pinterest-y and cute, but the alarms in my head are going off. I wouldn't ever buy that stuff or give it to them at home. Why is the school sponsoring this? Why do I have to be the bad guy? When they bring candy home from school, I put it in a box on top of the fridge for after dinner treats. And usually I can convince them to eat something else.

    When my kids and I go out to the pool or park over the summer, I usually bring boiled eggs, cheese, apples, and carrots. If they don't want to eat any of that, then they probably aren't hungry.

    Im glad our school doesnt allow parties with cupcakes,etc.

    OP- Just because its a "snack" - which simply implies food in between meal times - doesnt mean its junk food. My kids have a lot of healthy snacks and then some that are treat-like.

    I should have specified that I am talking any foods whether considered junk food or healthy foods.
  • JeromeBarry1JeromeBarry1 Posts: 10,118Member Member Posts: 10,118Member Member
    Calories in the Western societies are more abundant and cheaper than ever before. That's part of the problem. What was a luxury in generations past, sugar, is cheaper than bottled water now. With plastic packaging and portable refrigerators running on 12V car power, food everywhere is going to become even more of a problem.
  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    100df wrote: »
    MommyMeggo wrote: »
    Might be related to why over 10% of teenagers now have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

    My children at school are constantly inundated with snacks as part of activities, usually candy and treats. It's like every event demands some kind of food related craft that involves oreos, gummy worms, cupcakes, etc. Sure they make it look pinterest-y and cute, but the alarms in my head are going off. I wouldn't ever buy that stuff or give it to them at home. Why is the school sponsoring this? Why do I have to be the bad guy? When they bring candy home from school, I put it in a box on top of the fridge for after dinner treats. And usually I can convince them to eat something else.

    When my kids and I go out to the pool or park over the summer, I usually bring boiled eggs, cheese, apples, and carrots. If they don't want to eat any of that, then they probably aren't hungry.

    Im glad our school doesnt allow parties with cupcakes,etc.

    OP- Just because its a "snack" - which simply implies food in between meal times - doesnt mean its junk food. My kids have a lot of healthy snacks and then some that are treat-like.

    I should have specified that I am talking any foods whether considered junk food or healthy foods.



    Smaller children who are growing need to eat more often; the older you get, the less often.
    The AAP recommends 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day.

    And absolutely, growing children need nourishment. Not in the form of cupcakes and candy daily- but nourishment, yes.
  • serenityfryeserenityfrye Posts: 339Member Member Posts: 339Member Member
    I clearly remember having an after school snack as a child because we ate dinner late and I couldn't go 6-7 hours without eating. My high school also had a cookie break mid morning but I think that was just a boarding school thing. I still eat at least one snack per day to keep my blood sugar level and make sure my kids do as well. They focus better with a little fuel mid morning and afternoon. I do get frustrated though that they're perfectly happy to snack on veggies, nuts, bananas etc at home but complain when I send them to school because most of the other kid's bring cookies and cheese puffs and the like for snacks. My kids would bounce off the walls (not to mention be starving again 20 minutes later) if they ate that for snack.
  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    Calories in the Western societies are more abundant and cheaper than ever before. That's part of the problem. What was a luxury in generations past, sugar, is cheaper than bottled water now. With plastic packaging and portable refrigerators running on 12V car power, food everywhere is going to become even more of a problem.

    Which is the issue: the snack or the content?
    The OP is asking about snacking in general, not necessarily the sugar- which is abundant yes.

    So, why is "snacking" a problem?
    If every snack was peanut butter on celery, or cheese cubes and grapes would it be an issue?
  • msf74msf74 Posts: 3,501Member Member Posts: 3,501Member Member
    Consumerism innit.
  • earlnabbyearlnabby Posts: 7,474Member Member Posts: 7,474Member Member
    Growing up in the 60's, we had a morning "snack" of a cup of milk from kindergarten through 6th grade. That was it besides lunch. Most (including my family) would have a snack after school. Mom was a teacher so we were "latch-key" kids for 40 minutes before she came home but Mom had something on the table like peanut butter and graham crackers for us to fix ourselves. During the summer, we usually had a mid-afternoon snack after coming home from the beach or whatever we were doing.

    High School had vending machines so we could get our own snacks during free periods.

    I substitute teach in elementary school and it does seem like the kids are always eating. I don't get it.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    100df wrote: »
    Another thread got me thinking about kids and snacks. When I was growing up my organized activities didn't include snacks.

    I had the same exact thoughts (I suspect we are talking about the same thread).

    My experience was the same as you describe -- no snacks at school after pre-school. (I only went to a half day pre-school and can't remember, but I think there was juice.) An after-school snack. Sometimes (not always) snacks at girl scouts. Occasionally holiday-related celebrations at school with food (like a Halloween party). Beyond that, it was "you'll spoil your dinner" or we were expected to wait.

    Things do seem different now.

    Is it bad? I don't know -- for me eating all the time is bad and I prefer not to snack, and I kind of think the idea that we should be eating so often, even for kids, leads to more calorie consumption and just a weird reaction to hunger (like that it's bad to wait a couple of hours once one feels a little hungry, something I see with MFP newbies sometimes).

    I think there are bigger differences, like that ideas about the proper size of snacks seem to have changed and that some kids seem to be drinking soda all the time. (I live near a school and have a lot of friends with children who have grown up in the snacking all the time culture, and for the most part the kids aren't overweight, so I don't think snacking inherently leads to excess calories, but I think it can encourage it if there's not more monitoring, whereas I think the old way of eating less often and having more social ideas about what meals were to contain tended to mean that people ate fewer calories without having to think about it.)
    edited April 2016
  • LounmounLounmoun Posts: 8,433Member Member Posts: 8,433Member Member
    100df wrote: »
    What's the deal? Do kids need all this nourishment or are we giving them too many opportunities to eat? Do other parents think the snack thing is out of control? Is it different than when you grew up?

    *edit to add I am talking about any foods, whether considered junk food, treats, fruits - anything.

    Yes, it is different from when I was a kid. We never took food and drinks with us everywhere. We weren't on the go as much either.

    Yes, I think the expectation of snacks at every single activity is ridiculous for kids over the age of 6 years. I don't know why people do that. Maybe kids are eating less satisfying foods so they feel hungrier than if they had more protein and fiber?

    I do think with toddlers they naturally eat smaller amounts but more often so it is spread out through the day in a snacky manner. It is normal to bring food for a baby or toddler.
    Once a child is in school all day then I think breakfast, lunch, after school snack, dinner and maybe an evening snack... eating and drinking about every 3-5 hours during the day. When I was in school though having food or drink was pretty much just at lunch or if there were birthday treats

    I think it’s important to take a step back and consider why young children need to eat more frequently than adults. For example, an adult’s stomach is about the size of a football while a toddler’s is the size of his fist. This is why newborns eat every 1-3 hours around the clock and as their stomachs grow, they can go longer and eventually stop the night feeds.

    By one year, most children are eating about 6 times per day, with the last meal typically consisting of milk or a breastfeeding session. Toddlers tend to eat every 2-3 hours (5-6 meals) while preschoolers may be able to go 3, maybe even 4 hours between meals. Sample meal plans, like those in the American Academy of Pediatrics Handbook, recommend 3 main meals and 2 in between meal snacks for the average toddler/preschooler.

    By school age, children can move to a “3 meal and one afternoon snack” routine, but timing of breakfast and lunch matter. For example, a child that starts school early (7:30), meaning breakfast is at 7 or earlier, who doesn’t have lunch until 12:30, would need something in between.
    from http://www.raisehealthyeaters.com/2012/06/how-many-times-a-day-should-kids-eat/

    I think the point about the timing in that article was good. Some kids are starting school earlier or going longer these days. That doesn't apply to all the situations where snacks appear but it could be part of it.

  • MommyL2015MommyL2015 Posts: 1,411Member Member Posts: 1,411Member Member
    I'm 44. Back when I was in school, they still allowed in-school parties. We had a party for every holiday, like Halloween, Easter, Christmas, Valentine's day, and every time someone had a birthday, if their parent brought in goodies, we had a small party for them at the end of the day. These parties always had cupcakes, cookies, candy, chips, soda, things like that. My mom always baked things and brought them in, like cookies or cupcakes or my favorite were whoopie pies (yum!).

    When I was in high school, we had a mid-morning break and a snack cart would go around and we could buy ringdings and coffee cakes with chocolate milk for fifty cents. They had vending machines in the cafeteria and had a dessert tray at lunch.

    There is nothing like any of these things going on in the schools where I live today. The only party the kids have is after a concert or performance for their instrument class, we can bring in packaged products and they have to be chosen from a list of acceptable items. Oh, there is a chocolate or strawberry milk option at lunch but my kids always opt for water or regular white milk.

    I see no issue at all with snacks or unhealthy foods in school. Oh, the bus driver hands out small pieces of candy on Friday afternoons.

    As far as snacks at home, they have one when they get home from school (they eat lunch at 10:00 a.m., so they're usually starving) and they can have a dessert after dinner.

    The real kicker is that we didn't have overweight kids in my schools when I was growing up. I think back to my entire 12 years and I cannot think of more than one or two kids that had a weight problem. Today, there are a lot of overweight kids, especially after they get into 3rd grade through middle school. I noticed that when my kids started attending school. My honest thought is that it simply isn't just food but a majority is activity levels. I don't restrict foods from my kids but I do restrict sedentary time at a computer or television. They'd sit here all day from the moment they woke up until bedtime in front of a computer playing games if I let them, but I make them go outside or if it's raining, they go into our garage-slash-toy room or to their rooms and find something creative to do.

    When I was a kid, my mother threw me out the door on nice days and I was not allowed back in until dinner, except to use the bathroom or get a drink. We love to blame food, but that's not the sole problem. I was active. All of my kids are very active and none are overweight. The friends that my kids have today that are not overweight all are actively involved in sports or just generally like to play outside.
  • Rage_PhishRage_Phish Posts: 1,514Member Member Posts: 1,514Member Member
    man, olds love complaining and remembering the good ol' days
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