Until fairly recently, my kids weren’t allowed snacks between meals. The only thing they were allowed (in fact, they were encouraged to have) was fruit. As far as I was concerned, if you were hungry you would eat a banana or an apple and if you wouldn’t eat one, you were just being greedy.
I know for many families, snacks work for them and have been part of their kids’ diets since weaning, but for us, they’ve never worked. I have two fussy kids (although the eldest is, thankfully, a lot less fussy now), who both had small appetites when they were little (my daughter still has one now) and if they ate snacks, they wouldn’t eat meals. So snacks didn’t exist.
There were rules. And they obeyed them.
We don’t eat between meals.
(We will gloss over Mummy’s early morning Green & Black’s habit. If they don’t see it, it doesn’t actually happen.)
But then something changed.
Puberty kicked in.
My eldest got less fussy and his appetite got bigger. He stopped following the rules about asking for food and started helping himself. And, as is always the case with slightly younger siblings, as soon as his brother started nicking food, so did my younger son.
And by ‘food’, I mean ‘biscuits’.
I tried to stop them and tried to limit it, but I was fighting a losing battle. I told myself it was probably OK as my eldest was on his growth spurt (he never mentions the fact that he’s now noticeably taller than me, oh no, not at all… ) and my younger son had been looking thin and gaunt.
So I turned a blind eye.
Then the biscuits started running out. So I bought more biscuits. So they ate more. My husband complained that the cupboard was too full.
My eldest complained that he never had crisps in his packed lunch (he never has – I took all those saturated fat messages on board when he started school). So I bought crisps. For him. Just a couple of times a week.
That became every day. The younger two wanted crisps too.
The cupboard got more full.
The kids kept eating. Then they complained on Wednesdays (Tesco order day) when the supplies ran low.
I heard myself saying the words my Mum and Dad said to me: ‘If we bought more, you’d eat more’ and ‘When they’ve gone they’ve gone’.
Now, just as when they were babies and toddlers, I won’t leave the house without some Tuc biscuits, Belvitas or Hula Hoops. My kids are hungry ALL THE TIME. They should snack more healthily, but what is more convenient than biscuits and crisps?
I’ve also discovered myself that Tuc biscuits and Hula Hoops are very tasty and perfect for that mid-afternoon lull.
How did this happen? How did we become the family with the bulging snack cupboard?
Damn you, puberty!