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Grandparenting

Grandson with huge appetite

(32 Posts)
Bazza Sun 05-May-19 08:04:04

One of my grandsons who is 9 has always had a huge appetite. Up until now he has been a normal weight for his age, but he is beginning to look larger than he should. His mum scratch cooks every day and he has a brilliant healthy diet but.....he is always hungry. When he has finished his dinner he says he is still hungry. He will eat an apple, but would eat three if you let him! He has been diagnosed with mild dyspraxia, and although he is quite active, he doesn’t enjoy running around as much as his younger brother, who in incidently very lean. We’re all very careful not to point out that he is putting weight on, but how do you rein in a huge appetite?

He does have occasional treats so he is not deprived totally! He is a lovely gentle affectionate child, and we all worry that he will become overweight with all the problems that goes with it.

His father is overweight and isn’t the greatest role model.

As the mother of two very picky girls who had to be persuaded to eat I was initially delighted to have a grandchild who would eat anything put in front of him! He will try anything new, there’s not much he doesn’t like, except liver which he said tasted cloudy!

Any suggestions gratefully received.

MamaCaz Sun 05-May-19 08:15:07

I'm sorry, Bazza, I don't have any advice to offer. I just wanted to say that I love your grandson's description of liver. And I know just what he means when he says it tastes cloudy! 😀

M0nica Sun 05-May-19 08:41:16

There are various medical problems that can result in an ungovernable appetite. The most extreme is Praader-Willi syndrome, when the child has no built in appetite control and, left alone, will eat non-stop. Such children are also learning disabled so that is clearly not your GS's problem. Non stop eating can also be a sign of diabetes, but some children do just have huge appetites.

I was a non-stop eater as a child. I was variously described as having hollow legs or one gut and it is never full. I was also as skinny as a snake and hyperactive. This changed with puberty and I began putting on weight. At that point I started eating less quite simply because I did not want to get fat. I didn't diet (almost impossible at boarding school), I didn't weigh myself, I just decided to eat less by stopping going for second helpings, finishing everything leftover and eating between meals. Nothing planned or even consciously thought through.

It might be worth discussing the problem with your GP but then you or his parents should not be afraid of discussing it with your GS, the relationship between food and weight and the need for him to make sure he doesn't eat so much he gets fat. Explain the disadvantages being overweight can cause healthwise and socially, not being able to join in with others and being teased.

As a fellow dyspraxic I understand him probably not enjoying football kick arounds, bike riding and any activity that relies on good co-ordination and balance, but I really enjoyed swimming and was quite good at it as is my son who is also dyspraxic. Going out as a family to do enjoyable things like going out to country parks, zoos, stately homes etc, anything that will involve lots of walking for pleasure will also up his activity level.

sodapop Sun 05-May-19 08:44:30

It's difficult isn't it Bazza with the spectre of eating disorders looking over our shoulders.
Has your grandson had medical checks in reference to this particular problem, that should be your first port of call. It's easy to fall into the habit of over eating, perhaps you need to quietly reduce the amounts of food he is given, smaller plates, more vegetables etc. Distraction when he wants to snack or just healthy snacks. The whole family maybe needs to do this with occasional treats.

Iam64 Sun 05-May-19 09:02:53

My young grandchildren eat three meals a day and graze in a way our generation didn't have available to us. My mum did breakfast, mid day meal and tea. We has elevenses which could be a biscuit until Tuesday when they'd all be eaten or an apple. About 3.30 we'd be allowed a jam sandwich then tea between 5 and 6. Supper could be toast or later, when cereals were more common, a bowl of cornflakes. That was it. Fruit, a biscuit (not half a packet), a jam sandwich or similar and nothing else.
I followed a similar, if less frugal regime with mine. The current generation of children seem to eat three times a day and graze in between. I'm not having a go at anybody, times change but saying No, wait till lunch time seems reasonable to me.

M0nica Sun 05-May-19 09:33:18

It occurs to me that it may be that his tummy is just slow in registering that he has eaten enough. We are told it takes 20 minutes for our awareness of fullness to register.

Why not give him a good nourishing meal and, if he asks for more tell him he has to wait 30 minutes, do not remind him, just see if he comes back and then, if he does, give him a healthy snack. - piece of fruit, finger of cheese, slice of wholemeal (ideally granary style) bread and butter (no sweet stuff on it). This will test whether the extra eating is really wanted or habit.

EllanVannin Sun 05-May-19 10:07:16

As a youngster growing up I also had a huge appetite. Before mum served dinner I'd have scoffed 2 or 3 home-made jam tarts, then a dinner that would have choked a goat, pudding afterwards and usually a chunk of Bakewell tart.
Every meal-time was the same and I remained as thin as the wind.
Throughout my life I've pretty well been the same. It's only now as I've got older that I've gradually slowed down but can still pack away a good meal if I'm really hungry with a rumbling tum.
It's done me no harm whatsoever, in fact I think that having the appetite I had has kept me in good stead over the years to date and I'm still slim !
Mum used to say I had hollow legs.

Providing the child in question is eating good home-cooked food with all the right " essentials/ingredients " I wouldn't be worrying. He's a growing child and will more than likely grow upwards instead of outwards.

Gonegirl Sun 05-May-19 10:44:53

I agree totally with EllenVannin.

Oh, and it's years since I had a "home made jam tart". Sigh.

Teacheranne Sun 05-May-19 11:05:34

This reminded me of my son! He always had a healthy appetite and friends used to envy the speed at which he ate his food when a baby - we used to hold the bowl of " mush" under his chin and shovel it in! As a teenager, it got worse and he hoovered his way through huge quantities of food!

He would eat a whole loaf of bread when he got home from school then have his tea then hunt around the cupboards for snacks! I ended up having to keep all the snacks in the boot of my car so they were not in the kitchen and my other two children soon learnt to hide any treats they had! As my son was very thin, I was not worried but my purse was!

We once went to an American style restaurant which had a challenge to eat an enormous quantity of grilled food, if you cleared the plate, they paid for the meal. That challenge was no problem for my son, he ate the lot and then had some ice cream!

This appetite was explained when he was about 13 years old and he began to grow tall and did not stop until he reached 6 ft 7 ins!

glammanana Sun 05-May-19 11:06:29

My youngest DGS was about 8/9 when we noticed how he much weight he had put on compared to his brothers at a similar age,he could clear the table if you let him DD has always cooked from scratch for them since they where babies and he didn't have fast foods at all,the problem was lack of excercise he didn't like his brothers enjoy football or any other sports even at school he shyed away from games of any kind.
My DD took charge when he was 11 and got him walking his brothers dog for an hour a day and he has lost all that "puppy fat" he now walks the dog every night after school walking from his house down to the beach and back.

Niucla97 Sun 05-May-19 11:11:12

Going back to when my younger son was in High School . I just couldn't fill him he would eat a big bowl of weetabix while I was cooking breakfast. I always made soup, a dinner and a pudding and he would leave the table and go looking for food! I even found apples and things tucked away under his bed.

I eventually took him to the Dr who told me not to worry unless he became obese. He grew into a six foot beanpole. He's married with two children of his own and he's thickened out a little but still likes his food. My grandson is the same, tall and slim likes his Dad and you should see the size of some of the 'snacks' he eats!

GrandmaJan Sun 05-May-19 11:18:17

I’ve nursed many children with this type of behaviour although boys can often complain of hunger and constantly eat. Prader-Willi Syndrome comes to mind but hunger alone is not the only one so please don’t go thinking it’s that because it doesn’t sound from you description of him that that is the cause. Boys tend to “graze” particularly when going through a period of rapid growth, more so than girls.

Gma29 Sun 05-May-19 11:22:56

Does your grandson eat his meals very quickly? It takes a little while to ‘feel full’, and if he is a rapid eater, he may still feel hungry, when he has actually had sufficient.

EllenVannin love the expression ‘choke a goat’!

justrolljanet Sun 05-May-19 11:43:58

My grandaughters are given a large glass of water when they complain of being hungry between meals, then they can have a piece of fruit if still hungry, to be honest they are hungry almost all of the time but they are very active, when they come to me after school they usually have their tea at 4.30 just to stop them grizzling about being starving :-)

Cece44 Sun 05-May-19 12:38:31

Think it's quite common for kids to put on weight at this age.. my mum used to call it 'puppy fat' God know why!!

4allweknow Sun 05-May-19 12:48:10

Apart from there perhaps being any medical condition being the cause, could you perhaps either reduce the size of the place used (may be too obvious to him) or just very very gradually reduce the amount on the plate. I listened to an article on the radio yesterday and apparently we humans gauge how much we eat or have eaten on the weight of the meal. Fill it up even more with fruit and veg to help meet this. Then we automatically eat less sugary and salty stuff. Your DGS could of course have just grown into eating more. The more you have the more you want syndrome.

Bazza Sun 05-May-19 13:19:27

Many thanks to everyone who posted on this topic, food for though if you pardon the pun! Wouldn’t you love to be one of those lucky people who can eat whatever they want and stay slim.

I have to be restrained from giving him too much to eat when they visit. He is such a pleasure to feed, unlike his mother who was an absolute nightmare!

ecci53 Sun 05-May-19 13:25:19

I think his body is getting ready for a growth spurt. I used to be a teacher and have seen this many times. The boy becomes a bit chubby for a while, and then suddenly gets a few inches taller and is no longer chubby. It's definitely not Prader-Willi Syndrome, as I have taught children with that.

quizqueen Sun 05-May-19 13:45:53

Does he have worms? That's a serious question, but if the dad is on the larger side, it is likely he will have inherited his genes. Get him to drink a large glass of water before he eats anything and he will be fuller.

Callistemon Sun 05-May-19 14:10:04

DS always had a huge appetite and, although I tried to slow him down, he would eat quickly and I think that that can sometimes make you unable to register that you're full.

There are disorders as mentioned above, but perhaps he is at the moment heading for a growth spurt.
DS grew very quickly in spurts (now 6' 4" and health and weight conscious).

All my DC seemed to not grow for a while, get more 'sturdy' then suddenly shoot up and look too lean!

Hm999 Sun 05-May-19 14:29:33

I'm one of three sisters. My middle sister and I had male babies within 15 months of each other, and neither of us could not believe how much food the boys got through, and they always seemed hungry. Both were energetic, and keen on sports. They are men in their 30s now, don't seem to eat excessively and are both pretty slender; in fact both appear quite healthy.

MooM00 Sun 05-May-19 14:54:52

Bazza, my step grandson has an absolute hugh appetite, he can eat for England. He comes round to me on a Friday because he knows it's curry night he can eat all that with extras and just before the last mouth full he is asking for ice cream, he would eat the full tub if he could. I know he likes to come to me because I spoil him. He has allway's been a big eater like his dad. He was very chubby at the age of 9, now he is 14 and 6ft and still a bit overweight but he has started playing Rugby so that should help. I do notice in the last years he fills out and then has a massive growth spurt.

Cold Sun 05-May-19 15:17:48

Is he due for a growth spurt? Could it be the start of puberty? In my experience a lot of children become ravenous and start to look a little heavier just prior to a big growth spurt.

Kim19 Sun 05-May-19 15:26:24

Interesting..... my mildly dyspraxic son was exactly the same. I have no idea if the condition and 'problem' are related but I do regret indulging him in full plates rather than applying sensible restrictions. He now has an ongoing weight misfortune whereas the other one has no such problem. Isn't hindsight and first child experimentation frustrating?!

Telly Sun 05-May-19 16:48:15

I think that if he is filling up on apples then it hard to think why he might be putting on weight. I imagine that his parents are aware of the situation and hopefully managing it. All you can practically do is make sure you have healthy snacks when he is with you and support whatever his parents think is the correct diet. My GS is similar, however he is very tall for his age. I think he's going to be 7 foot or thereabouts, not a great deal that can be done about that!

Evie64 Sun 05-May-19 20:37:06

Try and get him to do the 20-20-20. Only load your fork with 20% of the food on your plate, chew it 20 times, and wait 20 mins after you have finished your meal to see if you are still hungry. Can't say I've tried it yet, but met up with my daughter today for a pub roast and she swears by it.

M0nica Sun 05-May-19 22:43:57

A bit much for a 9 year old to do and makes a big deal of what should be dealt with as a trivial problem from his view.

Fine for adults.

Purplepoppies Mon 06-May-19 07:03:25

I too think he may be readying himself for a growth spurt.
I can tell when my dgd is about to get taller (shes at my shoulder aged 8) because she eats like a horse and looks for more. Rarely has a tummy though. Shes all legs at the moment. But she never sits still! Even while she's sitting, some part of her is moving. She hasn't any diagnosis of adhd, just fidgety.

BradfordLass72 Mon 06-May-19 10:04:22

My grandson is 9 and has a appetite similar to your dgs.

He is growing upwards as we watch! I can hardly believe how tall he's gotten in just 6 months.

My sister, thin as a rake, used to eat constantly - a box of Weetabix every couple of days in addition to her 3-4 regular big meals and often taking a cake to bed with her.
She freely admitted she never, ever felt full.

I who was on a strict diet (no sweets, fried foods, cake etc) because I was fat from birth, constantly put on weight, eating a fraction of what everyone else ate.

There's no justice but at least now I know why it happens. grin

Incidentally, I have been labeled 'obese', better yet, 'morbidly obese' most of my life but it has in no way restricted me from having an extremely active life.

Even the health problems which have come with my 70's are nothing to do with being fat.
So let's not run away with the idea - much outdated - that being fat means early death and useless to society.

Chinesecrested Mon 06-May-19 10:34:39

Kids put it on, and then take it off! Mine always did. I've got skinny photos and fat photos.

Hm999 Mon 06-May-19 10:54:35

My son always got wider just before he got taller (and thinner again)! My daughter never did.

Callistemon Mon 06-May-19 14:22:10

My DS had what we called 'hollow legs'.