Even since Aelig was a baby, she follows the French eating habits : a meal every 4 hours. Basically, she has her breakfast around 8am, lunch around 12pm, snack around 4pm then dinner around 8pm. This is very different from my own habits as I can eat anytime anywhere. French parents in general discourage nibbling between meals. This is stated in Pamela Druckerman's Bébé Day by Day : 100 keys to French parenting. Pamela is an American journalist who currently lives in Paris, raising three kids. She observed and wrote some parenting books about how French raise their kids. Her books were translated into other languages including Mandarin, and they have been a bit in the parenting world.
Anyway, seeing that I eat all the times, she quickly asks to do the same. When she comes back from school, around 6:30pm, she would tell me that she is hungry. I consider that fruits are no harm and could be consumed at anytime, so I prepared a fruit basket so she can help herself whenever she wants.
One day she asked her dad's permission for a banana before dinner but it was refused. She then came to see me and I overruled her dad. This caused some tension between me and hubby. During dinner she didn't eat much and hubby blamed this on the banana she ate earlier. True, if she hasn't eaten that banana, she might have taken more food. But, I considered fruit as part of the meal and provided the same good nutrition.
On another occasion, Aelig was hungry and asked to eat between meal again. This time hubby gave her some bread. He told me that bread is allowed and it is the way it is. True, he eats bread at anytime. Now, the question is why nibbling on bread is ok while savoring fruit is not ok?
We have not come to any conclusion about this. I agreed that I need to stop Aelig from eating all those biscuits I bought (I miss salty biscuits as breakfast as French breakfast are usually sweet). I still think eating fruit between meal is ok but if she eats fruit and bread between meal then it would be too much.
There are many conflicting studies about eating. Some say eating frequently with smaller portion is better for the body, some say we should not eat between meals. Some indicate we should eat fruits at the beginning of a meal instead of having it as dessert. Asian don't have habit to eat bread during meal but French do it all the times. At the end, it really depends on each individual.