My Toddler Is Hungry All the Time

Updated on April 12, 2012
L.R. asks from Mill Creek, PA
15 answers

My DD is 19 months and seems hungry all the time. She is constantly whining for food or milk. When I say no, she screams until I give in. It goes on all day long, but she only does it for me. Does anyone have any advice. I try to distract her, but that only work for a few minutes. She also seems the happiest right after she is done eating, much more energetic and talkative. Please help!

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answers from Seattle on

She might be growing again and is therefore hungrier, so yes, feed the girl! :) Like Gidget said, you can give her healthy things that will give her the nutrients that she needs instead of junk food. Fruits, veggies, there are many things you can make.

But again if she isnt truly hungry she would't be asking for food, and certainly wouldn't be eating it all and be happier afterwards.

So feed her and let her eat and be happy!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Some kids just do better if they "graze" all day, rather than sitting down to 3 large meals. My younger daughter is this way. One thing you can do is to make sure that the meals and snacks that you feed her are well-balanced. In other words, instead of just a handful of cheerios (carbs), give her some mozzarella cheese (fat and protein) as well. Or give her some carrot sticks with peanut butter. Giving her several food groups at once will keep her full for a longer time. Also, insist that she sits at the table to eat - don't let her wander around the house with her food. This way you can observe how much of each item she's actually eating.

Now that my kids are a little bit older, I keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter. They can have as much of that as they want, whenever they want. My little one (now 6 years old) goes through 10 lbs of apples per week! That's in addition to 5 lbs of oranges. I also keep a bunch of boiled eggs in the fridge - those make a great, healthy snack. I'm sure the people at Costco think I'm feeding an army with the way I buy eggs and fruit. :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Champaign on

Feed her. If she's hungry, feed her.

You can offer her fruit, veggies, yogurt. It doesn't have to be junk food. Kids at this age are listening to their bodies. If she's not hungry, she won't eat. By denying her food, you are asking her to ignore what her body is telling her.

It is very common for kids to have more energy after eating. Usually if my son is being whiny, difficult to please, it's because he's hungry. My husband and I joke, "Feed the monster!" It works!

Feed her!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

She's growing and she's hungry. When she wants to eat, please feed her. Your biggest clue is: "She also seems the happiest right after she is done eating, much more energetic and talkative." That's because food gives you energy!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

She's probably going through a growth spurt, let her eat.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son does the same thing. It's boredom. I know he's not hungry but I'll give him a choice of something like a piece of fruit, crackers, string cheese. Stuff I know he likes and things that I don't really care if he's snacking on. If he says no to everything I offer, I just tell him that that's all there is and if he doesn't want anything then he must not be hungry. Yes, he'll throw a tantrum which I just ignore and once he's done, I'll get him to play. Now that the weather is getting nicer, it's easier to distract him by going outside. Once we do that, I can't get him in the house to eat at all!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

She could be going through a growth spurt and many of them at this age are "grazers" daughter is 4.5 and still is a bit of a "grazer". And when she is going through a growth spurt, she asks for food constantly and seems like a bottomless pit.

If she seems happier and more energetic after eating, than I suspect that is your answer - she really is hungry and not necessarily just looking for attention. Like others have said, just make sure you are giving her something substantial, not just Gerber Puffs or Cheerios or whatever. Whole-grain and protein combos are good, like whole-wheat toast and eggs, or crackers with a little bit of peanut butter or cheese. Or oatmeal with banana for breakfast plus yogurt.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My youngest is still like that and he's 9. It could be a growing spurt but their tummys are small and if she's really active she wears it off fast.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Since the weather is nice go to the park, that should distract her. :)

So I guess I am the only one who thinks she is bored and eating....okay then.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son is like that too.

My advice is to have some food that she can eat all the time, whenever she wants. We have a drawer in our fridge my toddlers can get food out of whenever they want. It contains fruit (anything that is in season), mini carrots, little tomatoes, and string cheese. I also give them frozen peas if they are begging right before dinner.

I dont care if they spoil their dinner eating fruit and vegetables.

They have sippy cups of water all day long - whenever they want.

At meals - make sure that she gets some kind of protein that will help keep her full. Lots of things kids like to eat (fruit, yogurt) dont keep them full very long.

Also - I think its normal for kids to eat very often - @ every two hours a snack or a meal.

Good luck!


answers from Houston on

My kids are all like that and they grow really fast! I keep healthy snacks within reach like granola bars, cheese sticks, Greek yogurt, fruit, nuts etc.... The only rule is if you don't eat your meals you can't have them. I give in to most snacking and my kids are both tall and skinny.


answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree to let her eat as often as she wants, as long as she's healthy/active and not addicted to bad foods. My friend's daughter was this way from around 18mos to 3-1/2yo, always "neeeeeeding" food :) She started to taper off, had a growth spurt, thinned out big time. Now she's 4 and skipping meals all the time (still healthy). My son, on the otherhand, has been skipping meals (even days) since just over 2yo and it drives me batty how little he eats.



answers from Des Moines on

Sounds like she is legit hungry, so why would you need to say no? As long as you let her have healthy things most of the time, I don't see the harm...... My son is going through a similar growth spurt right now which has lasted already 2 weeks and I think he is eating more than me! As long as she's not overweight or eating unhealthy snacks/foods let her eat!



answers from Washington DC on

Be sure she is getting plenty of protein throughout the day. She definitely needs fruits and veggies too, but protein snacks like eggs, cheese, yogurt, even edamame (soybeans) or other beans will make her feel fuller for a longer period of time. She also likely needs to eat more often than three meals a day but not every waking moment. Work out what works for you-- three meals plus three snacks, for instance. I am not a fan of letting kids "graze at will" or open the fridge or pantry for themselves and get what they want, when they want, even if the options are all healthy; to me, that teaches kids they can eat whenever and wherever, which doesn't work for me, personally. I would keep a lot of pre-cut veg and fruit around and cheese and boiled eggs and offer those at your specific snack times. But once the meal or the snack is over, it's over -- don't cave in if she starts to scream; distract her instead and get her to DO something immediately after each snack/meal so she is not just eating because she's bored.

It takes our bodies about 20 minutes after eating for us to "feel full" so kids will eat and eat and eat if allowed; they'll say "I'm still hungry!" seconds after finishing when their bodies are sufficiently full but they just can't feel full yet. Have her leave the table as soon as she's done and then go straight into doing something to distract her.

You do want to fulfill all her needs, and since she's growing she does need more food right now, but at the same time, don't introduce bad habits like constant grazing or meals that go on and on with seconds and thirds all the time. Adding higher-protein items to meals and snacks can help.



answers from Columbia on

I have two answers. :)

1) "Only does it for me" - that sounds like a mommy issue not setting expectations for behavior

2) Growth spurt - feed her.

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