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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My ASD ds will be 4 in April and I am wondering if anyone can give me a comparison (SN or otherwise) on how much your children eat. Because my son would eat *all day long* if I let him. Everyone comments on the fact that he's a machine. He doesn't shovel it in like he's not tasting it, he's just wanting to eat all the time.<br><br>
I am familiar with the Leaky Gut syndrome, and how if the body is not properly digesting food, it will continue to eat in an attempt at nutrition (and for the opiad effect in the brain). But really, I honestly don't think that is our case for many reasons (which I could elaborate on if need be). But I also don't know if his food consumption is normal, since I grew up an only-child, and I don't have many friends with boys the same age.<br><br>
He is on the tall side, average weight. He had a school physical last August, and his ped (who's also an Autie parent) told me that she has locks on her cabinets, and that it's totally fine for me to limit his food. But she and I respectfully disagree on many things, and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that.<br><br>
On an average day this is what he will ask to eat, assuming I do it:<br><br><b>Breakfast</b><br>
Flax waffle with (thawed) frozen fruit and honey on top.<br>
Side bowl of kefir<br>
Goat milk<br><br><b>Snack 1</b><br>
Raisins<br>
handful of some sort of cracker<br>
handful of dehydrated snap peas<br><br><b>Snack 2</b><br>
Apple slices<br><br><b>Lunch</b><br>
Turkey/cheese/tom sandwich with bbq<br>
mashed potatoes<br>
green/red/yellow pepper<br>
banana<br>
juice<br><br><b>Snack 3</b><br>
Graham cracker or honey on bread<br>
orange or other fruit slices<br><br><b>Snack 4</b><br>
Cereal with milk<br><br><b>Dinner</b><br>
Tacos (will eat at least 3)<br>
beans and rice<br>
guacamole and chips<br>
goat milk<br><br><br>
Now I am *very* grateful and blessed that he will eat a good mix of food, and I want to make it clear that I am not unaware that so many people would only wish for this problem <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">. But I am still unsure if this is normal, so as a mamabear is want to be, I am worried.<br><br>
Does anyone have any ideas? Is this just normal for an active child? If so, why do none of my friends have kids like this?<br><br>
TIA for your thoughts!<br><br>
-Jen
 

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Yes, your child CAN eat too much. I would start phasing out snacks and re-timing them so he has 1 snack between meals instead of two. Time this so it falls at the midpoint between the meals. His meals look to be substantial. If his tummy is used to taking in tons of food, his tummy will think it constantly needs tons of food. I would allow at least a week for each change. Like, start tomorrow and eliminate a morning snack while changing the time of the remaining snack. Keep it like this til the following Monday. If he's asking for food it's ok to say no! I would say "it's not snack time/meal time yet, but it will be in X amount of time or at X o'clock".<br><br>
Also, I'm not sure what his portions are but make sure you keep an eye on his portions. Don't let him be a bottomless pit at mealtimes because he's still asking for food. Kids don't need huge amounts of food. The food he eats sounds like it is very healthy and it sounds like he is getting the nutrients he needs!<br><br>
Start small and tell him what the new changes will be before they start so it won't be a sneak attack. Stay steady. It's for his benefit in the long run.<br><br>
***BTW this advice comes from someone who has always been a bottomless pit and for reasons I cannot figure out to this day. I certainly ate very healthy food as a child. My life has been a constant battle with food and hunger. Get this under control now before obesity becomes an issue and while you're still in charge of his intake. I feel I am aligned with your son, we are very much the same in our eating habits. Explain to him that our bodies need various nutrients and what they do, and explain that we should eat food to fuel our bodies like putting gas in a car. We only need certain amounts to give our body what it needs. Explain how you eat the food you do because it is healthy and explain the nutritional benefits of each food. He's listening!<br><br>
Best of luck. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input, fishface. I'm really thinking hard about not only what's best now but as he gets older. I would be surprised if obesity were ever an issue, but that could be denial talking. All the men in both sides are pretty long and lean, and I'm hoping to instill good eating choices now.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> Aside from your experience, do you or anyone else have any clues to whether it could be a chemical imbalance that doesn't signal his brain that he's full? He's never vomited or acted lethargic afterwards. He just eats and eats and eats.
 

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Here is a good toddler <a href="http://www.kidsnutrition.org/bodycomp/energy/energyneeds_calculator.htm" target="_blank">calorie/intake</a> calculator. I would calculate his likely caloric need and then estimate his intake over a few days and average it. Without doing that myself, it really doesn't seem like he's overeating at any one of his meals/snacks. How much liquid is he drinking over the course of the day? We have a terrible time getting my oldest to drink enough fluids during the day and she will often tell me she is hungry when I'm guessing she is likely thirsty.<br><br>
My youngest has been dx'd with the generic sounding "feeding difficulty" as she has no interest in food or normal hunger cues. As best as her GI can tell us, they think it does have an origin in the brain's hunger/satiety center. So it certainly could be something brain-based for your son whether it's the seritonin release he gets from the frequent eating/stomach stretching or something else.
 

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I'll be the disagreeing voice and say that as long as your son is a good weight and is using the fuel he's taking in, then there's no reason to stop him from eating. I work with a boy with autism who is going through a phase like that right now. He is simply hungry all the time. He eats, enjoys it, but has no issues with weight. He gets lots of exercise and burns it off.<br><br>
I can understand the suggestions to have one snack between meals, but really, a handful of apple slices is not filling his stomach, nor is some raisins and a handful of crackers. It's not like he feels the need to be full all the time. Plus, look at the food you are feeding him! So healthy! Lots of what he's eating is fruits/veggies. I worry that you'd cause control issues with him by trying to prevent him from eating.<br><br>
What one mom I work with has done is to prepare a tray of healthy snacks for after school (he's 8). There is a handful of a variety of foods, and if he's hungry, he can eat those. Once he's done, then the snack is done. So he can pace himself out.
 

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Look at your child. Is he overweight? If he isn't then he isn't getting too much food.<br><br>
Another thing to consider is that some kids have high metabolism and some people are constantly hungry. My dd is one of these kids. She would eat me out of house and home. I have to keep an eye on her eating because she has underresponsivity and probably can't feel full until she is over full, but that certainly doesn't explain her diet. She is just always hungry.<br><br>
So unless your child is overweight then I say let him eat. You are giving him a good diet and as long as you keep providing healthy foods and try to teach him healthy size portions then he'll probably be very happy and so will you.
 

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I'd have to vote no to limiting his food beyond simple practical reasons. I have an ASD 7yo and three other children as well. My ASD child eats a lot, def. more than your 4yo, but it doesn't stand out against the other children. He has some odd pickiness issues but they don't narrow his food choices much. He's particular about a few things and he won't eat ANY kind of hot cereal like the rest of us do all winter.<br><br>
To me your ds does not seem to be eating too much.<br><br>
Our ds likes to graze a lot; he's also quite physically active and prefers to underdress for cold compared to the rest of us so to me it just seems like an overall high-metabolism. I've always had a high metabolism myself, and am a person who gains little weight even on high-fat high-volume diet. In fact I weigh about 10lb less now than I did before my first pregnancy 13 years ago, and have always eaten a lot more calories than I'm "supposed" to and usually lots of fat as well. I feel as though I burn more energy when I'm inactive than is average. I eat what feels right to my body and I'm very healthy. Any book would say I eat too much though I am sure.<br><br>
In your situation I would tend to feel comfortable with ds's diet. I would not feel there was anything "wrong" about it connected to the ASD. But obviously I don't know everything about your ds so you should trust your intuition most of all.
 

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I don't think I would limit food, as long as your child isn't overweight. What others have said about metabolism is true. My own DS eats a lot, and throughout the course of a day, he just burns it off. I think it's good your DS eats such a variety of food, and it seems like you do a good job of providing healthier options. It's not like he's parked on the couch plowing through 4 bags of Doritos a day. Right? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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If your child is a good weight I wouldn't worry about it. The foods he is eating are excellent - kudos to you for working so hard to give him nourishing foods (esp the probiotics in the kefir). If he was going crazy for processed junk it would be different. I'm learning to listen to my cravings (for nutrient dense foods) as a guideline to what vitamins and minerals my body needs for repair work.
 

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My ds grazes all day, practically non-stop, and he's a skinny little thing. His diet is a lot more limited in variety, though; honestly I'm a little in awe of how wonderfully healthy your son's diet is.<br><br>
So: another vote for "Don't Limit!" I'd let him eat all the healthy stuff he wants, as much as he wants.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>teasdone</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7343435"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My ds grazes all day, practically non-stop, and he's a skinny little thing. His diet is a lot more limited in variety, though; honestly I'm a little in awe of how wonderfully healthy your son's diet is.<br><br>
So: another vote for "Don't Limit!" I'd let him eat all the healthy stuff he wants, as much as he wants.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: My son would literally eat crackers all day long (and as it is begs for bowls and bowls of crackers or bowls and bowls of plain cheerios...which I find to be unhealthy but am not too sure on how to deal with it because he is picky). I think you are feeding and he is eating very healthy foods and if he is a normal weight I wouldn't worry about it.
 
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