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.
Very blessed mama to one bouncin' boy (12/07) one who didn't get to stay (6/09), one potty learning, mess making diva(4/10), and one cheerful milk monster. (12/11) Happy partner to the love of my life.
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.
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.
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.
Andrea , wife to K , mother to
Mom to three boys 7/7/00 11/20/02 and 10/29/2011
Writing at: http://paisleymama.blogspot.com/ and other places!
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?
Nine kids and four , living and learning all the time
Toast with beans or cheese or scrambled eggs
Mug of soup
Cheesey mashed potatoes (leftover mash in a bowl, topped with cheese and microwaved)
Cheese and crackers
Bowl of cereal
I still like a mug of hot chocolate if I'm having trouble sleeping.
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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