Helping a child gain weight

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Replies

  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,465 Member
    I'll toss you an idea I got from my friend who has fostered many children with eating problems and was an early childhood educator. She's worked with troubled kids, Aspberger's kids, deaf kids, ADD kids, and diabetic kids. She would put out all the fixings to make fruit kabobs and fruit pizza for her grandchildren, putting out all sorts of foods to be skewered and then eaten. You could include marshmallows, all sorts of things. It's the creativity part. Children won't easily give up something they've made.

    I relate to the love of watermelon. I forgot; is dairy right off the table? Because watermelon is great dipped in greek yogurt for instance.

    If your child loves mac and cheese sometimes but cheese is now off the list, can you make it with butter or margarine and maybe spiced up a little?
  • hanksmom79
    hanksmom79 Posts: 85 Member
    There are some great dairy-free cheese alternatives these days that may allow her to continue to enjoy macaroni & cheese (since that's one of her favorites)

    http://us.daiyafoods.com/recipes/easy-mac-n-cheese

    Or try a packaged brand: http://www.amazon.com/Earth-Balance-Vegan-Cheddar-Cheese/dp/B00N4E3C4U/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1433523296&sr=8-3&keywords=dairy+free+macaroni+and+cheese

    Good luck to you!!

    P.S.-If I'm not allowed to post product links, please let me know :#
  • jorinya
    jorinya Posts: 933 Member
    Speak to your Dr first. My friend's daughter was in the same position. I'm not sure if things have changed now because I no longer have Facebook. The only advise I will give you is that you make the food colourful on the plate. Arrange it in a smiley face or something like that. If its fun she will enjoy eating. Call broccoli small trees and things like that in a story. She should like that. I need to go see to my little fussy eating princess now cos her big brothers left her alone. Good luck!!
  • sapphire1166
    sapphire1166 Posts: 114 Member
    My daughter had massive issues with chewing/swallowing/etc as well due to some health issues. We started feeding therapy at 12 months when she was still gagging on purees. She was also VERY picky and wasn't even on the growth charts. Periactin was advised as an appetite stimulant and it did good things for her. At nearly 2, after 9 months of weekly feeding therapy and being followed monthly by a specialist team at UNC Hospital, she's eating 85% of everything a kid her age "should" eat.

    Have they discussed an appetite stimulant before going to a feeding tube?
  • Gulen28
    Gulen28 Posts: 52 Member
    OK, this may not be a huge help but I'm a nanny and 2 things popped into my mind:

    Avocado shakes. They don't taste heavy, they taste very fresh, almost like cucumber. You can use canned coconut milk with dense cream on top and make sure you add sugar. Experiment with the ratio, but they taste very good.

    In all my years of feeding toddlers, the best thing that worked for me is that I always eat with them and eat my food very excitedly. When they see adults also eating with them, that may help.
  • teanahk
    teanahk Posts: 81 Member
    Coconut milk ice-cream is Amazing and generally a lot more calorie dense than soy or some of the other alternatives. Coconut Bliss makes the yummiest one I've found so far. I'd definitely try some of the non-dairy cheez foods too for a mac + cheese replacement.

    Roast veggies using a bit more oil than you would use for yourself. Try different shapes like strips (call them "fries") or cubes. Have ketchup for dipping.

    It sounds like she doesn't like the texture of meat maybe try some tofu? the firm type can be cut into little cubes that are easy to pick up.

    Does she like kid junk food like goldfish crackers, freeze dried fruit drops, and cereal bars?

    A few other random ideas, Muffins, french toast, donuts, raisins, smoothies. Let her steal bites off your plate.
  • Lena1967
    Lena1967 Posts: 94 Member
    Have a look at this website. I used it after we adopted our son from overseas. It's got some good tips for maximizing calories per bite, increasing interest in food, etc.

    http://adoptionnutrition.org/

    Best of luck!
  • Hearts_2015
    Hearts_2015 Posts: 12,027 Member
    rgbmore wrote: »
    Thank you all for your suggestions! I do have a "diet plan" from her team of specialists, but it has more generic suggestions. (Nut butters, avocado, pediasure, etc). They also really just want her to eat and enjoy eating again/the process of eating to help your body so I was just looking for some ideas of what to try with her. Please be assured we are in constant contact with her specialists, they just didn't give me a huge cookbook or anything to go on. I apologize for causing concern to some, all I wanted were some suggestions of what foods are enjoyable for a toddler to eat but would add some weight. :) She gets weary of momma putting sunflower seed butter on all her food. :)
    As for "how" to feed her, thank you for suggestions, but we have some behavioral therapists working with us on that. I mentioned her eating habits to give an idea that she can't really be "forced" to eat right now.
    I should have rephrased the post, apologies, I just really wanted some ideas of what to add to my shopping list for her.

    :smiley: There's absolutely no reason to feel the need to apologize, your post was just fine. I took it to mean exactly what you shared just above (I believe most of us did), + merely checking in with others on ideas as you shared. Just shake off the posts of some... hope you got some helpful ideas and she gets to enjoying more foods because of your thread and gains the weight she needs:)

    Take care :)
    Hearts <3
  • theredhead77
    theredhead77 Posts: 35 Member
    Ants on log (celery, nut butter, raisins)
    Apples with Peanut Butter
    Jell-o Jigglers (remember those? make a tray of jello with an extra package of Knox, harden and cut with cookie cutters)
    Hotdogopus (I realize a hot dog has to be cut for a toddler but you can present it in a cute shape).
    mini burritos
    dino nuggets


    This is a really silly suggestion (and not meant to suggest behavioral or "how to feed her") but my mom loves to remind me of a time when I was little and refused to eat* unless it was served on my favorite Sesame Street plate, out of my favorite cereal bowl or out of my favorite cup (that happened to be from a box of Raisin bran). Maybe some fun plates/cups will enhance her eating experience.

    *not to the extent that you are at, it was a phase for me, not a medical issue.

    Good luck!
  • Noreenmarie1234
    Noreenmarie1234 Posts: 7,282 Member
    rgbmore wrote: »
    aggelikik wrote: »

    What does she enjoy? If you can post some meals she likes, or at least tolerates, it would be easier to get suggestions on what else to try.

    Her favorite food is watermelon. She could seriously eat a whole baby watermelon. Soft pears (like in the can or very ripe), soft grapes, and sometimes she is a fan of pasta. She was not happy when they said no more mac n cheese. :(

    You can always make her vegan mac and cheese that can be VERY calorie dense. Pasta with vegan sauce made with non dairy milk, lots of melted daiya vegan cheese and earth balance or other dairy free butter is incredible!
  • FatFreeFrolicking
    FatFreeFrolicking Posts: 4,252 Member
    rgbmore wrote: »
    aggelikik wrote: »

    What does she enjoy? If you can post some meals she likes, or at least tolerates, it would be easier to get suggestions on what else to try.

    Her favorite food is watermelon. She could seriously eat a whole baby watermelon. Soft pears (like in the can or very ripe), soft grapes, and sometimes she is a fan of pasta. She was not happy when they said no more mac n cheese. :(

    A lot of her problems are psychological with food, and without writing a huge essay on it, just some textures bother her as well as color. (But then some days she's totally fine! It's a lot to do with mood.)
    She is a hard sell with meat and fried food-texture issues. She will chew them up, the push them out of her mouth instead of swallowing. Strange, I know. D: Drives me nuts.

    So for example:
    Yesterday she was all about french toast, tried it again today and it was absolutely no-go. Nutritionist suggested getting a larger "arsenal" of meals so we can keep out of a rut.

    So I figure if I take all of your suggestions and keep giving her new-ish meals to try, she might keep eating. :) We are trying to give her at each meal one familiar thing that she usually likes with a new (or not eaten recently) food.

    So we'll try:
    Roast beef with gravies (very tender)
    Oatmeal with dried fruits
    Avocado/Guac on bread
    Hummus/dhal (Gonna try homemade since she hates storebought)
    Mashed potato with mayo/sour cream
    High calorie shakes (we've tried pediasure and orgain, ordered some ensure clear to see if that's better)
    Pasta with sauces/stirfry with oil/curries
    Sweet potato fries (with fry sauce?)
    Spaghettios
    Smoothies (these are a hit or miss..but if it's from jamba juice for some reason it's the best lol)
    Coconut oil for cooking
    Yogurts (I have a hard time finding not low fat yogurt. Seems like most people have the opposite problem)
    Chicken/Tuna/Egg/Pasta salad
    Raw vegan ice cream (gonna go research that!)
    Juice
    Noodle Soup with crackers


    Truly, thank you all so much for all of your help! This is a great list to start with. I am a bit of a nervous/stressed wreck over this, so having a list written out for when I go shopping/ go to the fridge makes my life so much easier!! Thank you!!

    Take her to a psychiatrist.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,988 Member
    chicken nuggets, pasta, pizza,
  • bbontheb
    bbontheb Posts: 718 Member

    Take her to a psychiatrist.

    She is working with a team of specialists already. A psychiatrist is a specialist for psychiatric issues and prescribes medications most of the time. A psychologist or behaviour interventionist (or an occupational therapist and speech language pathologist who specializes in swallowing) can probably help with a better approach. This child has health issues that OP noted. It would be like any child that has autism, or sensory processing difficulties, or even perhaps swallowing difficulties. Not a quick fix from a psychiatrist, most of the time.

    And from experience with children with sensory issues and other diagnoses-no plate or cup, or recommendations or bribes will work...lol.

    OP there is a recipe out there for cookie dough dip that uses chickpeas ground up for the base. It might be a good alternative for something fun, but good to eat!




  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,257 Member
    Watermelon Jello Juice - just don't let the jello solidify when you make it and she can drink it warm. Kids typically love the stuff, very easy on the stomach, high calorie content. You can add other nutritional supplements to it and the high sugar content covers the taste. It's a go to on the pediatric cancer ward.
  • FatFreeFrolicking
    FatFreeFrolicking Posts: 4,252 Member
    bbontheb wrote: »

    Take her to a psychiatrist.

    She is working with a team of specialists already. A psychiatrist is a specialist for psychiatric issues and prescribes medications most of the time. A psychologist or behaviour interventionist (or an occupational therapist and speech language pathologist who specializes in swallowing) can probably help with a better approach. This child has health issues that OP noted. It would be like any child that has autism, or sensory processing difficulties, or even perhaps swallowing difficulties. Not a quick fix from a psychiatrist, most of the time.

    And from experience with children with sensory issues and other diagnoses-no plate or cup, or recommendations or bribes will work...lol.

    OP there is a recipe out there for cookie dough dip that uses chickpeas ground up for the base. It might be a good alternative for something fun, but good to eat!

    I know what a psychiatrist is, thank you very much. A psychiatrist is the one who will evaluate her and can then refer her to a psychologist. Both a psychiatrist and psychologist can perform CBT on her, if it is in fact psychological.
  • ilfaith
    ilfaith Posts: 16,524 Member
    If the texture of meat is an issue, perhaps ground meat made into meatballs or meat loaf (combined with some sort of bread crumb) would be easier for her to tolerate as it's softer and less chewy.

    There are a wide variety of flavored nut butters available...while I typically scoff at the idea of Nutella being a "healthy breakfast" (when spread on multi-grain bread and served with fresh fruit and a glass of milk)...I think some of the sweeter options (Try Peanut Butter & Co...their White Chocolate Wonderful is yummy...and I'm not a huge fan of either white chocolate or peanut butter) might be more palatable than plain peanut butter.

    I would definitely try to add a bit of coconut oil to things like oatmeal and smoothies (or olive oil to more savory dishes).

    Vegan mac and cheese or non-dairy quiches (using Silk or other unsweetened soy/almond/rice "milks") can be high in calories.

    My kids love dried fruit...it's like candy to them.

    If she can tolerate yogurt, full-fat Greek yogurts are pretty readily available (and can be mixed with fresh fruit or jams to sweeten them)...and brands like Yo-Baby are full-fat as well. Also look for some of the "indulgent" yogurts...typically in dessert-like flavors.


  • bloody88
    bloody88 Posts: 120 Member
    edited June 2015
    Nutrition data has a search tool for foods. By inputting foods highest in calories in the filter i got this list.
    Check what your child can eat and combine some of them.
    http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000001000000000000000-w.html

    I'd skip the two three first pages tho or go directly to the food category that your child can eat, since it gives it sorted by calories which makes the first pages full of oils and fats.
  • ohmscheeks
    ohmscheeks Posts: 839 Member
    I second the posts about really changing the food "experience" as opposed to focusing on the actual food. Picking out the food together, plating the food together, making it a game, whatever... Her meal time is an understandably stressful, frustrating, and anxious time for you. And she picks up on that. Try putting out happy and excited vibes instead. That's probably way easier said than done. But, you really can't expect a toddler to calm down and eat when the room is filled with tension and worry.