Wednesday, May 20, 2015


At my house, we do not snack. We eat meals. We eat a good sized breakfast, a decent lunch, and a good sized supper. We do not bring food when we go shopping or go to church or for any type of outing that does not involve mealtimes. The girls may fix themselves a small snack when they get home from school. The baby/toddler may be given something to eat during meal prep to make the noise stop. But that's it. Snacking is not a lifestyle at our house and I have found that we will, in fact, not die if we have to wait until mealtime to eat. Baby is nursed on demand in case anyone is concerned.

My oldest children are getting older and now spend a fair amount of time roaming the neighborhood visiting friends. Their wanderings have led me to a universal parenting truth that has somehow eluded my house: Every other house is an endless source of snacks. What is truly mind-boggling is that other people not only feed their own children snacks, they feed mine as well. I do not understand.

I do not object to my children eating in other houses if someone wants to feed them. We have no known allergies or medical issues so I am not uptight about it, but I do not understand. Why do people want to randomly feed my children? I do not want to randomly feed their children. I do not want to randomly feed my own children. Why is this a thing? I am not fixing snacks for your children because I'm also not fixing snacks for my children.

Many times once home again, the children will pick at their dinners and, when we inquire, we learn they had (popsicles, crackers, cookies, apples, popcorn, cheese, oranges, candy, goldfish, bananas) and aren't hungry anymore. I wonder if the epidemic of child pickiness at meals is a consequence of constant grazing. 

So there is is. My children are deprived and I am probably setting them up for a lifetime of therapy and eating disorders, but I cannot deal with the whole process of snacking. We are all definitely hungry at mealtimes so I count that as a positive.


entropy said...

Good for you! Don't give in because it is SO HARD to go back.

What times do you eat your meals? And what do you have for breakfast? I'm assuming it is something more substantial than cereal because if we have cereal everyone melts down around 10 am.

That book _Bringing up Bebe_ that Jamie pondered about a while ago talked about the French phenomenon that is the same as your house: breakfast, lunch, child snack after school, dinner.

bearing said...

I strive to discourage random snacking, but we have a kids' afternoon snack and a bedtime snack built into our day.

If I had had my way there would not be a bedtime snack, but my husband is a strong believer in bedtime snack and consumes a large number of calories in the form of ice cream at that time of day.

If there is dessert after dinner for some reason, bedtime snack is cancelled.

Jeanie said...

I totally agree with you - I have never wanted to randomly feed anyone either. I am and was a working mother. My children are mostly grown, only one left at home, and this was an issue with all of their friends. I never bought the snack items and drinks they would have at other people's houses but their friends would come into our house on the weekend looking for snacks. Generally, all I had to offer was water or milk, and raisins on a good day. The friends got used to it and my kids survived to adulthood intact. They'll probably choose to do things differently with their own kids and that's fine.

Rachel Grubb said...

I certainly wouldn't condemn a mother for not giving snacks out - you do what you feel is best for your family :) I would like to say, though, that research states it's actually better for children to graze than to eat full meals. THAT BEING SAID, I wouldn't be happy if my child grazed *all* day and at very little at mealtimes.

Unknown said...

Oh no I hate snacks. The kids fill up on string cheese and eat zero veggies at dinner. Maybe if they snacked on vegetables it would be a different story. But once you let them have one snack they think they have free rein over the fridge and pantry to get whatever they want all day and you know they're mostly gonna pick junk. That or eat up a weeks worth of fruit in one day.

bearing said...

I have one child who will eat the family's week's worth of fruit in one day. Forget ever getting an orange.

Jenny said...

Our mealtimes are little different which might make the lack of snacks a little more doable.

The girls eat cereal or something like that around 7 before school. If Sam is up, he will also have some cereal then. Maybe we will call that First Breakfast.

Marian sleeps until 830-9 every morning.

My husband does not like eating immediately after waking up in the morning, so while he gets up before 6 like I do, he doesn't eat breakfast until around 9am. We will call that Second Breakfast.

At that meal, they eat an egg a piece, a bowl of maple-cinnamon oatmeal, juice, coffee, and some kind of fruit like a banana or half a grapefruit.

They usually don't eat lunch until 1230-1 and that meal usually consists of a sandwich of some sort, applesauce, yogurt, and pretzels/goldfish with water to drink.

The girls get home from school around 330 and usually eat a couple of graham crackers with Nutella. If Sam is around, he will have that too.

We don't eat supper until 6 or 630 and it is whatever it is. There is no usual that I could describe. We have dessert more often than we ought and usually aren't clear from the table until after 7.

So maybe our snacks just manifest more like meals than your standard grazing kind of snack.

Jenny said...

I could see, if our mealtimes were at different times of the day, that a tea-like snack around 3 in the afternoon might be very appropriate. Maybe one day my schedule will be such as to accommodate such a thing.