Another (Different) 11 year old food thread - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-18-2010, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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So it seems like food issues are a big deal around this age. My daughter just turned 11. She has always been a small eater who tends to graze rather than do meals and we've been pretty relaxed about it. Largely, this was because she tended to eat a healthy diet in general and she likes a wide range of foods and especially vegetables.

However, in the last year it's become a lot harder. The main issue is that I don't think she is getting enough nutrients or calories to fuel her growth and I'm not sure how to fix that. These days she does get hungry a lot but it's still hard to get her to finish meals (really good ones by the way). She wants to snack but is inclined to have smoothies (homemade and bought), milkshakes, ice cream, cereal. I feel like she needs a lot more protein in particular and probably more vegetables and whole grains.

Probably the biggest and most frustrating issue is her eating pattern. She often doesn't eat breakfast because she's just too tired in the morning. Although I've been better about getting her a bagel and cream cheese or some such on the way to school. She really needs something she can have in the car or on the train because there is no way she's going to get up even earlier for breakfast. Then she hates the school lunches and literally just won't eat lunch. We got her a thermos and for a while she'd take stuff in that but won't. She's super-picky and we can all be forgetful about packing lunches. Then she's in after-school so doesn't eat there - so she's starving by the time she gets home. She usually wants snacks before dinner, which is fine. But then she'll eat a pretty small dinner. Then come 9, 10 or 11 at night she'll be starving. I'm trying to get her to sleep but she's saying she's hungry and it's hard to tell if it's bedtime avoidance or actual hunger - I'm inclined to believe it's both.

Part of the solution I know is that I need to offer more and more consistently and have more on hand for her. But I'm also just a little overwhelmed. Clearly, I need to find a way to get her to eat the bulk of her calories during the day but I'm just not sure how to do that when the school day/schedule is so not conducive to eating healthily or enjoyably.

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#2 of 12 Old 05-18-2010, 11:59 AM
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protein bars? smoothie in the morning in a paper cup that she can drink on the train? clif bars taste pretty good. oatmeal is filling and I used to take that in a paper cup on the train when I lived uptown and worked downtown...plenty of time to eat a small cup of oatmeal or yogurt w/banana.

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#3 of 12 Old 05-18-2010, 04:38 PM
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My girls like to sleep in, getting up only when they have to, which means just in time to head out the door for school. They often eat morningstar farms veggie sausage links and a piece of ww toast w/either butter or almond butter on the way to school. I put the sausages and the toast in a bowl b/c that way they can't roll away. Regular meat sausages would be easy to make in the morning and quick to eat on the way to school if your dd prefers that kind of sausage.
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#4 of 12 Old 05-19-2010, 06:32 AM
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What time is supper and what time does she go to sleep?

If she gets home at 5pm or 6pm and you don't eat supper until late, is it possible to have high protein and calorie dense foods for her as soon as she gets home & call it her dinner?

If a "family dinner" is important to you, then she could sit with you at supper time and have a glass of milk and a piece of bread to accompany your meal?

Have you considered giving her an earlier bed-time? I try and have my kids (12 & 14) in bed between 9 and 9:30, so waking up at 6:30 am to leave for school by 7:15 is OK. That way they have time for breakfast.

If she's "super-picky", would bringing her to the store and having her choose her lunch and snack help? Things like those individually wrapped mozarella sticks, whole grain crackers or bread? Nuts? My son is a big fan of peanuts in the shell.

We sometimes make open faced garlic bread with whole wheat bread (just crush some garlic and put in olive oil & brush on bread & put under the broiler for a minute) and my kids will take that to school.

Hard boil a bunch of eggs at night and have them ready to go in the morning for either breakfast or part of lunch or snack?

Pack the lunch & her snacks the night before?

I hope at least one of these suggestions is useful.
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#5 of 12 Old 05-19-2010, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, her bedtime is technically to be in bed reading by 9pm and lights out between 9:30 and 10. The problem is that she usually starts complaining about hunger right about then. She has issues with going to sleep (though they've been getting better), so that's definitely mixed in here. I think I need a combo of feeding her more earlier and having a night-time snack that's easy and calming rather than revving her up.

In today's grocery shop I bought a bunch of everything bagels (which she loves) that I'll throw in the freezer and make her in the morning with cream cheese. I also bought bacon. I figure a bagel with cream cheese and a couple slices of bacon should fuel her for a while and hits the major food groups. I bought her cup of noodle (which is so noxious nutritionally but she loves it) for her to take in a thermos. I"m hoping I can phase that out and phase in homemade soups or something but for now at least she'll eat. And I bought her fave cereal, whole organic milk and cheese sticks and apples (all at her request). So I'm hoping these will help.

I could still use ideas for really easy afternoon snacks and good easy calming late-night munchies snacks. In the past she has liked baked potatoes (easy) and white bean dip (I have to remember to just keep making that). Part of the problem too is that she's at her dad's Tues-Thurs and so the days she's here are more off-schedule and I tend to have a hard time shifting back to remember to have snacks available for her (since partner and I aren't big snackers). That will change soon when she will be at her dad's just one weeknight and one weekend night. I think that'll be a lot easier.
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#6 of 12 Old 05-19-2010, 09:31 PM
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My 16yo leaves at ~6am (gets up between 5:30 and 5:40). One thing I always make sure she has is a bagel & cream cheese to eat on the bus. She sometimes takes two. Other options you might consider are a muffin or two, or a breakfast sandwich - something my 18yo loves... an english muffin, toasted. A scrambled egg (cooked in an egg ring - it holds together better). A slice or two of canadian bacon, ham, whatever. All put together. And then he takes a cup of tea with him. (Oh, my daughter also takes tea with her in the morning.)

Lunches - if she will eat it? I will provide it. And she can go from salad to veggies & cheese & crackers to cold pizza to hot dogs to chicken cutlets, etc. I usually throw some fruit and/or veggies in her bag, whether it's a couple of apples, a banana or two, strawberries, raspberries, carrots, celery. Some peanut butter goes over well. Some crackers. Luckily, they're allowed to eat in class, so she's always got something to munch on.

When she gets home (it could be 3pm, or it could be after 6pm), she's usually ravenous. We don't eat until late (9/9:30), so she either grabs leftovers from the night before as a snack, or makes grilled cheese, a panini, or a quesadilla.She might throw a burger on the grill. She's a big eater (but very athletic, so burns a lot of it off), so it doesn't really affect her appetite for dinner.

Given that your girl goes to bed earlier, I can see how an end-of-school day snack would reduce her appetite for dinner, but she'd be hungry around bedtime. Maybe just let her snack at dinner. At bedtime? If she'll drink tea, maybe a cup of herbal tea and some tea biscuits at bedtime? Glass of milk (will she drink warm milk? It always makes me feel all cozy and sleepy) and some cheese/crackers? A quesadilla?

At the age she's at, and with her schedule, I'd work with her on what she'll eat and what you're okay with. Maybe agree to some stuff you're not thrilled with if she'll eat stuff at another "meal" that you can deal with.
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#7 of 12 Old 05-21-2010, 10:39 AM
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As you said she likes smoothies: doesn't that cry for sneaking in some extra fruit / veggies / protein? (You could add some nut butter, ground flax seeds, green veggie leaves like spinach, tofu, banana, ...) This might also work as a breakfast option or "time-for-bed snack", depending on her preferences.

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#8 of 12 Old 05-31-2010, 01:58 AM
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My kids often like a slice of cheese with some bread as a bedtime snack. :-)

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#9 of 12 Old 05-31-2010, 02:04 AM
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11 yo kids eat a lot anyway, and if she's not eating a big breakfast or lunch (no criticism here, I can't eat breakfast at all, it makes me sick the rest of the day), and doesn't get an afterschool snack, she must be starving when she gets home. Since she can only eat so much at one sitting, her body is still craving those calories. And yes, a lot will be carbs, she needs fast energy for growing, it's a huge stage, similar to toddlers. Puberty is SO hard...and throw in hormones that disrupt how your brain perceives things, ack!

Poor girl! Poor mama too, it's hard I know. My third child is eleven now, and my fourth just turned ten. They just eat like teens already!

I think you did great buying those fast easy healthy snacks, and stick with them. Yogurt is always good, does she like that?

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#10 of 12 Old 05-31-2010, 06:55 AM
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Bedtime snacks I remember as a tean
Toast with beans or cheese or scrambled eggs
Mug of soup
Cheesey mashed potatoes (leftover mash in a bowl, topped with cheese and microwaved)
Instant noodles
Cheese and crackers
Bowl of cereal

I still like a mug of hot chocolate if I'm having trouble sleeping.
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#11 of 12 Old 05-31-2010, 07:45 AM
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My kids like those yougurt tubes (stonyfield farms makes them-gogurt or something) and they like to freeze them. Tasty frozen yogurt treats.
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#12 of 12 Old 05-31-2010, 09:57 AM
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How about some hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs. Here are 2 recipes for a healthy snack. They are a little messy and need to be refrigerated.
Peanut Butter Protein Balls:
3/4 c. PB, 1/4 c. honey, 1 scoop choc. or vanilla protein powder, 1/2 c. raw oats. Mix together & roll into small balls. Put in fridge. I roll mine in mini choc. chips or you can use coconut, or chopped nuts.
Balls of Energy:
1 small banana, 1/2 c. PB, 1/2 c. toasted wheat germ, mini c. chips, nuts, or coconut. Mash together banana & PB. Stir in WG. Make small balls & roll in topping. Place in fridge.
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