My daughter, fainting and the poor diet

When my daughter fainted the other week, we were reminded once more of how poor her diet is.

My daughter has a small appetite. Her meals are a fraction of the size of everyone else’s. Sometimes she has to get up during a meal and go back to it later because she’s full. I’ve always believed her small appetite is genuine because she’s a healthy weight and she’s active.

In addition to not eating much, she eats far too much sweet food and not enough fruit, vegetables or protein. We make her food she doesn’t like a couple of times a week, as you’re supposed to do with fussy kids. And she simply refuses to eat it. It’s an uphill battle and has been for her whole life.

When she went to the doctor after fainting, I was surprised that the doctor actually seemed quite fixated on my daughter’s weight, which concerned me. She is slim, but there are plenty of girls her age who are slimmer than her. She is the height of a small adult, but the weight of an 11 year old girl. She hasn’t properly gone through puberty and started filling out yet.

The doctor asked what my daughter had eaten that day, and it was bad . But she was ill, so she wasn’t going to eat as much as usual or the ‘right’ foods, but it was a wake-up call that we need to sort her diet out. The doctor said she should only eat crisps once or twice a week and the Coco Pop Bars she sometimes likes to eat for breakfast are far too high in sugar.

We’re not going to change her fussiness overnight or suddenly make her eat larger quantities. But we can make small changes. If she mixes Coco Pops with Rice Krispies for breakfast, she’s almost halving the sugar. The Coco Pop Bars are gone from breakfast. If she wants something else after her cereals, she can have a Belvita biscuit, which is much lower in sugar than the Coco Pop Bars.

She takes crisps to school every day for a snack, so we’re changing the snacks. She doesn’t have much time after school to eat a banana (the only fruit she will eat) because she’s always in a rush. So taking one to school would kill two birds with one stone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ‘100 calorie snacks’ that are on the latest Change4Life adverts. A 100 calorie snack makes good sense for kids, but unfortunately a lot of things around the 100 calorie mark are highly processed and full of sugar, fat or salt. A piece of wholemeal bread would make a 100 calorie snack, as would a banana. They are low in sugar and slow release energy.

It took my daughter fainting to give us the wake-up call we need to sort out her diet, although it won’t be easy. I’m aware that teenage fattiness could be just around the corner, so we need to sort out the childhood fussiness as much as we can before then.

Does anyone have any suggestions of healthy snacks or meals for a very fussy girl? We can’t hide vegetables in anything, believe us, we’ve tried! 

Crisps, Coco Pop bars, Snacks, Daughter, My daughter fainting and the poor diet

 

Author: Sarah Mummy

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18 Comments

  1. Rice cakes? With almond butter and maybe some fruit?
    Nakd bars are also worth a try.

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    • She could just about manage rice cakes with peanut butter, but she refuses fruit (apart from bananas) and wouldn’t cope with Nakd bars. I’ve eaten them myself and really like them, but the taste is far too strong for her, unfortunately.

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      • Ah bless her it’s so hard being a fussy eater – and hard for the people feeding the fussy eater too! It sounds like she’s got sensitive tastebuds which I guess would make lots of foods quite overwhelming and sweets and puddings better. Is she involved in food shopping? I’ve always found that selecting things from the shop makes it easier to find new things to eat rather than having them presented to me without any options. Have you tried Complan milkshakes? Not as a meal replacement but as a snack perhaps? Good luck

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        • She goes food shopping from time to time, but mainly we get it delivered or I nip to the shops while she’s at school. She hasn’t tried the Complan milkshakes, I’ll look into those. Although I can already imagine the reaction! Thanks very much.

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  2. I’d be very concerned to get this sorted before it turns into something much worse as a teenager. I know she’s always been fussy but it’s something that could easily spiral into disordered eating as a teenager she is coming up to such a vulnerable age especially as a dancer. I’d give her proper breakfasts to start the day – porridge, wholemeal toast, boiled eggs etc and stop all sugary rubbish. At school I’m guessing she eats what she wants so that’s harder to manage but at least starting her day properly will help? Dried fruit is great as snacks my teenager loves the graze boxes. Things like lentil, veg crisps etc better than say something like normal crisps but they still feel like it’s a treat. Good luck!

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    • Thanks, this is exactly why I want to get it sorted, but it isn’t easy! There’s no way she would eat porridge or boiled eggs. She does eat wholemeal toast – we only have wholemeal bread in the house. She usually eats a cheese panini for lunch at school, not great, but not terrible either. She would rather starve than eat dried fruit, this is what I’m up against! I just can’t persuader her to try anything. I was amazed that she tried a wholemeal pitta bread! (I’m pleased to say she did like it.) I’ll keep trying! We do regularly try her with different things, but unfortunately we can’t force her to eat them 🙁

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    • Thanks very much! I think I need it!

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  3. we struggle with healthy eating as well. Trying to find good snacks that my 10 year old will eat is a constant struggle. I opt for prawns when I’m stuck which I know sounds weird but when at home they’re a quick snack from the freezer to bowl in a few minutes. Other than that I have gotten her involved in helping to cook dinner so she is learning more about the food.

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    • I’m glad it’s not just us who struggle, not that it makes it any better for any of us! I probably should get my daughter more involved in cooking, that very rarely happens. Prawns are definitely an unusual choice, but if they work, why not? Needless to say, my daughter wouldn’t like them!

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  4. Baked beans are a vegetable? I would give up serving meals that challenge her too much. It’s good advice for tiny tots but it looks like she knows her own mind now. Very tricky – good luck!

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    • Thanks very much! She does like baked beans and eats a lot of them.
      I really appreciate the comment about not giving her meals that challenge her too much. You’re right, I have tried so hard, but she’s refusing to budge and all she’ll do is pick at a bit of chicken when we give her something more challenging.

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  5. It really is so hard to get them to eat a varied diet. We tend to yank Z up with jam and toast and peanut butter whenever we think he’s getting too slim (which is often). He runs out SO much that I think he’s always going to be on the slim side and he never has any kind of love for food so it’s difficult to get him to try new things. Good luck x

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    • Thanks very much, it really is so difficult! I think peanut butter is going to be the main answer to all of her problems – it’s protein, high in calories and good fat! Good luck to you too. x

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  6. Feel sorry for you Sarah as it sounds as if it’s a real battle. Katie turned vegetarian 38 weeks ago, so I have been trying to make sure she still eats a pretty balanced diet. Thankfully she is quite good at trying different foods, and sometimes the foods I think she will hate, she loves. Like olives and hummus. Hope it gets better for you all x

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    • Thanks very much! I thought it would sort itself out as my eldest was always very fussy, but he started improving at 10. He will eat pretty much all (vegetarian) foods now. Glad to hear Katie is doing so well with being vegetarian. Strangely, my daughter has liked olives since she was tiny and always used to take them to school in her lunchbox at primary. She hasn’t had them for a few months now, so I do wonder if she would still eat them! x

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  7. We have the same issue with BP – without the fainting. He’s very slim, doesn’t eat a lot, but does love his sweets and snacks. I’ve resorted to not buying the salty snacks and tried to offer fruit – I’m hoping it helps. Let me know if you find a good solution!

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    • Glad it’s not just us! I’ll let you know if we find anything that works. My daughter won’t eat fruit apart from bananas – and she won’t even eat those every day, so we aim for a few a week. So far all I’ve found is wholemeal pitta breads with peanut butter.

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