25 answers

My Daughter Wants to Snack All the Time

I'm looking for suggestions. I have a 4 year old that always wants to snack between meals. An hour after eating a meal, sometimes less, she starts saying she's hungry and wants a snack. She's eating pretty well and balanced, but I think she gets bored and distracted quickly at meal times and doesn't eat until she's full. I don't mind one snack between breakfast and lunch, and something a couple hours before dinner, but she'll ask constantly for 3 or 4 snacks. I only allow fruits or vegetables or something healthy between meals, but I think she's not slowing down to fill up at once- she is pretty active. I am not worried about her weight at all- I would just like her to eat a full meal and not be asking for more food a half an hour later. It's very tiresome to have to stop to fix another snack right after I clean up lunch. Should I not allow any snacks between meals and just put up with the whining, or allow her to "graze" all day? How can I encourage her to eat more at mealtimes? I try the 3 more bites, but she's says she's full, then an hour later, hungry again. Just a growth spurt she'll outgrow? Thanks for your help!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

kiddos tummies are tiny and they need a lot of small "meals" instead of the typical "3 meals"
Let her eat as long as it is healthy in between the reg. meals...

1 mom found this helpful

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I would NOt Worry at all. I bet it's a growing spurt. My is 3 1/2 and been going this for the past few wks. As long as she is eating healthy and you are giving her some good choices she will be fine.
Kids eat a lot more than us as adults do.
Hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

kiddos tummies are tiny and they need a lot of small "meals" instead of the typical "3 meals"
Let her eat as long as it is healthy in between the reg. meals...

1 mom found this helpful

Kids usually eat 5-7 times a day. Also, kids this young are still the most honest. They usually do only eat when they are hungry. As they get a little bit older they begin to worry about weight and how people see them. So small portions severals times a day is probably best, escpecially for you active 4 year old. She burns it very quickly. You may want to add some healty grains that tend to be more filling. You may want to go ahead and start asking her/telling her... We only eat when we are hungry. Are you hungry do you need mommy to help you find something fun to do? Good luck!

I encourage grazing. I just have stuff where they can grab it... cut up veggies, washed fruits, string cheese - that way they get what they need and I don't have to stop and cook.


have a home Day Care and we eat snacks between meals. Breakfast or snack in the morning. Lunch. Nap then snack then dinner then snack before bed. They are eating about every two hours except when sleeping. They wake up and the kids from school are here for the afternoon snack and that is before dinner.
Breakfast if early kids
snack at 10
Lunch at 12
nap fromn 12:30-3:30 some times 4
Snack once they wake
Dinner at 6:30
Snack at 8

I serve a cracker any whole grain and fruits or veggies. Water because we need to get the kids to drink water. We do not serve a lot of juice in fact I quit buying it.

God Bless G. W

I say that as long as the snacks are healthy, it's fine. (ok, except for the Diego Fruit Snacks that I'm sure aren't the healthiest but that my son is OBSESSED with.) My son is a great eater who likes a variety of things, and when he's hungry he eats. Sometimes he inhales a big meal, sometimes not so much - but I've learned not to obsess over it and to let him listen to his body and his hunger cues. "They" say several small meals a day is really the best diet, and these kiddos just haven't been forced into the 3 square meals routine. I also agree with the poster who suggested keeping the breakfast or lunch food around longer and offering that when she wants her snack - most things will keep just fine in the fridge for an hour or two. By making sure that the snacks we offer are as healthy as the meal-time food, I don't think we can go wrong.

Hmmmm, I love that you have healthy snacks so that will help! I wouldn't push too much the "clean your plate" idea b/c that's what got America so large. I would check with her doctor and if all is good just be more strict on limiting snacks...save the meal and she can finish that when she gets hungry...keep up the healthy snacks.

Hi R., I am a R. as well and I thought you were writing about my 5 yr. old! LOL Our stories are exactly the same but all that I can figure is that she eats what her little belly will hold and then she asks for more later...we to only allow healthy snacks and she will take them so I know she really is hungry. I just make sure that I keep lots of apples, bananas, carrot sticks etc. on hand and because I have two others to care for as well, I keep them on a shelf where they can reach them after they have asked for a snack so that I am not stopping whatever I am doing every hour. :) HTH.

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