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How to give DD less food without her feeling hard done-by?

(15 Posts)
justchilli Thu 10-Sep-09 14:13:19

DS1 (12) does lots of sport and walks 3 miles round trip to school each day. Eats like a horse but stays a healthy shape.

DD1 (10) is not keen on sport and walks ~1.5 miles round trip to school each day. She loves to play in her room or just read. She's gradually got overweight - since about 6 yrs. Not obese but a noticeable "beer" belly.

We eat healthily at home. Sweets maybe once a week. She snacks on apples and other fruit. I thought she was maybe she was getting too many extra calories at friends houses - lots of pizza, chips and ice cream (which she thinks is fab...) However we've just had a month away all together where I could see exactly what she was having every day (same as us). We all stayed same weight and she gained. I think she just needs less.

My dilemma is how to be "fair" with portion sizes at meal times. They are close in age and have always had the same. If DD eats same as DS she'll pile on weight. If she thinks she's getting less she feels hurt and hard done by. How can I solve this diplomatically please?

LadyPinkofPinkerton Thu 10-Sep-09 14:18:30

Can you not fill up her plate more with veg, like an adult who was following WW would. Her plate will look full but she will have more of the healthy low calorie stuff.

Or maybe a slightly different plate?

Difficult one I fear.

wilbur Thu 10-Sep-09 14:26:25

I have exactly the same issue - my dd is only 6 and she is not overweight, but she is right at the top of the percentiles for her age for weight but not for height and she is definitely sturdy with a tummy. She probably needs fewer calories than she is taking in currently. She's always had a big appetite and loves things like mayonnaise (disaster). She is thankfully very active, but I am aware this may change as she gets older and I want her to develop good eating habits.

Trouble is, I also have two boys, ds1 is 8 and ds2 is 4. Ds1 is a string bean with far too many ribs on show and ds2 has always been tiny, bumping along on the 12th/25th percentile. He's also a fussy eater, which doesn't help. So I want to feed up my two skinnies, while making sure that dd doesn't fill up at the same time. Also, I don't want to say anything to her about it - gawd knows that never works - but just to be careful about her portions.

It is hard and I would be devastated if dd realised what we were doing or felt cheated of food. We eat pretty healthy low-fat meals at home as a family, but I have taken to doing things like making sure I put butter in baked potatoes before they go to the table (loads in the boys' and a scrape in dd's), extra cheese on pasta for boys etc.

Any other suggestions gratefully received.

luckylady74 Thu 10-Sep-09 14:28:27

First I would check her weight height bmi on the nhs website as she might be ok and just storing fat for puberty.

If she eats healthily I would consider portion size and offering her more drinks in case she eats when she's derhydrated. Interms of being fair I would just heap more veg on/ cut up stuff so it's less obvious what's there. Give her a smaller plate so it's harder to tell.

I really do think exercise is the way to go. The walk to school is great, but kids need to get into regular exercise so they do it as adults.
Can you get her out of her room and go on bikes/trampoline/walk the dog/swim/hsm dance routine-anything that she'd like. My 4yr old has a good go at an ex video with me-obviously she's not following it properly, but she jumps around for 45 mins whilst I do it.
Getting kids into the habit of exercise is so important for adult health. I spent my childhood reading and though that's helped my career and given me lots of pleasure I think a happy balance with going out on my bike would have been better.

LadyTeasmaid Sat 12-Sep-09 10:44:49

Sounds like you're giving her a very healthy and balanced diet. Perhaps not so much an issue of food, maybe more exercise is the answer.

Perhaps try to turn it into a positive, a mummy daughter day? My son and I recently took up climbing at a local indoor centre, there's also dance, karate, lots of things you can do together.

Lucky Lady is on the right track, establishing exercise is so important, is just hard when you have a bookworm as a daughter ( I was a reader in my room also lol)

smallone Mon 14-Sep-09 09:39:08

Could you give them different lunches now they're back at school? High cal for DS and low cal for DD and then they can have the same dinner? Or provide snacks "for sport" so "DS is getting this for after football" or whatever. So if she wants extra snacks she understands it involves extra activity on her part?

Also watch out for hidden fruit calories - lots of sugar in fruit.

rookiemater Mon 14-Sep-09 09:48:01

I am interested in this thread also. DS is only 3.5 and isn't fat but is heavily built. I was a large child and if its something you can sort out before adolescence then it is really worth doing, but I don't know how either.

castille Mon 14-Sep-09 10:18:59

I have a similar situation - DD1 is naturally lithe, and although DD2 is also slim she is more sturdily built and would eat loads more than she does if I let her.

The big difference between them is that whilst DD1 stops when she's had enough, DD2 seems to have a big appetite and doesn't have such an effective off switch.

I try to act mainly with portion size, because we all eat the same meal together. And limiting food to mealtimes only - 3 proper meals a day plus a healthy snack after school.

LoveBeingAMummy Mon 14-Sep-09 10:21:07

I think the key is about gettong her to do more 'exercise', findign something she enjoys and wants to do.

BonsoirAnna Mon 14-Sep-09 10:23:19

I think it is important not to beat about the bush. If you control your DD's food intake without telling her, she may lose a little weight but she will not have learnt consciously to monitor her own food intake and to control her own weight.

smallone Mon 14-Sep-09 11:32:05

I think the hardest thing to come to terms with (and its taken me 30yrs!) is that different people need different amounts of food. Its not about "overeating" its about eating what you need.

BonsoirAnna Mon 14-Sep-09 14:06:43

smallone - I agree. Everyone needs to learn to eat the amount he or she needs, with no regard for anyone else's needs. It's like sleep - some children and adults need a lot more than others, it's a physiological thing over which you have very little control. You need to learn to accept your own genetic predispositions early in life and families can help by being supportive and understanding of all their members' individual needs.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 14-Sep-09 14:20:23

Can't you just give your DS a bit more of the carbohydrate part of the meal relative to your DD (protein and veg stay the same) and if DD queries it, just tell her that he simply needs more energy because he has a longer walk and does more sport. That is perfectly fair.

LargeLatte Tue 15-Sep-09 21:01:31

Not sure if someone has already posted this but if you can see she still gains weight when you all eat the same have you taken her to the GP? Maybe thyroid? Might be worth checking.

justchilli Thu 17-Sep-09 19:17:03

Thanks everyone for your useful and encouraging words. She doesn't drink much at all so that's something I need to renew efforts in getting her to do so. We've been cycling together a few times since I posted and she's joined some active clubs at school. Will keep you posted on progress. smile

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