We often hear about the struggle some parents have with their children who are fussy eaters. You just have to type fussy eater in google and almost a million results pop up. Fussy eaters tend to be every new parents worst nightmare. Who chooses to have a kid who refuses to eat anything but french fries? But what about the opposite? Is your child eating too much?
My partner and I both come from big eater families. We love our food, maybe a little too much. I grew up in a culture where food was a way of life. My grandmother would slave away all day in the kitchen and we would all come together to bond over food. The more you ate the better it was in my family. ‘Eat’ my grandmother would say. ‘Eat, eat eat’. Even though I was already about to tumble over in a food coma.
” I was worried my child would be a fussy eater”
So when my son was born, I was adamant that he was going to be a good eater and have a healthy relationship with food. I didn’t want a fussy eater. I wanted a healthy little boy who would enjoy eating broccoli. The thought of having a child that only wanted to eat junk terrified me. What would I do? How do you make someone eat when they don’t want to?
I wanted a child who would be happy with fruit for dessert and love his veggies. So I made sure that Gabriel was fed healthy food packed full of veggies. No dessert pots, just fruit. And I was delighted to see that he gobbled it up with no protest.
“The struggle wasn’t to get him to eat. The struggle was to stop him from eating”
What i didn’t realise was that Gabriel would just about gobble anything up that was edible. My fears of having a fussy eater quickly went out the window. The struggle wasn’t to get him to eat. The struggle was to stop him from eating. Today I was told at Nursery that he ate all of his lunch (no brainer there). However he also ate another kids lunch, plus the vegetarian option and a few pieces of toast that they make for the fussier kids. I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing to be honest but apart of me felt like I needed to apologize.
Do you try to stop it? Or do you just accept that he eats a lot. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t bothered. He isn’t overweight for his age and he eats a very healthy and varied diet. But other peoples comments started to make me doubt myself.
On a playdate with a fellow mummy, my boy ran up to me holding a biscuit and saying TAAA. I opened it and gave it to him. The other mum was shocked and said “You let him eat snacks so close to dinner time”. The thing is, I don’t have to worry that he will not eat his dinner because he will eat it…..and mine….. and his fathers.
“Is my child eating too much?”
But when I kept getting comments from people about his eating habits I felt like I was somehow mum failing again. So i decided to try and limit his food consumption. However he seriously seemed to outwit me at every move. He knows where the snacks are kept and regularly digs out a biscuit or rice cake. Even when I hide them he finds them! I once couldn’t find him anywhere and then found him inside the cupboard desperately trying to reach his snacks. So I stopped buying his snacks, only to have him start opening the fridge and bringing bananas to me to open.
He is very resourceful. My partner and I find ourselves trying to hide while we try to eat our breakfast (or anything we don’t want to share) but he always finds us. I don’t even know how on earth he knows that we are eating. He can tell at any given moment and he is quickly on the move to hunt us down. He is so resourceful that I took him swimming and put him in the play pen while I changed. When I came out he was eating a rice cake!!! Where the hell did he get a rice cake from? Turns out he had stolen it from another kid. Sorry!
” I accept he is a mini muncher”
So what do I do? Trying to limit his consumption wasn’t working and to be honest, it made me feel horrible having to say no to him all the time when he asked for food. So i decided to accept my son for what he is. A mini muncher.
The day he refuses to eat his dinner because he snacked too much will be the day I limit his consumption. But right now he is doing just fine. He is healthy and happy. Everything I could want for my child. So if you see me giving Gabriel snacks before dinner time, please don’t judge me.