Differing Views on Snacking Before Meals?

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I had just gotten back from grocery shopping and helped myself to a thin slice of Virginia ham before putting things away and then making a sandwich and salad.


A thought occurred to me. You give an adult a morsel of food before a meal, and it's said to be an appetizer. You give a child a morsel before a meal, and it's said to spoil his appetite.

Why is this?
(Other than the parent is always right, even when they're wrong).

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
July 9, 20190 found this helpful

I think it is because people give children cookies and other unhealthy snacks and it does spoil their appetite when the meal comes around.

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July 9, 20190 found this helpful

You ask the best thought questions!!!

I think parents try to teach children the benefits of set meal times and healthy eating patterns which is why something outside of meal time was considered something that would spoil the appetite. This is to convey social norms, and have the parent feel like they are being a good parent...following the rules!!


Once you get to be an adult, you often throw everything you learned to the wind and follow your tummy and your eyes and rationalize that that little tidbit is a preview to the meal (i.e. an appetizer).

So I feel it is a do as I say and not as I do habit/thought pattern.

Like you, I have been known to have an appetizer and often it DOES spoil my appetite for the I should remember to listen to what my mother taught me when I was a child!!

Thanks for making me think!! I like that!!

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July 9, 20190 found this helpful

Not exactly what you are asking but a thought maybe?

Maybe forming habits?
Usually, children ask for cookies or such as a 'snack' before lunch/dinner and if it works one time - why not again, and again?


What do marketers say - 3 times and you're mine!
Once a habit (good or bad) is formed it seems to stick around.

Hopefully, adults can snatch a bite before dinner and just incorporate it in their total meal plan. if not, then they are also forming a habit and should take the same advice they give their children.
No snacks before dinner..

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July 11, 20191 found this helpful

I think it depends on the child. I could give my son a peanut butter sandwich before supper and he'd still eat everything and try to take my food away from me. And then two hours later, he'd be rummaging through the fridge for a snack.


I've tried to diet most of my adult life. Some diets will say don't eat until you're really hungry. If I do that, I can inhale the refrigerator practically, in just a few seconds. I've found that NOT letting myself get hungry works better.

Snacking before meals doesn't spoil my appetite, but sometimes it tones it down, which is a good thing. A light snack between 4 and 5 works well for me, since because of my husband's business, we don't eat supper until 7:30 or later. The snack keeps me from overeating supper.

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July 12, 20191 found this helpful

Some very interesting points, here. Years ago, I was having a lot of problems with GERD. I called a national hotline and spoke with a gastroenterologist.


He told me to never let my stomach get completely empty.

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July 12, 20191 found this helpful

I know when I was a kid, our family sat down at the table for dinner every single day at 5pm. Looking back at those days now, I see them as some of the BEST moments in my life!

And on the days (which was very rare) my mom might of been running a bit late with dinner, less than 30 min, but as a kid, my stomach was set for 5pm and that was it, (for my stomach) and I'd actually get a belly ache so she'd give me either a glass of milk, or some raw veggies from the salad she'd made, and that sufficed, took the growl out of my gut, and then all was good.


I personally think because she didn't give me 'junk to eat' like a cookie or any sweet snack *before dinner*, to this VERY day today, if, or when I get hungry before dinner is done, I instantly go to fruit or veggies or cheese to snack on before dinner is ready. I don't even have the thought of something sweet before dinner, in fact, the thought of "sweets" are a bit "yucky" to me.

I think it's all about conditioning because I see my husband of 20 years almost, and when he gets a hunger pang before dinner is served, he doesn't care what he eats to tie him over until it's ready, but, that's in the raising of a child I do believe. It's just an interesting observation I've noticed.

Something else "first hand" is I'm hyperactive and hypoglycemic and always have been, so waiting for food for any reason, late dinner etc as a kid, wouldn't of worked, it would of caused me GREAT pain as a kid. And it would too today, so a slice of cheese or a few raw veggies still fix the hunger problem (before meal times).

So imho, it's all about giving your kids "good healthy nutritious" snack foods, and when *they* need it.

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