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Help me sort out DS(6)'s portion sizes? - sorry it's long!

(46 Posts)
BlueBananas Sun 19-Jul-15 14:32:17

DS has just turned 6 (last week) he has had eating problems from being around a year old, so pretty much from when he began eating real food

Between the ages of 1 & 2 he wouldn't eat, just wouldn't eat a damn thing, then this progressed into him eating but making himself sick - he would cough and wretch on purpose until he brought up everything he had ate. He would do this probably 5 days out of 7, on the other days he just wouldn't eat

The making himself sick did eventually stop (thank god) but left behind some physical damage and some respiratory problems, since 3 & 1/2 ish we've been working on just getting him to eat

He was discharged from his paediatrician at the end of last year as he's happy that we can continue to get him to eat more and gain some weight - as you can imagine he is very underweight and tiny in height

So at the moment he is eating the best he ever has, eating the most foods and eating the most willingly, and gaining weight

But now he's started asking for more food! I actually nearly fell off my chair the first time he said he's hungry and can he have a snack!
I've realised I need to reassess how much he is eating but I'm at a bit of a loss, he's my eldest so I have no idea what is normal for a child his age, it would be really helpful if some of you with children around this age could post what they eat in an average day?

This is what DS ate yesterday -
Breakfast - an apple chopped into pieces, 1 weetabix with whole milk
Lunch - Dairylea sandwich (1 piece of bread folded over) a handful of lettuce, about 4 cucumber chunks & a yoghurt
Snack - packet of crisps & a slush at soft play
Dinner - 1/2 a chicken breast, 3 roast potatoes, a tablespoon of peas, tablespoon of carrots & gravy
Bedtime - 1/2 a piece of toast and a glass of milk

This feels like loads of food to me, there was a time when on a good day he would eat a yoghurt and 2 breadsticks - this was literally a really good day if he kept it down, so I realise my ideas of healthy amounts are a bit skewed
Help please!

Jenijena Sun 19-Jul-15 14:37:26

I don't know anything about six year olds, but my three year old has always needed more than one weetabix (currently a handful of shreddies or branflakes). I think you could do a bit more for lunch too...

mrstothemr Sun 19-Jul-15 14:42:50

Ds is nearly 2 and he'd be hungry in the morning of your meal plan and probably there would be a little too much for dinner.

Have you still got access to a health visitor? I wouldn't know his nutritional needs at that age, but I'm really pleased for you that things are looking up

afreshstartplease Sun 19-Jul-15 14:45:14

Yesterday my six-year old ate

Large bowl of cheerios and milk
2 Turkey drummers, potato wedges and beans
Two fromage Frais
Two helpings of cheese pasta bake
Three slices garlic bread
Slice of toast

Not fantastically healthy but this is an average amount of food for him per day

If he has weetabix it's three, if he has sandwiches it's three or four slices of bread

downgraded Sun 19-Jul-15 14:47:48

That seems a small amount to me.

My two year old eats a whole 2 slice sandwich for lunch, a yoghurt and a piece of fruit.

I'd also up his meat and veg portion at dinner by about twice as much.

It's all health stuff and I'd far rather he had more meat and veg than got hungry and snacked.

Also crisps aren't very filling - what about something like a flapjack instead?

eckythumpenallthat Sun 19-Jul-15 14:53:35

I'd say that's not enough. It would barely satisfy my 3 year old grin

lilacblossomtime Sun 19-Jul-15 15:02:25

If that's all his appetite wants I'd say try to get more nutrient dense, higher calorie foods into his diet rather than increasing portion sizes.

leccybill Sun 19-Jul-15 15:06:42

I have a 5.5 yo dd who is very slight (0.4 on centile chart) and has a dainty appetite.

On an average day she has:

bowl of Cheerios
glass of milk
handful of grapes in car on way to school
piece of fruit at snack time
hot meal eg. roast dinner, curry OR
cold lunch eg. filled barm, jacket spud with beans
piece of cake or brownie with custard
cheese on crackers on getting home at 4 ish
dinner with us eg. fist sized piece of lasagne with garlic bread OR
bowl of spag bol OR 3 sausages peas and mash
yoghurt or fruit pot or ice lolly for dessert
glass of milk to take to bed

It's great your DS is eating better. What about eggs? Protein-rich, quick and easy.

LillyBugg Sun 19-Jul-15 15:07:21

My ten month old eats the meal plan you've listed OP so it's definitely not loads (he has a big appetite!). You must be doing a great job if he wants more! Hope you get lots of six year old meal plans along soon smile

addictedtosugar Sun 19-Jul-15 15:22:20

We'd put in an extra meal or snack ( this is a house that has 2breakfasts, but no morning snack) in the morning, and an extra slice of bread at lunch. My two would also demand some fruit in there.

Yesterday. B1 chocolate croisent and milk. B2 bowl of cereal and some fruit. L Chinese duck pancakes with cucumber and spring onion. Shortbread biscuits and blueberries. Snack. Yoghurt. D roast pork, potato, roast carrot, peas. Can't remember what pudding was.

Muddymits Sun 19-Jul-15 15:24:14

Have confidence in his ability to self regulate now he has started to eat well. Offer healthy stuff and you won't go wrongsmile how brilliant that he has made such progress.

BlueBananas Sun 19-Jul-15 15:26:40

Thankyou all for the replies and encouragement smile

Seems we're a little bit further off 'average' than I thought

afreshstartplease I would give my right arm for DS to be able to eat that much food I really would!

Lots have commented on the 1 weetabix and tbh breakfast is where we struggle the most, I have to constantly remind him to eat his breakfast (literally I have to say 'put food in your mouth' 'chew your food' 'swallow') and it takes him forever to eat, the weetabix & apple took him roughly an hour! So looks like I'll have to work a bit harder around that area

The average meal plans really are very helpful so please keep them coming

schoolclosed Sun 19-Jul-15 15:28:58

My six year old is bang on 50th centile and eats pretty well. I'd say she'd be OK on that on her less hungry days, but by choice she'd eat a lot more peas and carrots with her roast, and she'd also have had an extra banana or orange or something in there somewhere. It sounds to me as though you shouldn't worry. He needs to eat more; he is eating more. I wouldn't worry about whether he's eating too much until he catches up with his peers size-wise.

schoolclosed Sun 19-Jul-15 15:33:50

So far today she's eaten:

breakfast - 1 bread roll with jam and cheese
snack - a yoghurt with jam and granola (Starbucks)
lunch - one slice of fresh bread, a (child's) bowl of salad, 4 slices of salami, a boiled egg, a bowl of icecream
snack - 2 biscuits and some grapes
dinner - the plan is roast - usually she eats one chicken thigh, a couple of small potatoes and as many peas and carrots as she can get her hands on, then strawberries for pud.

Good luck!

Bimblepops Sun 19-Jul-15 15:49:56

DS2 who is 4 and rather small will eat roughly the following over the course of a day:

2 crumpets with jam
50:50 apple juice/water
Cheese sandwich (2 slices of bread, loads of cheese)
Slice of ham
Chunks of cucumber & carrot
Bag of crisps
Fruit pouch
Two chicken thighs
BIG bowl of pasta
Handful of green beans
3 florets broccoli
Yoghurt (2 petit filous pots)
Handful of strawberries

My 6.5yr old DS1, on the other hand, eats pretty much the same amount of food as me, eg.

3 weetabix with milk
Slice of toast & honey
1.5 ham sandwiches
Pack of crisps
Fruit pouch
3 chicken thighs
BIG bowl of pasta, plus second helpings
5 florets of broccoli
Big handful of green beans
3 petit filous yoghurts
Lots of strawberries
Cheese and crackers

Lucked Sun 19-Jul-15 15:50:15

Well if I am generous with the size of potatoes and assume an adult sized yoghurt that is close to 1400 which is recommended for age. However I assume that the soft play treat wouldn't be a normal part of his diet so most days he might come out with less. Also it sounds like he needs more than average.

The roast potatoes are the most calorie dense food in his day so I hink if he was wanting more at dinner this would be the thing to offer. I agree that eggs are great, my DC love French toast.

Also you could give fruit with full fat yoghurt most days for pudding but make it something more calorific at weekends and special days.

BlueBananas Sun 19-Jul-15 15:51:47

schoolclosed your posts are very reassuring, what your DD eats really isn't that far off what DS eats grin
Your post also has me thinking about breakfast, breakfast to me has always been sweet (fruit, yoghurt, cereal, fruit juice) but DS has always preferred savoury over sweet, he'd rather has cheese & crackers than a cake as a dessert for example. Savoury for breakfast may be more successful, he absolutely refuses egg in any form, but I'm thinking he'd love a cheese roll for his breakfast! I'm going to give this a try in the morning smile

So far today he has ate -
B - bowl of grapes (about 10 grapes) and a buttered crumpet with apple juice
L - a mini wrap with ham & Dairylea in, about 4/5 cucumber chunks and a jam tart
S - he's out with DP visiting grandparents so no doubt a whole array of crappola - never have to encourage him to eat crap, funny that isn't it!
For dinner we will be having lasagne, salad & garlic bread, I don't have very high hopes for the lasagne as one pot dishes aren't really his thing, the only salad he will eat is cucumber, lettuce and the occasional cherry tomato but I know he'll eat the garlic bread happily
I've an ice cream roll for pudding to bribe him with though

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Sun 19-Jul-15 15:56:28

Hi Blue firstly congratulations on your progress, a quick question did your DS have to see a Dietician? I'd recommend getting a GP referral and agree with lilac re high density foods and protein. We had to see a dietician for DS2 (very low weight and height after an extended period of illness) and things she recommended were proteins, creamy and buttery things - added to sauces, slathered on scones, toast etc. Mascarpone cheese is ideal. We were also told to limit his liquid intake as this was filling him up with no calories. Again this was a diet under supervision from an NHS dietician.

AppleAndBlackberry Sun 19-Jul-15 16:05:05

My 6 year old might eat:

200ml whole milk
Small bowl of cereal with more whole milk

1 slice of bread sandwich, plus 1-2 pieces of fruit, cake and yoghurt or mini sausages

Smallish portion of dinner (maybe 1/3 of an adult portion)
Pudding if offered (again I give about 1/2 to 1/3 of an adult portion)

1-2 pieces of fruit and more milk at bedtime

So she probably eats a similar amount to your DS with maybe a bit more milk an extra banana or two thrown in there. She's between 50th and 75th centiles for both height and weight. I wouldn't hesitate to give her more if she was hungry, although it would be fruit or something savoury rather than more pudding/cake.

TheUnwillingNarcheska Sun 19-Jul-15 16:06:34

Ds2 was always a dreadful eater and I ended up writing down everything he ate, as in every food he would eat and what food group that went into because I was starting to worry.

If I told you his favourite thing to eat is a plain white tortilla wrap with a glass of water you would probably feel better? grin he is now 9.

He isn't a big breakfast eater, but he makes up for it at lunch and dinner time.

Does it matter what time you feed your son breakfast? So on a weekend when it is a bit more leisurely could you wait a longer time from when he gets out of bed to when he has breakfast to see if that increases his appetite? Some people just aren't big breakfast eaters.

The main guide to whether he is eating enough is his weight and height and whether he is following the curve on that dreaded centile line. Ds1 has followed that curve to the letter, text book. Ds2 has always been 25th centile. We just have to accept that some children have to be the ones on the lower or higher centiles.

The meals you listed in your opening post sound fine. Ds2 likes everything separate. If you give him a bacon butty he eats just the bread for a bit, then the bacon, then some more bread. Never the two together unless we are out at a cafe and I make him (get stared at from other people judging) he did the same with chicken sandwiches for ages.

Do you vary the sandwich bread? Ds2 has packed lunches so I give him a variety of breads from a croissant, roll, granary bread, Warburton's sandwhich thin, tortilla wrap. Just so he doesn't have the same thing every day.

BlueBananas Sun 19-Jul-15 16:07:04

Thankyou thatwouldbe no we were never sent to a dietician, the pead we were under quickly decided that his problems were behavioural so we were sent down that route rather than a dietician, he kind of said 'trees no point me telling you what to cook until we've broke this refusal/vomiting cycle' so we worked on changing his behaviour/attitude to foods and getting us all more comfortable around mealtimes - which I think we're generally like normal people at mealtimes now (I think!) but he's maybe some advice on upping the calories would be useful
There's a limited list of foods that he will actually eat aswell so I am fairly restricted as I don't want the tears & tantrums at the table (from him and me) to return

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Sun 19-Jul-15 16:15:39

No problem Blue, DS2 takes forever to eat as well. I just don't want to be randomly giving advice and risk undoing all your good work, whereas the Dietician will be able to work with you within what your DS will eat and add to that. Although I will say that a food diary was helpful to keep tabs on progress.

BlueBananas Sun 19-Jul-15 16:15:58

TheUnwilling yes that actually does make me feel better smile
DS dropped off the bottom of his chart at one point and the doctor (I think sending my anxiety) stopped doing it that way, he would just tell me 'he's gained/lost x amount since I last saw him' and I generally monitor his weight by what size clothes he's in and how long he's been in each size
I do vary his bread, he's actually very good with bread products he likes, white, 50/50, (absolutely not brown or granary!) wraps, bagels, crumpets, garlic bread, French stick/baguette type bread & muffins
Your DS does sound similar to mine, he prefers seperates too and will always take the filling out of a sandwich!
I have tried a later breakfast time, it made little difference, the thing is he asks for food as soon as he's up, he just takes an age to actually eat it confused

BlueBananas Sun 19-Jul-15 16:19:52

That's it thatwouldbe I'm keen to keep moving forward but there is always the dear that I'll undo years of hard work and progress
I'm thinking a dietician would probably be helpful though, even if just for a chat without DS there
Thankyou that's definitely something to think about

ADesperateMummy Sun 19-Jul-15 16:22:19

My DD is almost 3 and she is absolutely tiny and stick thin and she eats more then that in a day.

She would have minimum of two weetabix bowl of fruit and maybe a slice of toast

Lunch she would easily eat 4 slices of brown bread made into jam sandwiches with some carrot sticks on the side

For dinner she would eat maybe a chicken breast and a half with peas and new potatoes or loads of rice or something

For snacks she has natural yogurt, bread sticks, rice cakes, dairly Dunkers fruit, pancakes them kind of things

Here today it's so hot and it puts her off her food so I asked what she would like to eat she asked for pizza so because she's been good I let her but only had a large one to make but thought it would just get picked at throughout the day and she ate 3/4 of it ��

She has only just got to eating so well over the last 6 months before that was a battle so I have a lot of sympathy for you

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