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ds needs more calories, what can i give him?

(17 Posts)
Booyhoo Fri 06-Nov-09 14:17:09

ds (4) has always been a picky eater but these last couple of months he has been eating less of the things he does eat. he is getting taller but i think he's getting thinner. not so much that i'm concerned yet as both OH and i are thin but i fear that if it doesnt change then he will be underweight.

i know children do go through growth spurts and get taller rather than wider at times but the fact that he is eating so little worries me.

previously for breakfast he would have had;

fruit (1/2 banana/1/2apple/handful of grapes)
small bowl of cereal with whole milk(weetabix/porridge)
1 slice of toast/pancake
1 or 2 small yoghurts
small glass of fruit juice

but now i would be lucky to get 3 spoonfuls of cereal into him and a glug of juice.

he no longer eats his snacks (scone/fruit)

and he would have eaten a good childsize portion of whatever we have for dinner but now he'll have a few mouthfulls and say he's finished. he doesnt get desert unless he clears his plate and this doesnt bother him now.

i know children can go through phases like this but its been a couple of months now and i think its too long, he cant possible be getting enough to sustain his energy levels (even though he has boundless energy)

can anyone give me any tips on how to get him to eat and also what foods are high in calories so that i might get a bit of weight on him.

Seona1973 Fri 06-Nov-09 14:26:37

the original breakfast sounds enormous!! DD(6) is not a breakfast person so maybe has half a bowl of cereal (small portion) and a drink of fruit juice. She has a fruit snack at break time and lunch is a roll/sandwich, a yoghurt, some fruit and maybe a biscuit mini snack pack. She has a snack after school and then dinner. She doesnt have to clear her plate to get a desert but does have to make a bit of an effort to eat some of it.

Booyhoo Fri 06-Nov-09 14:33:42

ds is a breakfast person (was sad ) and would have cleared that no problem. it really wasnt massive it was a small bowl of cereal and halfa small banana or apple. the toast he always leaves the crusts. i guess i gave him more at breakfast as he is so picky and i wanted to make sure he had a good full belly for during the day if he wasnt going to eat anything else.

zanz1bar Fri 06-Nov-09 18:16:36

Peanut Butter

My Ds also 4 has a tiny appetite and super skinny. Peanut butter sandwiches are my salvation, loads of calories in a small bite.

Booyhoo Fri 06-Nov-09 18:42:47

ive tried peanut butter and he wont have it.

campion Fri 06-Nov-09 18:49:46

If he really is eating very little have a word with the HV or your GP. His change in attitude and intake would worry me slightly, though if he's full of energy then he's obviously getting more than you think!Personally, I wouldn't have rules about clearing plates before other foods if he isn't eating enough.

Generally, foods with concentrated calories ( butter, cheese,full fat milk,milk shakes with ice cream in,peanut butter,dried fruit,fried chicken and fish,biscuits, chocolate, cake - the last 3 not exclusively ,obv(!)) help to satisfy a small child's requirements. Little and often is good practice for small children as their stomachs are small and they don't like sitting still for long.

'Picnics' in another room ( prob a bit cold in the garden just now!), getting him to help make his food ( simple sandwich etc) or just letting him choose what you're having (only occasionally!!) might spark a bit of interest.

But if he's healthy and energetic I wouldn't stress too much.

Booyhoo Fri 06-Nov-09 19:07:48

thanks campion, i mentioned to the gp when i was in and he said to just put the food infront of him and tell him there's nothing else. i have been doing that but it doesnt seem to bother DS at all. gp didnt think he was underweight but i do think he's too thin.

i just get the impression that he's a bit bored with food at the minute. i know sometimes i can fel a bit like that as if i have no appetite for anythig. perhaps ds has inherited this.

i will give your ideas a go for a month and see how we get on, if things dont pick up i'll go back to gp or to HV.

campion Fri 06-Nov-09 19:47:15

IME some gp's don't think too hard before offering parenting advice hmm

They should all have at least one problematic child, I reckon!!grin

( hasten to add that I'm not implying your DS is problematic <digs hole>)

titferbrains Fri 06-Nov-09 19:54:20

Would be interested in cooking? Maybe making waffles or french toast, choosing the flavour syrup he likes etc and making it with you - all kids like stirring. Or making cookies? Kids will generally eat what they make. What about millionaires shortbread? Tahini paste is also very dense in calories so you can stir in a bit to normal houmous if he eats that. Add a few more drops of lemon juice if it doesn't taste right.

My dd is only 14mo but I'm having lots of struggles feeding her enough calories and I feel depressed every day at the thought of it getting harder. Hope things get easier for you. I've found it important not to worry about what she is eating and just focus on letting her enjoy what she likes - so I practically did a dance when she ate tinned pasta in tomato sauce tonight!

IvanaDK Fri 06-Nov-09 20:13:26

Does he snack outside meal times? A friend of mines 4 year old son had a real problem, he was actually so malnourished he couldn't keep warm in the end. They ended up at hospital to monitor his eating habits and the conclusion was that the boy never felt really hungry as he was snacking on food that wasn't nutritious - in his case apples and crackers, although healthy, not very nutritious when you are growing, but fills you up and keeps hunger waway.

So what they did was make sure he had breakfast, a mid morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner. There was to be no food whatsoever in between these set meals and all meals were at the dinner table with no distractions like tv etc. If he hadn't finished within 30 min, that was it, and he was told when there was 10 min. left.

It went very well. He didn't like not having extra snacks in the beginning, but he very quickly learned to eat a good size portion at all meal times. He obviously had healthy food with plenty of calories in but not too muany "fillers" like bread and pasta. A few months later he had plenty of energy, slept better and was much happier.

Maybe it's worth having a look at your son's eating habits?

giggleloop Fri 06-Nov-09 20:25:25

I used to give my ds complan when he was underweight. He is now on the 9th% for weight and 50th% for height so he is still skinny but I think that it is just his build as he is healthy enough. He didn't have any interest in food at all and could happily go all day on about 200ml of milk and nothing else. He was not a fussy eater, he just seemed to have no appetite. He eats much better now but he has never asked for something to eat, he just isn't very interested in food.

My youngest ds has a scoop of formula mixed in with all his meals as he has various probs and is very small for his age (8 months).

Booyhoo Fri 06-Nov-09 20:25:43

i offer him his snacks at the usual times and if he does take it he'll not eat it all. sometimes he doesnt take it and then later he'll ask for a yoghurt or cereal bar and i let him have it because i know he hasnt had a snack.

thats a good idea about the 30 minute window to eat in. i tend to sit with him for ages trying to cajole him into eating and he gets fed up and wanders off leaving it at the table. perhaps if i just put the food down and say "we have 30 minutes to eat and then i'm clearing the table" and set a timer or something.

yes i thought GP was a bit quick to dole out that advice without asking any questions but i thought it worth a try. tbh i thought anything worth a try.

bonfiresnomore Fri 06-Nov-09 20:35:44

Does he like milk/milkshakes? My DD1 had a very small appetite but would drink a glass of milk with a banana & honey blended into it. She also preferred selecting her own food and loved it when I laid out individual dishes of salad, nuts, dried fruit, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, etc for her to choose from - I found she ate more that way, rather than being intimidated by a large plateful being put in front of her.

Booyhoo Fri 06-Nov-09 20:40:40

yes he would drink milk all day if allowed. i had tried to limit the amount he was having because i though it was filling him up and that was maybe why he wasnt eating his other meals. should i just let him have it as much as he likes?

Singed Fri 06-Nov-09 21:06:17

Milk is a food so if you let him drink too much he won't have much appetite for solid food.

Also try not to sit with him and cajoling him to eat; there may well be a behavioural element to his restricted eating in that the more you push/persuade the more he resists. I remember watching a TV show where the great Dr Tanya Byron advised to offer the food then ignore ignore ignore. Without an audience many children began to eat more variety and bigger portions.

Also try not to worry about how much food he's eating in a day, look at his intake averaged out over a week. Young children generally self regulate and may eat loads one day then survive on fresh air for the next couple.

Booyhoo Fri 06-Nov-09 21:36:03

thanks singed

i do try not to worry and people have told me before to look at the whole week rather than a day but in reality he's not getting enough in a week and its now been like that since the term started again in sept so too long really.

doubleexpresso Sat 07-Nov-09 09:32:57

My HV told me to mix butter into DD's food as this would add to the calorific value hmm not sure about it, but it tasted good!

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