Understanding Why Children Overeat

Understanding Why Children Overeat

It might seem like your kid is always eating, but it’s not the case. It might look like they eat snacks between meals or overeat at meals. How do you know if this behavior is something to worry about or regular? What steps can you take to ensure your kid maintains a healthy weight and does not overindulge?

In this post, we’ll discuss why children overeat and what parents can do to help them overcome it. 

5 Main Causes Why Children Overeat

1. They enjoy eating

Going out to eat makes it fun and exciting for many young people, such as the food, the company, and the aromas filling the air. If your child wants to try different foods, you’ve already done much of the work needed to raise a healthy child.

Parents must work hard to raise kids who like to eat and are full of energy when it’s time to sit down and eat together. Also, just because your child wants to eat doesn’t always mean he overeats.

The best thing to do:

Make sure to eat a broad range of meals to keep your body balanced. Be consistent with your meals and snack timings by eating them simultaneously every day.

When it’s time to eat, it’s essential to do so at designated meal, snack times, or places.

2. Party food triggers their appetite

We think that everyone seems to eat more when there is a party. It’s essential to dive right into something, give in to temptation, and then let go at a party. One of the hardest things about being a parent is that there are so many things to be happy about in a child’s life.

There are many good reasons to have a party, like birthdays, holidays, or the end of a sports season. If your child gets invited to many parties, it will be hard to get them to eat when they are hungry instead of when they see food.

How do you fix this? 

Before sending your child to a party or event, ensure they’ve had a regular meal or snack in case they become hungry. Throughout the day, keep an eye on what your child eats in the way of food and water. 

Instead, it’s so that you can get a better sense of how they eat and ensure each of their meals is well-balanced—regularly eating before a party makes you less inclined to overeat when you arrive.

3. The strong influence of peers or the media

There is a significant effect on a person’s life while they are in school or their teenage years because of the influence of their friends. Most of the time, doctors will tell parents to expect this to happen because it is normal for a child’s age and stage of development. 

A more concise way to say it is that children and teenagers want to eat like their peers. This is influenced by what youngsters see on television and the internet. This is the only logical reason someone desires to eat unhealthy food.

The best thing to do:

Don’t limit yourself too much regarding processed foods, such as sweets and fast food. While you’re trying to keep an eye on the sweets and treats, kids will naturally gravitate toward them. Allow these foods to be included in the diet in smaller amounts while making it clear that they should only be taken once in a while. 

If you’re making desserts or sweets, we recommend sticking to the 90/10 Rule as often as possible. Healthier foods make up most of the meal; sweets and other junk food make up 10%. (aka Fun Foods).

4. They’re too hungry (especially at an early age)

When we feel hungry, our bodies tell us that we must find and eat food. The extent to which a child is malnourished is directly linked to their level of development. The primary reason young people eat is that they are hungry. 

Since their bodies continue to mature beyond the age of 18, this is the reason why. Young children and teenagers have an insatiable hunger for food (the adolescent growth spurt). In terms of development and transformation, a child’s first and third years are the most critical.

The best thing to do: 

Ensure your child doesn’t go for long without consuming food or drink. Establish a regular eating schedule and stick to it by taking three to four meals and snacks throughout the day at regular intervals. If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to save your hunger. 

It’s not like you have to eat during these mealtimes; instead, they’re just opportunities to do so. Improve the situation even more by ensuring that your nutrition strategy is comprehensive. It’s going to be a huge help to have this!

5. They are bored

Most children will eat if they have nothing else. The term “eating in the absence of hunger” refers to the practice of having to eat even when not hungry. There has been a great deal of research done on this subject. 

When children are bored, they tend to overeat since they have nothing better to do than eat. They conclude that eating is a helpful way to pass the time when you’re bored. If food and eating are not regulated, someone would probably overeat out of boredom.

The best thing to do:

There are a variety of ways you may limit the amount of food you eat. Start by closing the kitchen door behind you after you’ve finished eating. In addition, the following actions might help “tighten the ship.”

Regarding snacks and meals, you need to teach your child to check with you first before they are allowed to help themselves. 

Meals and snacks should be prepared and served according to a defined schedule. It’s possible to avoid the need to eat while doing nothing of interest if you follow the rules.

What can parents do to help their children avoid overeating?

            •           Find out what’s happening. Is this restaurant mostly known for its cuisine? Probably not. There might be more going on here than simply a desperate plea for attention. If you suspect your kid is overeating because they are angry or upset, you should talk to them about it. Find out what triggers their desire to consume food regularly.

            •           Make it fun for everyone in the family to move their bodies. Going on bike rides, Frisbee contests, skating, swimming in the pool, or shooting hoops with your friends (basketball and hula) is possible. Do whatever it is that you like doing with each other. Mental and physical health benefits are experienced by those who participate.

            •           Preparing meals at home is something you should instill in your children. Your child may learn to appreciate excellent food by helping you choose recipes, shop for groceries, and prepare nutritious meals.

            •           Purchase a diary for each of your children. You may encourage your kid to maintain a food journal if they’re mature and responsible enough to do so.

            •           The best place to start is with your doctor. According to research, children who struggle with weight perform better when they visit their doctor more often. To help children whose doctor has told them they need to lose weight, we recommend having them evaluated every three to four months and discussing how to eat healthier and get more activity.

            •           Explanations of the health hazards and consequences of overeating should be tailored to the audience’s age group. You’re well aware that poor eating habits may lead to various adverse outcomes, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

            •           Find someone who can assist you. Concerns regarding your child’s food obsession or whether they are anorexic/bulimic should be discussed with their primary care doctor.


Finding out what’s causing your child to overeat as soon as you see it is critical so that your child may be fed food that is both loved and regulated. You can determine whether or not there is a problem by identifying the cause of the issue.

To help your kid make healthier dietary choices, find out what you can do to support them. Many parents are taken back when they learn just how much work it takes to raise a kid. The bad idea is to try it on your own. A meeting with a specialist may help you and your child work together to overcome health challenges. 

Jim Yi