Grazing and Handouts: How To Cut It Out!

  September 23, 2013

Recently, my daughter has learned the eating technique called…Begging! At first it was so cute as she reached her little hand up at me requesting what I was eating, but I’ve come to realize I’m not setting either of us up for success. This week as I revamped HOW we are eating, it made me take a closer look at my own eating habits.

How many times have you walked through the kitchen and grabbed a few pretzels or cookies or chips? Did you even realize you did it? Did you even taste the food you just shoved in your mouth? If you are like me probably not!

So let’s look at this situation Two Fold:

As the Parent:

If you are constantly picking up food and snacking every time you pass the kitchen, the snack drawer or the food court that is called GRAZING! Now I’m using the term grazing to mean frequent eating of snacks unconsciously and sometimes in place of meals. Here’s the big deal: 3 Cookies will cost you at least 150 calories, 10 potato chips will cost you about 150 calories, 1 12oz can of regular soda will cost you about 140 calories.  If at the end of the day you eliminated that ~150 calories it could equate to losing 1 pound of FAT in 3 weeks! Just think if you graze on those things more then once a day!

As the Child:

If we are constantly giving our children “handouts” we are also setting them up for failure. Children do best with eating when they come to the table hungry and are given the opportunity to eat a variety of food with no coaxing. If every time we graze on something we give that food to our children we aren’t allowing them to learn to self regulate their eating.

So What is the Solution?

Step #1

Plan 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day for the entire family. If you are going out for the day, plan to pack enough snacks and water to last you the day.

Step #2

Every 3-4 hours sit down at a table or bench to eat your food. It’s important that the whole family has the opportunity to fill up at snack and meal times. Sitting down and enjoying the food will contribute to the enjoyment and satiety of the meals and/or snack.

Now I’m not saying this is going to be easy! Breaking the habit of grazing for you and your family is HARD! Start small by trying to implement these two steps! What’s the best case scenario…you as the parent may actually lose a few pounds and your children may become better eaters!

I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to Comment Below if you found this helpful!

Much Love

Dana Snook, RDN, CDE, CIC


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