K-Man is a big 4 1/2 year old. At last visit, he was 48 lbs and 45 inches tall. He is by all accounts a good eater. We rarely have to coax him to finish a meal, and he likes a variety though perhaps a bit of a purist (not too much mixed up). The only things he isn't interested in is steak - his loss - and peanut butter - my loss. Lately though, I find he wants to eat ALL THE TIME. I am struggling with how much is ok to let him eat.
K-Man is not in danger of being overweight or anything, but I think that it can become a bad habit to snack all day long. Plus I am not genuinely sure he is hungry as much as bored. Today is a prime example. He woke at 7:30AM. He had 1/2 a whole wheat mini-bagel with cream cheese, 1 slice of raisin toast with cream cheese, a gogurt, a clementine and a glass of milk. THEN still had a cereal bar within an hour or so. I calculated that up minus the cereal bar and breakfast was 365 calories and 15g of protein. That is a little under 20% of what he should have for calories and more than 75% of the protein recommended by the CDC. I don't think that was unreasonable. Add in the cereal bar and he shouldn't be "starving" at 10:30AM.
I get tired of telling him, "No, you don't need another snack", or "You just ate dinner", etc, etc. I also feel a little bad. What if he is REALLY hungry? Maybe he is growing and needs much more than the suggested 1400 calories a day. And no, I am not counting them regularly. I am crazy, but not that crazy. I only know because my buddy, Google, told me when I asked today what was "normal" for a 4-5 year old. When he asks for the 8th time in an hour, I offer a fruit or something healthy. I figure if he is really hungry, anything will do at that point. Honestly, he almost always does take it. For goodness sake, he chose raw cauliflower yesterday because he said he was hungry and that was my offer. Tell me how many 4 year olds would?!
I would like to hope that I am not the only mom or dad out there trying to decide how much food is the right amount for their kids. Do you have tips on how you handle the constant barrage of "can I have a snack" or "I'm hungry"?