Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tween Nutrition

Caroline has always been my most difficult eater. I always blamed my parenting until Bryce and Piper came along and ate a greater variety of foods on their own.  Clearly, it's ingrained.  For example, when Caroline was around a year old and off of baby foods, I would give her baby yogurt and I would dice up an apple and put them in to attempt to get her to eat more fruit.  She would put a bite in her mouth and then spit out the tiny pieces of apple.  This was my first realization that she would not be a fruit eater.  And when I say that now, I realize how true that was.  This child will NOT eat fruit.  No berries, no bananas, no apples.  I'm lucky if I can sometimes get her to eat a cup of that Mott's Natural applesauce or applesauce blended with other fruit.  Vegetables aren't much better.  She'll claim for a short period of time that she likes a particular veggie but when you serve it, her preferences have changed.  It was Brussels sprouts and now it's cauliflower.  I need to put it on our menu again and see if she'll actually eat it or do her normal "I don't like it anymore."

And lately, even the foods that she used to eat without issue are now a problem.  She no longer likes spaghetti.  SPAGHETTI!  What kid doesn't like spaghetti?  Even if Bryce and Piper prefer it without sauce, at least they eat it.  Jason and Bryce had a baseball game last night so I just made some quick pasta to eat - Caroline refused.  This is after she barely ate her lunch - a half peanut butter/honey sandwich.  She says she only likes "fresh" PBJ or PBH.  (And yes, we tried giving her little containers of each and letting her make her own sandwich at lunch time - that only worked for 2-3 days.)

The only foods she'll eat consistently are things like yogurt, hot dogs or random meats - not exactly a good food pyramid representation!  A vegetarian she is not.  It's not like she's trying not to eat because if you offer her junk, she happily will eat it.  (So I'm not worried that she's not eating for body conscious reasons.)   It's getting to the point where I am concerned for her health.  She's naturally thin like her father was at that age so I get that but it's like she just doesn't want to bother with eating because there is nothing she likes.  By age 9 I had hoped to be over this!  I need to start making sure she takes her vitamins every day and pushing things on her like V8 fusion or regular V8 since they're the only fruit/veggie like things I can get into her.  She mostly drinks water otherwise so it's not like she's drinking her calories either.

I told her last night that I am strongly considering taking her to see a nutritionist after we get settled in the new house.  I still haven't taken her to her 9 year checkup (stellar parent that I am) and maybe that's a good time to mention it to her family doctor.  I think she's healthy now but that could change if her eating habits continue to deteriorate.

I truly think she has texture and food issues.  Heck, I have my own share of them particularly when it comes to meat and animal products so I guess she comes by them honestly.  It's just that mine have never spilled over to fruits/veggies and grains.  (She hates whole wheat bread - even the soft, whole wheat potato bread we buy!)  I'm also a bit frustrated by her attitude about the whole thing.  She gets very defensive and you can't talk to her about it.  (Classic tween attitude.)  It's very frustrating and since I've never been a person that believes in sitting and shoving food in your kids' mouth, this is very hard for me.  Yes, we've had occasions where they have to finish their meals for breakfast, it's an exhausting proposition to have someone unhappy with what you are cooking.  The irony in all this is that I love to cook and constantly having such terrible reviews from my diners gets me down sometimes.   Maybe that is why I've enjoyed cooking at my mom's these past few months because they appreciate my cooking along with Jason.

Last night we had a bit of a blowup about her eating because I made spaghetti and she refused to eat it.  I didn't have the energy so I told her just to forget about eating and she did until about 8pm and she decided she was hungry.  Typical.  At that point, I banged my head and was no longer concerned.  I guess my mom got her to eat something and I told her when I had her in a moment of concern of my head injury that I don't buy her about eating to be mean, I do it because I care about her and I worry about her nutrition and overall health.  Because she was in a non-attitude state, I think she took my concern to heart.  Here's hoping.  But I do plan on mentioning this to our family doctor when I finally do get her in for her checkup.

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