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

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  • ReaderGirl3ReaderGirl3 Posts: 868Member Member Posts: 868Member Member
    We're in a hotel this week and I brought two cloth bags full of snack food (cookies (3 kinds), chips (3 kinds), crackers, granola bars, pop tarts, trail mix, applesauce cups and apples ), and 4 days into our trip, the only things eaten are the granola bars (son), and trail mix (husband ). Everything else is coming back home with us. So even though my kids have access to gobs of snacks, with no limits on intake, they're just not interested on it.

    They get offered snacks at school too, and most times they bring it home where it's usually thrown away. They're also supposed to bring in a daily snack and they don't bother with it. I'm not a snack person either, so it's just not a big deal in our house.
    edited April 2016
  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    MommyL2015 wrote: »
    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.

    I was never home either- playin in the woods or swimming or riding my invisible horse around. People thought I had a tapeworm all of my childhood/early teens.
    I ate everything <literally> that my mom bought.
    I ate the junk, and the veg, and the fruit, and the carbs- the sweet and the savory alike. I ate all the things.
    I agree 100% with the movement part of your post.
    I also see no issues with snacks given 2 or 3 times per day for small growing kids, or even the treats at social events.
    Snacks and meals that arent nutritious + abundance + minimal activity = problems.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 36,755Member Member Posts: 36,755Member 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.

    Ummm...yeah...they're friggin' growing and running around like crazy. And I'm 41...I always had snacks growing up, so I don't know what you're talking about really in RE to having more feeding opportunities...I always had snacks growing up.

    My kids have three meals per day and two to three snacks per day...generally a mid morning snack at school, a mid afternoon snack at school and sometimes a small snack when they get home. I don't see that as a problem...they are eating an appropriate amount of food for their ages (4&6) and what they do. My kids are also very good about eating when they're hungry and putting food down when they're not...so again, not seeing an issue.
  • Rage_PhishRage_Phish Posts: 1,514Member Member Posts: 1,514Member Member
    44 sounds like the prime demographic to start complaining about millennials and the days of yore
    edited April 2016
  • megzchica23megzchica23 Posts: 423Member Member Posts: 423Member Member
    Hmm. I remember coming in from playing to grab slices of cheese and also mom got us a small chocolate milk when we went grocery shopping. But snacks can be good and important, as long as actually healthy food. It is better to eat snacks in between meals. My body does a hundred times better eating like that then going long periods between meals. My mood stays more even as well. Kids need energy, they do a lot are running, learning, growing. It is important to properly fuel their bodies. If I had eaten better as a kid, I think it would have helped me with a lot of things.
  • MommyL2015MommyL2015 Posts: 1,411Member Member Posts: 1,411Member Member
    Rage_Phish wrote: »
    44 sounds like the prime demographic to start complaining about millennials and the days of yore

    Don't worry, it'll happen to you, too. ;)
  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    Rage_Phish wrote: »
    44 sounds like the prime demographic to start complaining about millennials and the days of yore

    I dunno. Im just a mere 32 and I miss my "ol days" too.
  • gramaryegramarye Posts: 586Member Member Posts: 586Member Member
    MommyMeggo wrote: »
    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!

    Yes, my kid gets hangry. He eats small snacks here and there, and he seems to have normal and functional hunger cues (he doesn't tend to overeat, rarely gets seconds, that sort of thing) so I don't tend to worry too much about the snacking. Especially at his school, where snacks tend to be small and they emphasize not sending sugary snacks. (Mostly for the teachers' sake, I assume. Goodness, I would not want a classroom of sugared-up wee children.)
  • ReaderGirl3ReaderGirl3 Posts: 868Member Member Posts: 868Member Member
    Hmm. I remember coming in from playing to grab slices of cheese and also mom got us a small chocolate milk when we went grocery shopping. But snacks can be good and important, as long as actually healthy food. It is better to eat snacks in between meals. My body does a hundred times better eating like that then going long periods between meals. My mood stays more even as well. Kids need energy, they do a lot are running, learning, growing. It is important to properly fuel their bodies. If I had eaten better as a kid, I think it would have helped me with a lot of things.

    Food timing is a preference thing-it's not better or worse to eat /not eat in between meals. I don't usually eat snacks and prefer to use my calories for larger meals. Total calorie intake is what's important, when you eat those calories is not.
  • stealthqstealthq Posts: 4,307Member Member Posts: 4,307Member Member
    I can't remember my mom ever carrying around snacks when we were out when I was a kid, but if I complained of being hungry we'd always stop and get something. I would have been 'failure to thrive' if they'd had that measure then.

    I don't remember having many snacks at home, though I'm sure I did when I was < 5.

    I do remember that every event had food. Going to horseback riding? One of the students' families would bring bagels or donuts for everyone - the families alternated. I remember every holiday and birthday was celebrated at school with some of the moms providing cupcakes or similar. I was always excited when it was my mom's turn, because she was and is a very good baker. She took the extra time to make the food pretty, too. I remember that if I went to a friend's house to play, their mom always had snacks ready for the asking.

    I also remember spending most of my day when I wasn't in school outside. I used to climb trees, go fishing, go exploring, play street soccer, ride horses, play tag, and swim (lots and lots of swimming).

    In my friends' kids school districts, no snacks are allowed (after kindergarten). No cupcakes or any other celebration for birthdays. Most holidays are left out, too. I find it rather sad. I mean, I get that you can't celebrate every kid's birthday on the day when the class is large, but one celebration a month or every couple of months should not be a problem. There wouldn't even need to be food involved - maybe an extra recess or some games or something along those lines.
  • 100df100df Posts: 668Member Member Posts: 668Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    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).

    We had parties in school for the holidays. Now they aren't doing that here because of a number of different reasons. Political correctness, food allergies and not giving the kids another extra eating opportunity. I'm probably missing other reasons.

    In my experience with raising kids, the "spoil your dinner" line isn't used much anymore.

    In the summers we did day camp from kindergarten to 8th grade. Car pool in the afternoons drove me crazy because the kids and parents expected whoever was driving to bring a snack and drink for the kids to eat in the car. They had a snack at 10am, lunch at noon and a snack at 2pm at camp. We picked up at 4. It was a 30 minute drive home. The other moms thought I was an ogre for suggesting that the kids wait to eat. I solved it for me by volunteering to drive every morning. The moms were thrilled they didn't have to go out in the morning and I didn't have to come up with food and drink for 4 kids that didn't make mess in my car.

    I know that it has been better for me to wait to eat instead of giving in to every little hunger sign. If I am running errands and I feel a little hungry, it's not going to hurt me to wait until the next meal instead of hitting the drive-thru or even a piece of fruit. Giving in to all the hunger signals is why I have to diet now!

    I wonder if all the extra opportunities lead children to being overweight adults because they are conditioned to always having something to eat. Do they even know what hungry feels like?

  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    100df wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    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).

    We had parties in school for the holidays. Now they aren't doing that here because of a number of different reasons. Political correctness, food allergies and not giving the kids another extra eating opportunity. I'm probably missing other reasons.

    In my experience with raising kids, the "spoil your dinner" line isn't used much anymore.

    In the summers we did day camp from kindergarten to 8th grade. Car pool in the afternoons drove me crazy because the kids and parents expected whoever was driving to bring a snack and drink for the kids to eat in the car. They had a snack at 10am, lunch at noon and a snack at 2pm at camp. We picked up at 4. It was a 30 minute drive home. The other moms thought I was an ogre for suggesting that the kids wait to eat. I solved it for me by volunteering to drive every morning. The moms were thrilled they didn't have to go out in the morning and I didn't have to come up with food and drink for 4 kids that didn't make mess in my car.

    I know that it has been better for me to wait to eat instead of giving in to every little hunger sign. If I am running errands and I feel a little hungry, it's not going to hurt me to wait until the next meal instead of hitting the drive-thru or even a piece of fruit. Giving in to all the hunger signals is why I have to diet now!

    I wonder if all the extra opportunities lead children to being overweight adults because they are conditioned to always having something to eat. Do they even know what hungry feels like?

    Its hard to talk about "children" as whole- actually, there are a LOT of hungry children and there are a LOT of children who eat too much and too often.

    You want to throw some pop-tarts, pizza and cheetos at your kids and stick them in front of the TV as their normal, sure they will grow up accustomed to that and possibly develop unhealthy habits and be sedentary.
    Childhood obesity is hard to overcome- and parents really should care more than they do. But I believe years filled with bad meal choices, no balance of nutirtion and a non-active child is what leads to obesity- not the abundance of "between meal" snacks.
    No child should be sedentary. But honestly Id be ok if my 6yo son took a day off. LOL.
  • rml_16rml_16 Posts: 16,484Member Member Posts: 16,484Member Member
    shell1005 wrote: »
    I don't have children, but I am a family based social worker...I often have snacks in my bag. I'd rather have an easy access snack that I know what it is if someone I am working with has a child that gets a little hangry. Not sure why that is some kind of issue and don't think it has anything to do with childhood obesity.

    I also always have a ready to eat snack with me. I'd rather do that then have to buy something when I am out and about.

    Because there's nothing wrong with feeling a little hunger and waiting an hour or so to eat a meal. This having to satisfy a hunger pang the second it hits is an incredibly new, weird concept that I will never understand.

    And, yes, now that I think about it, the constant snacks thing with children is a new concept. I had breakfast, lunch, after-school snack and dinner and I don't remember ever feeling particularly hungry. I was usually too busy playing to even think about food.

    I think with the helicopter parenting these days and kids not being allowed to just be kids, they probably experience boredom hunger in a way we didn't. Even as an adult I feel hunger when I'm stuck somewhere in front of a desk or something where I don't if I'm up doing things, even cleaning my house. I'll forget to eat if I'm engrossed in an activity I enjoy, but feel like a bottomless pit at work sometimes.

    I do think it's probably a good idea to have some nourishment at sporting activities, though. It could be dangerous not to, even if they don't feel like they need it. You don't always feel the need for food or water in the midst of a vigorous activity until it's an emergency situation.
  • kristen6350kristen6350 Posts: 1,094Member Member Posts: 1,094Member Member
    I'm 37, so 80's kid. I don't remember snacks being at after school activities, other than girl scouts. But I do know that my parents called me the "human garbage disposal" because I ate ALL the food. At 10 I was 4'9. By 12 I was 5'9. Stopped growing at 5'11. I still eat all the food if it's available. ALWAYS hungry. I think I snack more now than I did as a kid. I'm an only child too. So Mom didn't ever pack snacks to take on outings (errands, etc), but we were big "candy bar at the check out" people...until I hit 30 and gained 50lbs in 2 years, then I stopped that habit.
  • Alyssa_Is_LosingItAlyssa_Is_LosingIt Posts: 4,684Member Member Posts: 4,684Member Member
    I think it depends, too, on a child's age.

    My two-year-old, for example, gets hungrier in between meals because he doesn't usually eat a lot at meal times. If I'm out, I like to have a healthy snack or two and a sippy cup with water in it, in case he gets hungry. Two-year-old meltdowns (usually when he's tired or hungry) are not pretty.

    My 5-year-old, however, is starting to learn that it's okay to feel hungry sometimes. I can reason with him. And he loves the foods I make him at meal times and eats those foods, so he gets plenty to eat. I will usually let him have a piece of fruit or some cheese when he gets home from school, or sometimes a cookie or two. But he doesn't snack nearly as much as the two-year-old does.

    As a parent, it is my job to teach my children healthy eating habits, and that eating too much food is bad. My children are both healthy weights and very (omg) active.

    FWIW, no, I don't think snacks are that big of a deal or the cause of obesity. And I don't get bent out of shape when they have the occasional class party with a cupcake.
  • DorkothyParkerDorkothyParker Posts: 618Member Member Posts: 618Member Member
    Kids, smaller kids especially, are much more "on the go" now than when I was a kid. When I was in early elementary, maybe only half the kids attended organized activities, and then only 1 at a time (well maybe a sport + girl/boy scouts), now it seems as they are halfway living in their parent's cars.

    Sit down meals are more rare with both parents working out of the home. My life would be very difficult if I were to try to eat 3 sit down meals with my daughter on the days we would have that opportunity.

    She's only 3.5, but is a grazer eater most days. I don't think it matters if a child eats 3 times vs 6 or 7 in the course of the day so long as they are eating on hunger, stop when they are satisfied, and eat healthier food options.

    Now, the sweet treats are an issue, but I have seen a greater reduction as schools have limited sending cakes and cookies for birthdays and the like now. I have even heard parents of public school kids being told what food they can or can't pack (and I don't just mean this peanut thing!) so I think the issue is reducing.

    As someone else mentioned, well fed children are more well-behaved and probably can focus better in school. I am all for more snack time AND recess time in schools!
  • enterdangerenterdanger Posts: 2,451Member Member Posts: 2,451Member Member
    My kids are 3 and 5. I'm 37. They get 2 snacks in the afternoon. One from daycare that is very small and usually fresh fruit or some goldfish. That happens when they wake up from nap around 2pm. They eat lunch at 11:30am. When I pick them up after work at 5:30 they are starving. I bring a small snack for them each to eat in the car since our commute is an hour or so.

    I'm ok with them being hungry. We eat dinner when we get home. I'm not ok with kids in the backseat crying until I start thinking about driving into the median on purpose. Hence, snacks.

    My kids do play outside during the 30-60 minutes that I cook dinner and again after dinner if it is still light out.

    People are busier than they have ever been before and there are more convenience foods. It has turned the lot of us into grazers.
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