SugarHouse Mama

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Food Issues Update

Ok. So I spent 4 days allowing Adjoa to eat however much she desired. Just to see.

I wrote down everything she ate - to make my list easier for blogging purposes, instead of stating 1/2 an apple in the morning, and then 1/2 an apple in the evening, I'll just write 1 apple. So, the list won't be in order and exact quantities as eaten, but a daily total. Does that make sense? {If I have to explain it, I should probably just write it out as eaten! But alas, 'tis too late for that}

She also had water, milk, soy milk, and a bit of juice throughout the day that I didn't really track.

Day 1
  • 6 pieces of french toast {as in 6 slices of bread made up to be french toast}
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 cup soup
  • 1 slice of wheat bread w/cheese
  • 1 cup peaches
  • Baked potato with vegetarian chili and cheese
  • 4-5 bites of apple pie
Day 2
  • 3 whole wheat, blueberry pancakes with applesauce. {She doesn't like it when I put blueberries in the pancakes. This even resulted in a tantrum. That said, she still ate 3. I had 2 and Robert had 3}
  • Apple
  • Whole turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • 5 baby carrots
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup soup
  • 2 cups peaches
Day 3
  • 6 or 7 pancakes {I lost track at one point}
  • 6 crackers with peanut butter
  • 1 whole tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup vegetarian chili
  • 1 hard boiled egg
Day 4
  • 1 bowl Cheerios
  • 1/2 apple
  • Crackers with hummus
  • Quesadilla with salsa
  • Whole tuna sandwich and whole wheat bread
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 brownie
  • 2 cups of applesauce
That being said, there were many times throughout the day she would come and tell me she was hungry and I would give her a drink and send her away. Often, I was sure she stopped eating only because the food was gone. Especially if she really likes the food.

So you see, back when I cut her off at three pancakes, I was really cutting her off from 6 or 7, not just 4.


That's a lot of food, right? And this is pretty normal for her if I don't cut her off. She doesn't really go in waves or anything that correlates with growth spurts. Actually, she probably eats even more and begs for food more often and cries and throws fits {in relation to food} more frequently when she's about ready to grow a bunch.

When I took her to her pediatrician a while back - when school was starting - she wasn't overweight or anything and the Dr said she was healthy. When she wakes up in the morning her stomach is flat and normal looking. As she starts eating, it balloons out.

It's weird. I went back to controlling her portions for her.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts!


Anonymous said...

Sounds familiar! At least on our end, by trial and error, we thought the stomach "bug" was gone but it was still hanging on. Once we took care of that, we kept track and realized it was a protein issue- so we've cut way back on portion sizes but do more protein (gogurts, string cheese, peanut butter)
It's difficult but worth it that you're paying attention. best of luck and prayers as you go along! Amy in Chicago

A. Gillispie said...

Hmm...Honestly I think the portions she eats could be within the realm of normal for a hungry toddler except for the breakfast portions. She obviously LOVES her bread products for breakfast. I've always heard that it's good to let theme at as much as they want while there could still be food issues, but to make their limitless foods very healthy choices. For instance, I'd let Kendi eat carrots all day long if she wanted to, but I don't let her eat all the bread she wants (that's what she wants most of the time).

Good luck! You'll do what feels best and I'm betting she's going to come out on the other side just fine!

MommyBrec said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MommyBrec said...

To me, these PORTIONS look large, but overall, the amount of food HEALTH WISE looks okay...the right amount of grains, vegitables, protien, etc. I wish I KNEW what to say...I want to say, "Let her eat what she wants. She'll stop if she's too full", but maybe not. I have a sister who was adopted when she was 13 and she STILL eats us ALL under the table (including my Dad!) and she is still TINY. Adjoa's metabolism dictates when she is hungry. Each cell in your body has it's own metabolism, and it sends messages to her brain when it starts to feel empty. If her metabolism is telling her she needs more food...maybe she does? It's hard to say. I guess if she really is too full, she will vomit (I know that sounds bad), and you will know she can't tell for herself if she is too full. If she doesn't complain of being sick, or of her tummy hurting, or something, maybe her body really is processing that much food.

Having said all that, I am learning in my nutrition class that if you have been underfed for a long period of time, your hunger/fullness signals can be inaccurate. I don't know if Adjoa was being fed consistantly in Ghana. If not, you may be dealing with issues like these. When I asked my nutritionist about Taiger's food, she said to NOT start "counting" with him (how many hotdogs, carrots, etc) OR monitoring portion sizes ("You have had one cup of cerial, and that is enough"). That kind of communication COULD lead to Eating Disorders. Instead, ask him as he is eating how his tummy feels. "Are you starting to feel full?", "Is your tummy still feeling hungry now?" to help him realize his hunger/fullness signals.

Again, that is for a child who has been fed consistanty, etc. With Adjoa, I don't know her situation, so my advice and what my nutritionist has said could be WAY off.

You may want to meet a couple of times with a nutritionist and ask her about Adjoa. My nutritionist is here is Sugarhouse and I would be happy to give you her number. (She is nice and is a Mother herself) She could maybe give you better advice than anyone here can...just a thought!

Let me know if I can help you!!

MommyBrec said...

Sorry! one more thing. My nutritionist really is stern about the idea that "THERE IS NO BAD FOOD"!!!! ALL food is good food! All things in moderation. Be careful not to tell Adjoa she "can't have" one kind of food because it isn't good. From what you said, it looks like you are feeding her GREAT food, but just remember not to tell her hot to eat bread or grains, because those are important! Just maybe remind her to have something WITH it. :) Sorry I talk so much!

Beth said...

I'm not sure how I found your blog, but I'll comment anyway. I have a background in child deveopment and experience as a full time caregiver and have spent time in orphanages...for what that's worth. It seems like her breakfast portions are kind of big, but her daily intake doesn't really seem like that big of a deal. MommyBrec has some great points! Maybe don't make as much of the breakfast grains, so there isn't an opportunity to eat 6 or 7, but have other things like yogurt or fruit to choose from. Some of us just over indulge on our favorites. :) I prob wouldn't worry so much since I take it she isn't vomitting or anything that would suggest that she truly is eating too much. A snack before bed may curb her morning appetite as well. If you are really concerned though, def talk to her Doc, it will at least put your mind to rest. I think you're doing a great job!

Katie said...

Seriously, Adjoa eats way healthier than my children do! I would be patting myself on the back if I got through one day like the 3 you just mentioned!! Baylee and Rigby have both gone through LONG stages of eating a LOT and then suddenly dropping to virtually nothing and I'm wondering how they're surviving. Sometimes these eating spurts can last for 6 months at a time or so. Having said that, Baylee has always been too big/heavy for comfort with our pediatrician. He counsels me to never give her juice or soda and to feed her as much protein as I can. He said at her age any form of protein is better than carbs because most toddlers get way too many carbs on their own. He said she would keep gaining weight if she had more carbs and she would lose weight (or go down on the growth curve) if she had more protein.

Tamara Janowski said...

I love your blog and follow it daily. I just want to say, my sister-in-law would be amazed, thrilled, and so happy to see her little boy eat the way Adjoa does. She's working with a nutritionist because the child barely eats enough to keep a cat alive. And he's about Adjoa's age. He'll eat sand out of the sandbox, eats the tips off of crayons, but get him to sit down and actually eat something substantial, is something entirely different.


I understand your issue. Precious was the same way. I couldn't believe how much she ate and how she would be hungry again so quickly. The Dr said she was healthy, and that her body was probably craving these foods and needed them for proper growth due to the lack of nutrition she had before. He said "Just let her eat. When she stops her growth spurt she'll stop eating as much." He was right! She did have a MAJOR growth spurt when she was eating like a 24 year old Marine! Now she still eats a lot, but it's because she likes FOOD :) She isn't eating mounds and mounds though, like before. So, just let her eat....the Dr said she's okay. It's still freaky I know, to watch a kid so small eat so much. You wonder when they'll throw up, but they don't. I loved that blog! Thanks for sharing!

disabilitydiva said...

BAJA is quite the eater too. I really don't know kid portion sizes because of him. He eats A LOT too and you'd never know it with the way his pants fall off him. Growth spurt for sure. BAJA eats alot for weeks t a time then he slows down and it starts up again. i think it's normal. I just let him tell me when he's full and that he can save it for later. I just follow his lead. Good luck!! What will we do when they are teenagers???

Lois said...

It's the breakfast portions that seem large. I remember her just wanting toast and tea and wouldn't eat a thing if she didn't get what she wanted! She's come a long way. You are doing a great job. You have some good advice here. check out Brec's nutritionist, that would be interesting :) They do say grazing a good way to eat and she's eating little bits all day right?
Don't listen to me, I did starve one of my children, and he wasn't the one from Africa!

tralina said...

Way to go! Those foods all are very healthy looking (right before halloween). I'm on your uncles side--let her eat until she's full!

Karla said...

Hi Jessica.....I kinda feel like a spy because we have never met. I am your Dad's cousin, Karla Atkinson Kimball (Gene's daughter). Jim sent me the life sketch you wrote for your Grandma (My Aunt Alene's) funeral. When I asked who wrote it he told my about you and he gave me the link to your blog. You are beautiful and look very happy and you are a great writer too. Anyway I thought I should introduce myself. I would love to keep in touch. I love your blog and learned so much about you even though I've never met you. My email is

timid said...

french toast: 150 x 6
carrots: 30
1 cup soup: 200
slice of bread w/ cheese: 120
1 cup peaches: 50
chili cheese baked potato: 270
one-third slice of apple pie: 100
TOTAL: 1670

3 whole wheat pancakes: 300
apple: 65
turkey sandwich: 350
carrots; 35
apple: 65
1 cup soup: 200
2 cups peaches: 100
TOTAL: 1115

6 plain pancakes: 480
6 crackers: 120
peanut butter: 100
tuna sandwich: 280
5 carrots: 35
apple: 65
1 cup vegetarian chili: 280
1 hard boiled egg: 80
TOTAL: 1440

1 bowl cheerios: 90
1 cup whole milk: 150
6 crackers: 120
hummus: 100
cheese quesadilla: 400
tuna sandwich: 280
tomato: 40
brownie: 120
2 cups unsweetened applesauce: 210
TOTAL: 1300

Honestly, other than the one-time chow-down of 6 pieces of French Toast... I can't see anything wrong with Adjoa's *self-controlled* diet. She may eat a large volume of food, but the caloric intake isn't stratospheric. That's because (to your credit) you are filling her up with foods that contains a large amount of water (carrots, apples, tomatoes, peaches, etc).

Even the French Toast probably isn't that big of a deal. One time Berkeley ate something like 12 pancakes at his Grandma's house... a feat he still talks about with pride. I guess he was really hungry that morning. *shrug* And I should note, Berkeley regularly eats as much as I do and often eats more than I do.

You have to remember that per unit mass of bodyweight, children expend much more energy than we do. While you and I spend most of our day standing and sitting, children will be running, jumping, and climbing. Activity level is very high at Adjoa's age... and as such, calorie demand is also high. And I'm not even talking about the extra calories that she will need during her growth spurts.

In short, just let it go. Adjoa will be happier, and you (eventually) will be happier. This sounds more like a control issue than a food issue to me.


--uncle rus.

timid said...,,3b1k,00.html

Eating & Nutrition
Daily Nutritional Requirements for Toddlers
by Sue Gilbert, M.S., Nutritionist

Daily requirements for a one-to-three-year-old:

1. Protein: Minimum of 16 grams. Try 16 ounces of milk plus one ounce of meat.
2. Fat: Toddlers should get at least 30 percent of their calories from fat for energy and growth needs.
3. Calories: 40 calories/day/inch of height (1000 to 1300 calories/day). Calorie distribution should look something like this:

* 16 g protein = 64 calories
* 44 g fat = 396 calories
* 210 g carbohydrate = 840 calories

Total = 1300 calories

ColleenaMareena said...

Those portions (when you take it as a daily amount of food) look like a perfect amount of food for my three year old. And you are doing an awesome job of feeding her a healthy, balanced, nutrient-rich diet (with a few occasional yummy things, which are also important!).

Laurel said...

I've had a LOT of big eaters at my house (starting in the toddler stage), and none of them are overweight. They have fast metabolisms, and LOTS of energy.

Looks like she has a very healthy diet. I wouldn't be worried at all.

mama of 13