Toddler Hungry All Day

Updated on June 21, 2010
K.H. asks from Surprise, AZ
13 answers

Hi moms. Need some advice. My 16 month old daughter is hungry all day long. She is off the charts as far as her height and weight, but her pediatrician says she proportionate. So to my knowledge, not overweight (30lbs). I go in her room this morning and the first word I hear is "bite". Take her downstairs and she's tryng to get in the pantry. She sees you with any kind of food, she's literally climbing on you to try to get a bite. This is all day long. Is this normal? I guess the reason I'm so concerned is the fact that I've always struggled with my weight, same with my husband. As bad as it sounds, I'm worried that we're on the path for a "chubby kid". Am I overreacting? I just want her to be healthy and not have the same struggles I did.

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answers from Washington DC on

Some kids so just like to eat , I was the exact same way and my mom wasn't strict with food and let me eat as an when I wanted , and anything I asked for , so no surprises that I became over weight from around age 7 until around age 18 when I decided to change my eating habits. Don't get me wrong and I am not "skinny". I'm well built and come from a family that are well built but I am not fat anymore , which makes a big difference.

At 16 months it is difficult as she will just scream when she don't get what she wants , as long as you make sure that her meals are healthy and nutritous and she snacks on fruits then she should be ok. Keep her active , either out in the yard running around or take her to the playground , and if you and your husband also eat good foods then she will learn from your eating habits. Of course she is going to want candy , cookies , ice cream etc , everyone does , but this is where it is your job to teach her that yes she can have those things but in moderation.

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answers from Toledo on

If you're concerned about her getting chubby, stay away from high calorie snacks, like crackers, cookies, or processed foods. Offer only fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, and water for snacks. Strawberries, peaches and bananas come to mind. Canned veggies, like green beans, make good finger food, also baby carrots--cooked to tender. Raw zucchini has almost no flavor and makes a good finger food, too.(Rinse the salt off canned veggies, or the syrup off canned fruit.) Encourage drinking, too, especially when it's hot. If she drinks enough milk already, give her water. Kids have a hard time telling the difference between hungry and thirsty, they just know their tummy wants something. Stay away from juices--they don't fill her up. You can use them to flavor water, and gradually use less and less. Good eating habits start young, good luck.

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answers from Columbus on

I think that the condition that Denise is talking about is a genetic issue called Prader Willie Syndrome. It is rare, but very real. Children and adults with it are never full. The will eat 24 hours a day, beg for food from strangers, eat things that are not food, and their families often have to lock up food to keep them out of it. They have other developmental issues as well. It is very rare, but if you suspect it, a referal to a geneticist is in order.

If she can be satisfied and full, then you probably just have a child who is going through a growth spurt. I am heavy, and I was careful with my kids, but when they are toddlers, you can't let them be hungry. Feeding the right kinds of high fiber foods with a lot of veggies and fruits and fewer processes foods will allow her to fill up without you needing to put so much emphasis on the food that you cause her to have issues. I did serve milk, but I don't let my kids drink calories otherwise, which can add up really quickly if you tend to be heavy. I found that not putting the focus on the food amount, and just provideing as much as they wanted of healthy things, they stayed in line on the weight scale, and do not have my issues.


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answers from Indianapolis on

She is probably just fine, is she active alot? But, there is a disease that causes people to be hungry all the time and want to eat too's very real.....and it can come up in small children...

So, first off, keep track in a journal for a week and see everything she eats, and I mean everything.........write down how active she is......naps, how long and anything else that you might be able to show to the doctor.

Then I would talk to the doctor.......tell him your concern.......I wish I could remember the name of the disease, but I can't think of it.....My MIL used to foster kids, and she had a little girl that was the youngest to ever be diagnosed with's really hard too, because they want food all the time..........

Take care and good luck......

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answers from New York on

My son is 15 months and is 32inches and 30lbs...BIG. He loves to eat. He too will follow you around if you have food and want bites if you are eating etc. I am very careful about what I allow him to eat. he has 3 meals and two snacks and that's it. I do not allow him to eat all day (because he would if I let him) At meal times I feed him what I feel is a reasonable amount ( I watch him and as the meal goes on he stops being "all business" about dinner and maybe starts playing with his food is a bit, then dinner is over) and then that is it. We have made a habit of letting him know "this is the last bite." so he isn't surprised when it's over.
He does sometimes go and pull out a package of cookies or find a snack in his diaper bag and we usually just tell him no and then find something else to do. He isn't hungry, he just likes to eat.
I figure all I can do is give him only healthy food and set reasonable limits. This is just the size he is...he has no junk food, no juice or anything so I'm trying not to worry about it. I'm sure you're daughter will grow out of it, but I would be cautious about forming habits.



answers from Albuquerque on

At her age she still listens to her body and eats when she's hungry. We don't ruin them for a few more years as we gradually teach them to ignore their body's signals. Make sure she's getting enough saturated fat or she'll never feel satisfied. Don't put her on a low fat diet. To learn about the benefits of fat and how to feed your family REAL traditional foods, see



answers from Des Moines on

My bf's daughter is 15 months old. She feels very light compared to our 12 month old son. She does the same thing, if she sees you have food, she will say "uh uh uh uh" for a bite. She shoves food down her throat at feeding times. She literally ate a piece of string cheese, broke up, in a matter of 15 seconds! That can not be normal...or is it?


My bf's daughter is 15 months old. She feels very light compared to our 12 month old son. She does the same thing, if she sees you have food, she will say "uh uh uh uh" for a bite. She shoves food down her throat at feeding times. She literally ate a piece of string cheese, broke up, in a matter of 15 seconds! That can not be normal...or is it?


answers from Dallas on

Sounds like she is one of those people that just LOVES food. So, do your best to have only healthy food in the house and teach her how to eat healthy. Get rid of high calorie juices and drinks. Offer fruit, protein, etc... If you can feed her balanced meals, and two snacks a day that are also balanced with protein, then you may be able to help her feel sated. As she gets older introduce her to exercise and sports to help.

You might be overacting because of your own personal fears, but all of us Mom's do it. So what if she is a little chubby later? If you don't criticize her about it, or point it out, she may never even notice. Chubby is not necessarily unhealthy.



answers from Phoenix on

At 16 months kids eat because they are hungry. They haven't make any emotional connection to food yet, so please don't worry about that. I like the suggestions of making sure you offer healthy foods through out the day. And if you still think she's eating to much, mention it to her pediatrician.



answers from Phoenix on

Children go through growth phases where they are hungry all the time for a few weeks and eat everything in sight, and then suddenly their pants are 3 inches above their ankles. My boys do this about every 4 months.

It is normal...however, you can do some things to help the cravings. Now, it's been a while since I had one that forgive me if my suggestions are not age appropriate. And if I'm off, try to alter my suggestions to her age.

Get the junk and fast foods out of the house. Get rid of anything you can live without that is not freshly prepared by you...including sugary cereals. The only cereal a child her age should have to snack on is original cheerios.

Stock up on finger food vegetables like carrots, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers. If she can eat them without choking.
Same with fruits - apples, melons, grapes, seasonals.

When she's hungry, give her a fiber or protien rich snack. Like grapes and a cheese stick. Or a few pieces of meat and some cucumber slices.
Food high in fiber and protien helps keep your stomach full longer and keeps the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin she won't be as hungry all the time.

You say you've both struggled with your weight - truth is, this method will work wonders for you both as well. Try to make all meals that you eat at home from scratch. Keep your grocery list to a minimal of prepared foods and stock up on fresh produce, beans, whole grains, and low fat meats.

Dairy can also be a big weight loss inhibitor. It has it's pros, but each ounce is high in calories and fat, so a little adds up quickly and you don't always feel full on the correct serving proportions for weight loss or control. Try to limit milk and cheese, and replace it with healthier options like yogurt and cottage cheese, in small servings.

Good luck! She sounds like a very fun little lady!



answers from Phoenix on

I would say that it depends on what you are letting her eat. Let her eat all the veggies and fruit, beans she wants. Don't let her eat the "pre-packaged" foods or junk foods or fast foods. We always tell our kids to "listen to your stomach" and stop eating when you are full or before. If she is getting plenty of exercise and eating right then you have nothing to worry about. Toddlers grow a lot and need the appropriate foods to keep them growing and going.



answers from Los Angeles on

No I don't think you are overreacting, and I think you're concern is refreshing. I have 2 gf's that went through this and food is limited everyday! My one gf packs his food for the day everyday and so he's in a routine of breakfast/snack/lunch/snack/dinner with limited juice aswell. He knows when he asks for food after a meal he's only getting a snack (and its all healty!) I commend her for her efforts! You can do something similar and start making it clear whos food is whos. But dont ever give in when she's beggin or asking for yours cause it will become an endless battle. Good luck!



answers from Grand Rapids on

She could be going through a growth spurt. Does this happen all the time,or did it just start? I noticed that when my kids wanted to eat all the time, they were going through a growth spurt.And has your doctor done a thyroid test on your daughter?

Try having a 13,almost 14 year old boy that is constantly eating. lol

Good luck.

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