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My 16 month old wants a snack minutes after being offered a meal! What's going on??

I don't want to deny her food if she's truly hungry, but I just don't understand why she won't eat enough at the mealtime, so that she won't be hungry for a snack 15-30 minutes later. I try to feed her what she likes (as well as some new foods), but it's not helping the situation.

I thought it might be because she's bored, so I try to engage her in fun activities. Even still, she'll toddle over to the fridge or the pantry, and use sign language to indicate she wants a snack. If I don't get up immediately to give her a snack, she'll cry and whine.

Any ideas? She's only 20 pounds.


Asked by Anonymous at 10:53 PM on Nov. 17, 2009 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • Some kids are just grazers. but you can try setting set meal and snack times and sticking to it. Just make sure you have enough snacks. At that age, mine had a snack (on the drive in to day care), breakfast, snack, meal, snack, snack on drive home, dinner, snack. She is small, like your duaghter too. She always seemed to be eating and if she didn't get her snack, she would be very cranky! She also would eat all of her meals. But she did go through a phase of being too busy to sit and eat (well, grandma helped with that by following her around and trying to make her eat. First time I saw that I had a fit!!!) and wanted to take her food and drink with her all the time. She still will if she can get away with it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:07 PM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • does she eat at mealtime? my son is a snacker too. he will eat a couple bites then want to snack... I don't offer or Let him have differnet than us for dinner but he's so tiny and eats like a bird i feel like I am feeding him ALL DAY

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 10:57 PM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • I JUST went through this wth my daughter. Tough it out. She will eat. Just offer her what you offered at meal time. I found that if I'm eating the same thing then she will eat better.

    Good luck!

    Answer by Ati_13 at 10:57 PM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • My daughter is often the same way (she's almost 3). I sometimes think that she just would rather have the freedom to snack (and roam) than to stay at the table long enough to consume a meal. We also must remember (especially at your daughter's age) that they have small stomachs and cannot eat as much as we may expect them to. My inlaws drive me crazy always trying to encourage my kids to eat all their dinner, lunch, etc. I would rather let my kids decide when they are full and then if they need to snack later on - that's fine with me - we have plenty of healthy snacks handy. I think that it is healthier to have my attitude than my inlaws.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:01 PM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • OP

    She "picks" at her meals. Rarely does she eat much. It's gotten worse over the past couple of weeks. The only "meal" that she eats heartily is when I give her one of those Yo-Baby 3 in 1 yogurt cups (fruit, veggie plus yogurt). She likes yogurt.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:02 PM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • its called control. She is almost 2 and this is the age they test you. Go about your daily routines,eventually she will get in the routine as well, do not let her dictate you, or she will only get worse by age 5 and be frustrated. The best book I have ever read is called The Continuum Concept. It is excellent and discusses these types of situations.

    Answer by Newbegginings04 at 12:41 AM on Nov. 18, 2009

  • I wouldn't give her any snacks after her meal. My son is the same age... he's smart enough to know that if he waits to eat he could have a yummy snack instead.
    If she doesn't eat well with her meal put it in the fridge... and then when she asks for a snack heat it back up and put it back in front of her.
    She won't starve herself and she will learn to eat what she is given. We don't offer second options nor do we offer favorites or snack if he didn't eat well. And now he's an awsome eater... the only thing he won't eat is cold cheese... and will clear his plate most meals.

    Answer by AmiJanell at 9:49 AM on Nov. 18, 2009

  • I agree with the other poster that said it's control. My twins were very picky eaters and underweight. I had to put a 2 hour rule in place, that is no snacking 2 hours before a meal or 2 hours after. I also had to eliminate a lot of junk foods. As they got better about eating I relaxed the rule to 1 hour before.

    Answer by teamquinn at 10:16 AM on Nov. 18, 2009

  • If my children (2 and 4 years) ask for a snack within 1 hour of a meal then I give them leftovers from the meal regardless of how much or little they ate at the meal. For my kids the amount they eat has a lot to do with whether we sit down to eat with them. My oldest especially with that. He eats great if we sit down at the table and eat and not so well if we don't all sit and eat together. My oldest is also a grazer, but he has to eat his meals. It was a struggle with him around2 years old, but that is when we started offering the meal as a snack like I said and he got much better.

    Answer by aeneva at 10:22 AM on Nov. 18, 2009