or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › My Child Needs More Nutrition
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

My Child Needs More Nutrition

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 
After speaking with an attachment therapist about the issues we were having with our recently-adopted child refusing to eat almost everything we served, we adopted a "here's the food, eat it or don't" approach. This worked very well. We didn't comment on what or how much she ate and the food battles almost completely disappeared.

Well, no good deed goes unpunished, right? When we were at the HIV doctor last week, he told us that, based on our daughter's most recent labs, she is deficient in several nutrients, two of them being calcium and iron. She refuses dairy products and green vegetables, in particular.

Now, I like to believe that children deserve freedom and autonomy in their eating, but I am not willing to let one of my children become malnourished for it. We spoke with the doc about giving her supplements and he said she needs the nutrition from FOOD, not supplements. He talked with her about this, we talked with her about this, but we are having huge food issues again. Her list of what she won't eat is a mile long, and she consistently refuses the vegetables that we serve her. Believe me, I have done everything I possibly can short of preparing traditional Ethiopian food every single night of the week (we usually eat it three times a week) to accomodate her likes and dislikes, but the simple fact is, she claims that she doesn't like so many foods that she is not getting enough variety to meet her nutritional needs.

We were driving today and I was trying to make a list of vegetables that she will eat. I came up with carrots (sometimes, other times she says she doesn't like them), cabbage, and eggplant, but only if it's fried. She won't eat broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, brussels sprouts, zucchini, squash, corn, peas, tomatoes (I know, they are a fruit), okra, spinach, collards (or any other type of greens), green beans, etc. The only veggies that I can remember her eating are carrots (sometimes), cabbage, and fried eggplant.

I am considering telling her that she can choose three or four foods that she absolutely will not eat and that, for the sake of her health, she has to eat whatever I serve if it's not one of those three or four foods.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 85
Why is the doctor opposed to supplementation? That seems really unfair! So much pressure on you and your children. Is it just because the supplements are poorly absorbed?

Okay, if I were in your shoes (which I am not, so this is just top of my head here) I would get a children's cookbook and do food purchasing and cooking together. I see that you homeschool, and it seems like a great opportunity to do some math and science. You can also do some nutrition curriculum with her. She might learn to like more things if she's involved in preparing them.

I am sorry you are coping with such a tough thing.
post #3 of 85
This site mentions other foods that are rich in calcium and iron.
http://www.vegsource.com/davis/nutritents.htm
post #4 of 85
I know you've worked so hard to get her healthy.

Here are some thoughts in no particular order:

will she eat salad? Spinach can be used for greens.
Will she eat sandwiches? Again- spinach instead of lettuce.
will she eat pizza? or other dishes with tomato sauce? A lot can be added to tomato sauce.

Muffins? zucchini muffins are yummy and sweet.
Ice cream? A good last resort for dairy.
Smoothies?
Yogurt?

For iron, I would increase her vitamin c- to increase absorbtion (actually you need c to absorb both iron and calcium, this could be part of the problem) I would use sodium ascorbate- it's easily disolved in water or juice and better absorbed than other types (like ascorbic acid or calcium ascorbate)

Also for iron, I'd use floradix- yeah it's a supplement, but more natural than most.

I would bet that once her body becomes more balanced, she will become less resistant to so many foods.

good luck!

-Angela
post #5 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Why is the doctor opposed to supplementation? That seems really unfair! So much pressure on you and your children. Is it just because the supplements are poorly absorbed?
Yes, it's that combined with the fact that HIV can cause malabsorption.

Quote:
will she eat salad?
No.
Quote:
Will she eat sandwiches?
Only PB&J. We went to a picnic and they served turkey sandwiches (we are veg but Desta is not) and she took everything off the sandwich and just ate the bread.
Quote:
will she eat pizza?
Yes, and that baffles me. She says her favorite food is pizza (plain cheese) but she won't eat cheese any other way.
Quote:
or other dishes with tomato sauce? A lot can be added to tomato sauce.
Yes, she will eat pasta with tomato sauce. We make our own, and it does have lots of other veggies in it. That's a good source.

Quote:
Muffins? zucchini muffins are yummy and sweet.
Yes, she does like those.
Quote:
Ice cream?
Nope.
Quote:
Smoothies?
Nope.
Quote:
Yogurt?
Nope.

The vit. C and Floradix suggestions are good ones. Thanks!

Namaste!
post #6 of 85
Okay- the pizza and tomato sauce are a GREAT start. Do you have a food processor? I can hide ANYTHING in tomato sauce

zucchini, spinach, other greens, green peppers, carrots, you name it, it goes in tomato sauce.

Heck, serve pizza or pasta once a day, you can get several good servings in that way.

zucchini muffins can have other stuff added too.

I think the key here is going to be some GOOD quality supplements and being best friends with a food processor for a little while.

oooo, another thought- spinach dip - think it would have any chance of working? Will she eat raw veggies with a dip? Does she like dips? (dips are another good place to hide nutrition)

Go back and pretend she's a 4 yr old who won't eat anything. Try those tricks. (ants on a log? is she more likely to eat it if she made it?)

Ah- one more thought- homemade breads. I often substitute cottage cheese or yogurt for the liquid in bread recipies. you can't tell the difference.

good luck!

-Angela
post #7 of 85
I think you may be reading too much into that... (I think you are great by the way!) and that it is unfair to go there... just my opinion though.

The suggestions here are great... as well as chips with blended bean dip and raw veggies thrown in. Blended soups can be a great way to get things in. Some kids prefer to eat everything raw. Does she like veggie juices?
I would definitely try to make some sort of fun homeschooling thing out of it... maybe explore sprouting things to eat herself, or look at trendy ways of eating like raw food, or vegan.Her helping and having power in making the choices might help. I hate making food an issue as well... but we slowly phased out anything that was not really good nutritionally, and the whole family eats really really well because of this.
post #8 of 85
Oh, no! I didn't read it that way at all!

I read that she went through a lot to bring her here, because she loves her and want the best for her--wants her to thrive and be healthy. So it doesn't make sense to let her become malnourished here where food is so readily available!

If she eats pizza, I would serve that *a lot*. Lots can be hidden in the sauce (pureed veggies, for instance).
post #9 of 85
I second the whizz everything up into a tomato sauce and let her eat whole grain pasta to her hearts content.

I would be leary of the spinach dip though. She'll see the green bits and go "OMG GROSS!!!!!!"

Will she eat seafood???

ETA: If she likes salty things, and seafood, how about trying to get her to eat some Dulse??

http://www.rolandsdulse.com/ He does mail order...If you tell him Ivy's daughter sent you you'll get the good dulse and possibly a discount.. ETA: AGAIN lol

Even if she wont eat it whole, you can wizz it up into the tomato sauce like you would any other veggie
post #10 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandora114 View Post
Will she eat seafood???
Nope. She eats beef and chicken.

Namaste!
post #11 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
Nope. She eats beef and chicken.

Namaste!
Well your best bet is to get some Dulse and wizz it up into the tomato sauce...if you browse the page I posted it'll show the nutritional content of the plant and you'll be amazed

http://www.rolandsdulse.com/chart.html
post #12 of 85
Will she eat a smoothie? Put enough fruit/other sweeteners in a smoothie and you can add just about anything else without affecting the taste.

yogurt, fruit and frozen spinach (due to the concerns with fresh spinach but also because it helps the smoothie stay cold!) is a good one, and you could add nutritional yeast for B vitamins, protein powder, maybe Floradix (don't know if it would completely hide the taste though) or crush a flavored children's vite w/ calcium and dump it in there too.

make it w/ whatever fruits she likes. heck whatever foods, period, she likes. the blender is magic for making food attractive.

(there is also the old standby of throwing an egg in, too, for added iron and protein, but raw eggs...salmonella...your comfort level may not be high w/ that depending on the source of the eggs.)
post #13 of 85
lots of great suggestions here-I really hope things improve for you all very soon-that must be so hard on you. I have one more tiny contribution. I put a lot of nutrient-dense things in pancakes (silver dollar size go over best here)-flax seed oil, yogurt, pumpkin, spinach, etc. You mentioned you're seeing an attachment therapist, and I'm sure you've explored all possibilities to help her-do you feel there's possibly an emotional component behind her refusing these foods? I hope I don't offend and it's not my intention to pretend to be an expert, but it sounds like she's trying to control her environment. I can't help but wonder if these issues will improve as she feels safer in her new home. I hope she's soon accepting more foods that give her the nutrients she needs, and you're able to put this stress behind you.
post #14 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post

Honestly, I am a bit offended that you would even think I think my daughter is a product I bought. You clearly know nothing about me. Perhaps I worded things poorly but really ... give me the benefit of the doubt here. I'm frustrated and worried about my daughter.
I'm sorry your feelings are hurt. I know you are worried about your daughter. I just was really shocked at the phrasing... that after all you went thru, the money you spent, she didn't have the right to malnourish herself. I thought it was important to point it out.

Good luck finding ways to nourish your daughter. I think there have been some helpful suggestions on this thread. I might also prepare more of the foods she is used to, ask her what she would like to eat, that she is familiar with, and prepare that.
post #15 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mata View Post
I hope I don't offend and it's not my intention to pretend to be an expert, but it sounds like she's trying to control her environment.
Yes, I think you're exactly right. That's why the attachment therapist's advice worked so well. We completely removed the power struggle by saying nothing about what and how much she ate. She was completely in control. It worked well. (Previous to that, she would do things like request something specific for dinner and then, when I served it, tell me she didn't like that food [before even tasting it].) The problem we run into now is that the AT's and the doctor's advice seem to conflict (the doctor was pretty clear that we need to *make* her eat what she needs), and I feel like I'm stuck either way: Make her eat things she says she doesn't want to eat and screw up our attachment but have a healthy kid or let her eat whatever she wants and have a malnourished kid. I'm looking for ways to integrate the two so they aren't opposing ideas. I really appreciate the advice and suggestions I'm getting.

I guess part of it too is that, as a vegetarian, I am constantly inundated with the "eat a variety to get your nutrients" idea, so the idea of serving spaghetti (for example) every day makes me uncomfortable. But it's true that, if I can get a variety of NUTRIENTS into the meal, it doesn't really matter if the MEAL is repetitious.

Thanks again everyone!

Namaste!
post #16 of 85
Back again, post nap.

Peanut butter is a great source of iron. Almonds have both iron and calcium. I grind them in my coffee grinder and put them in baked goods. How about raisins and figs?

Dairy is not an easily absorbed source of calcium, so I wouldn't even look there. The ratio of calcium and phosphorus should be one to one for human absorption, like breastmilk. Cows milk has a one to two ratio. That extra phosphorus REALLY wants to bond with some calcium so it will do so with what is already in your body and cause you to excrete the calcium you had.
post #17 of 85
oooh I know! Does she like...

COOKIES???

Come on, hehehe Cookies.

You can make, Gingerbread cookies, and subsitute the regular molasses for Blackstrap..voila! IRON SUPPLIMENT!
post #18 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
. But it's true that, if I can get a variety of NUTRIENTS into the meal, it doesn't really matter if the MEAL is repetitious.

I think this is probably key at this point. If she wants pizza every day- give her pizza every day. Every week make new sauce and add different goodies She could have muffins every morning- make a bunch of different kinds, pop them in the freezer, defrost a different one every day.

So if you can get two - know she'll eat them and know they're nutritious- meals in her every day, that gives you lattitude to have a family dinner that's different every night that she can eat or not.

Something else to think on- what she's doing is developmentally appropriate. MANY kids go through a finicky stage. Her's is just more dangerous because of her medical issues.

let us know how it goes! I think of your family often

-Angela
post #19 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
Yes, I think you're exactly right. That's why the attachment therapist's advice worked so well. We completely removed the power struggle by saying nothing about what and how much she ate. She was completely in control. It worked well. (Previous to that, she would do things like request something specific for dinner and then, when I served it, tell me she didn't like that food [before even tasting it].) The problem we run into now is that the AT's and the doctor's advice seem to conflict (the doctor was pretty clear that we need to *make* her eat what she needs), and I feel like I'm stuck either way: Make her eat things she says she doesn't want to eat and screw up our attachment but have a healthy kid or let her eat whatever she wants and have a malnourished kid. I'm looking for ways to integrate the two so they aren't opposing ideas. I really appreciate the advice and suggestions I'm getting.

I guess part of it too is that, as a vegetarian, I am constantly inundated with the "eat a variety to get your nutrients" idea, so the idea of serving spaghetti (for example) every day makes me uncomfortable. But it's true that, if I can get a variety of NUTRIENTS into the meal, it doesn't really matter if the MEAL is repetitious.

Thanks again everyone!

Namaste!

yes, that's definitely a difficult balancing act. just trying to think of ways for her to feel empowered and in control here-do you involve her in her meal preparation? I know my daughters are more willing to eat things if they're involved in the preparation, and if the preparation is fun. Using fun shaped cookie cutters (letting them pick out the ones they want to use, etc. etc.) on sandwiches and cheeses, making dips for carrots, having their own little pans for making muffins, breads, mini lentil or meatloafs, etc.
post #20 of 85
Avacado, spinich, collards, broccli, carrot, etc.... these things can get blended/processed and added into so many other things - the pizza sause, sause for noodles, in the dough or noodles if you make them from scratch, in baking (muffins, bread, etc)... Avacado is so easy to hide that you can mash it into pudding cups or blend it into ketsup!

I would also go for suppliments, too. Why not?

Flax oil in cold food...

Strawberries and bananas (kiwi, pear, etc) mashed together into a gram cracker crumb crust - and go ahead an hide avacado mashed up, tofu, and some spinich cut TINY. you can stir in a touch of the flax oil... and even a spoon full of yogurt if you blend it well and add enough banana so she does not know the difference!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › My Child Needs More Nutrition