Kid eating too much or not enough? The simple solutions (sort of).

Posted on February 29, 2012


Dessert stomachWelcome to another installment of WTF Wednesday, where if you can find the same advice advertised elsewhere for less, we’ll congratulate you and totally mean it.

This week, we’ve decided to tackle three questions about food. One about kids who can’t stop eating it, one about kids who don’t eat enough of it, and one about kids who only eat one thing.

Our first question comes from James Hudyma (A.K.A. @SasdaDad). He runs a blog called EduDad and asks,

Dear IBMP,

My son is always hungry. He stomps around the house shouting, “More! More!” What can I feed this kid to keep him full?

OK, first of all, you know you’re supposed to feed your kid daily, right?  If you forget once in a while it’s probably OK, but you should really make an effort to feed him every day. If you go away for the weekend, consider asking a neighbor to stop by once a day to feed him.

The other option is to get one of those timed food dispensing devices, fill it and leave it in the kitchen. They are widely available. I’ve seen them at just about every parental supply store I’ve visited – Petsmart, Petco, all of them.

If you find your child is still hungry, you can increase his feeding to up to 3 times per day.

If that doesn’t do it, then you may be feeding the wrong stomach. It’s a well-known fact that children have two stomachs.  The regular stomach is the smaller of the two. The IBMP Dictionary of Parenting terms describes the dessert stomach as the one that always has room regardless of the status of the regular stomach. If you’re trying to fill the dessert stomach, well just forget it—it’s not going to happen.

Here’s the big secret: your child’s hunger is not determined by what he’s already eaten; it’s determined by what’s available to eat. Want proof? Walk past a candy store at any time of day, after any meal. Not only is he suddenly hungry for candy, but he may actually implode if he can’t get it.

So if you want your son to declare himself full, target the regular stomach: fill the fridge with broccoli, put carrots in the cookie jar, fill the cupboards with celery and walnuts. Trust me, with those as the only choices, your son will call himself full in no time.

Our next question comes from Alexis Dubief (A.K.A @troublesometots). She runs the blog Troublesome Tots, and writes,

Dear IBMP,

Is it OK to feed my kids exclusively peanut butter? We offer them a variety but invariably they only eat the foods with peanut butter on them. Peanut butter and milk. yep.

Sure it is.  Our son was on a gummy bear only diet for a while about a year ago. Granted, gummy bears have more variety, with the various colors and flavors, and they’re lower in fat, but peanut butter’s still not bad. Just make sure your kids check for Allergy Alert bracelets before kissing their friends.

Our final question comes from Jacqui the Chick (A.K.A @chicktuition). She runs the blog Chicktuition and writes,

Dear IBMP,

I’d like some advice on how to get a 7 year old boy to try new foods…including ones that are good for him.

Hahahahahahaha! Oh, wait, sorry. That was unprofessional.

If you’re worried about your children not getting a good sampling of all the various food groups, remember that, according to the IBMP Dictionary, candy is the fifth food group on a ten year-old’s food pyramid.

The good news for you is that there are ways to get your child to try new foods. The most effective way is known as gummifying the food. It’s simple really: put the word “gummy” in front of whatever it is. For example, broccoli becomes gummy broccoli, enchiladas become gummy enchiladas.

If for some reason that doesn’t work, then your child just might not be hungry enough. Give it a day or two of no food and that wheatgrass juice will start looking pretty good.

Problem solved. You’re welcome!

If you’ve got a question for the IBMP team of experts, toss it in the comments, tweet it, post on Facebook, tie it to a carrier pigeon, send it in a smoke signal, or engrave it on a slab of granite and have it hand-deliverd by a team of eunuchs. 

Posted in: Advice (bad)