How do you??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Alttlgabby, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    Okay, let me say sorry first because here I am asking a question, yet I have not been on for awhile. We have just spent the last two weeks landscaping our backyard (ourselves!) and then I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off the past few days. Hopefully, I will have some time to get on here in the next two days and then it is time for more running around! Today we have therapy and that is it, then I can relax a bit.

    Now, my question. How do those of you with children who have food issues handle it? I have found food in the girls room one time only before, but now I have cause to go looking to see if there is more in there. I had some oreo's under the bottom shelf about two weeks ago and I discovered there was 3/4 of the bag GONE! My son said he had only 3 or 4 of them. The other kids said they hadn't had any at all, and I know husband and I had not had any. Asked difficult child 1 how many she had had. Only 3-4 was her answer. Now, I really do believe that it was her eating them all. Yesterday, I went grocery shopping and started cleaning off shelves and rearranging and putting things under the bottom shelf and above the top shelf and they are my DO NOT TOUCH shelves. This is where I put stuff that I do not want opened or touched unless they ASK because there are certain things that I have bought for DS or daughter. DS has braces, so there are only certain things he can eat, and daughter works, so she needs stuff to be able to take to work (packaged). Not that anyone else cannot have them, they just need to ask. Under the bottom shelf are the boxes of things already on the shelf and they need to eat what is already opened before anything comes out from under the bottom shelf. Anyway. I started cleaning and I found thrown up in the corner of the top shelf, a hardened half eaten Little Debbie's snack! I also started looking at the stuff that was in the pantry and thinking, okay, there should be more of this or that and I KNOW that I had not heard anyone asking for these things, or I had not seen anyone with these things, so where did they go? I had almost an entire bag of suckers in there and there were all of a sudden only 4 left in the bag. NOBODY has been eating them, and they HAVE to ask for candy. difficult child 2 said she found one of those suckers in difficult child 1's bookbag the other day. So, yesterday, I threw the half eaten goodie on the bar and waited for the girls to get home. I called difficult child 1 into the kitchen and told her to look at it, and that it was awfully funny that I should find this in the pantry thrown up on the top shelf and there were only two people that I know that would throw it up there. One of those people couldn't get it up there and throws their stuff in the trash, so that leaves one person. I knew immediately from the look on her face that it was her and she knew she was had. I confronted her on the issue of sneaking food to which she admitted to that as well. I KNEW it!!! So, now I figure I have bigger issues to deal with than I originally thought. I did tell her that in this house she would NEVER have to worry about food. EVER. She would always have a good meal to eat and that I felt that I was very fair with them as far as meals and snacks went. They get very good meals. Every food group is on their plates.. habit from doing daycare, and also because I know you really need good nutrition anyway. They get one snack between meals, all which have to be a healthy snack and they are allowed only one "****" snack per day. They do get candy, but they are not allowed to just continue eating it until they are sick and not on a daily basis. It isn't like she has to worry and think that she doesn't know where her next meal is coming from. Our pantry is well stocked. I have two fridges with both freezers fully stocked, and another freezer that is so full of meat I can't cram much else in there! I do regular grocery shopping. I knew she had some food issues due to the fact that when they lived with their mother it was Ramen noodles, Ravioli, and Hamburger helper. I would imagine she got one small helping and that was it. I remember when I would take stuff to my Mom's and those kids would come running just to see what was being brought into the house! SAD! Every time I saw those kids before they were eating Ramen Noodles. Up until about 6 months ago, when I would tell the girls to get something for lunch on the weekend, difficult child 1 would ask me for RAMEN NOODLES!! That is a thorn in my side and would make me so freaking angry! Come on.. you have all this GOOD food and you are asking for that ****!!!! I used to buy it so that husband could take it to work if he wanted it. I told her the one day to never, ever again ask me for Ramen Noodles and I have since quit buying it. So, yesterday, I told her she is not allowed in the pantry at all unless she asks and I told hubby that if she asks him, he is to walk in there with her until she gets her snack and comes out. Pretty sad that we have to follow a 14 yr old around. :faint: Next thing you know, I will have to put locks on everything! ugh... So, how do you handle this kind of situation? We have therapy today and I have emailed our therapist with a heads up as to the situation so she can talk to her today because I believe the girls are doing individual therapy.
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My opinion:
    She shouldn't violate the rules of your house.

    Being 14 and an ex-foster child she WILL violate some rules of the house. And there is NO WAY you can monitor the diet of a fourteen year old that closely. If she doesn't get sweets at home, she'll get them away from home. The older she gets, the more she will eat what she wants to eat. Teens get pretty hungry and usually don't have the best diet and just being with other kids will encourage her to eat junk food, something you can't control. I would just let it go. If she is a foster/adopt she has bigger issues to deal with than what to eat. Many teens favor cheap, fast food over nutritious food. I have a pre-teen who can live on Ramen Noodles. Go figure...but...
    You said it: you can't follow her around and insist she eat healthy. That's a decision she now has to make, and she may well make that decision in the future. As for using food that she isn't supposed to eat, that is punishable. Maybe she should have to do chores to pay for the food.
    JMO.
     
  3. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    difficult child 1 is a junk food junkie....I tried many things over the years to get him to stop eating all the junk but nothing worked....and I would find "treats" under his mattress, in closet, jeans pockets, etc I just got to the point that if I don't buy it then he can't eat it all...lol I just buy what we need for the week and if he eats a whole thing of cookies and gets sick then it is on him.

    That being said he rarely does this now it was an issue when he was 13-15 y/o but I put it all on him by telling him "difficult child you know that you will get a tummy ache if you eat more then a few of them, so go ahead if you want but be aware that you are still going to do your chores even if your stomach hurts from eating all those cookies" Then I would follow through with still having him do his chore and he learned quick ;)
     
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I agree with Midwestmom--you just can't monitor this all the time and unless the eating was causing serious health problems it might be good to accept the fact that teens are going to consume a lot of food and are going to eat things that you may not approve of.

    I don't know the background of your kids but sometimes with food issues I think the best thing to do is to relax a little. I've got two teens in the house and a preteen and even if they're eating good meals I still have one especially that goes through a lot of snacks. I don't leave anything out in the cupboards that he can't have, which means there are plenty of cereals and boxes of crackers, but limited amounts of chips and sweets left out. (He seriously can down a full box of crackers after school and then go reaching for something else two minutes later, and maintain a healthy weight.) I do put limits on eating too near meals, but otherwise I'm apt to find him foraging in the kitchen often.

    For sweets I have a hiding place they don't know about. When they find it, I'll move it. I don't buy a lot in advance if I can't store it.

    As for the Ramen noodles, I don't mean this unkindly but it sounds like it's more your problem then the child's problem. I took peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school almost every day of my life--I'm sure there were healthier things out there but it didn't kill me. If someone had told me I could never have one again I think I'd be upset and confused and start craving it even more. :(

    For comparison sake: a bag of Oreos lasts about 2 days at our house and that's because I dole it out the first day or else it would probably be gone. Sometimes my kids don't throw away empty packages and sometimes they sneak something to their rooms--easy child's included. I can't say that I love it all but I see it as typical teen stuff and not food issues. I'm no expert but I'm thinking imposing a lot of rules could actually cause or exacerbate food issues.
     
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    The way I handled snacking in my home is the way it was handled in my childhood home. Each week each child could pick out their snacks for the week. One had to be a fruit or vegi---the others could be pudding, yogart, or dairy, or crackers, cookies, or chips. They had their own space. They could trade with each other if the other agreed. If they took someone else's they didn't get snacks the next week. Mine liked having their own stuff. Maybe you could buy her some stuff and allow her control over her snacks.
     
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    husband and I are pretty relaxed about snacks in our house.
    The kidwinks and I all have sensory issues, Aspie rituals and all sorts of food-related quirks so it's just easier that way.

    Here are the rules I've found most effective:

    1) If they're not allowed to eat it, it's locked up where they can't get it, or it's not in the house at all.
    2) Healthy food before junk. If the last thing you ate was junk, you have to eat something healthy before you can eat any more junk.
    3) Lots of healthy snacks available for grazing in the pantry. Kids are allowed to help themselves to all healthy snacks.
    4) Meal-sized portions of leftovers are always available in the fridge. Kids are allowed to help themselves to meals.
    5) Ingredients are always around for them to assemble other food, e.g. chopped veggies, shredded cheese, lettuce, etc. for salads.
    6) I set some limits and let them govern themselves accordingly. E.g. Little easy child is allowed 7 squares of belgian chocolate per day. (this number was decided by negotiation). He must ask husband or me for his chocolates, but it's up to him when and how he eats them.

    Now this results in a lot of grazing and unorthodox meals, but I know that everyone's eating healthy food for the most part.

    We try to have a proper family dinner at least once a week, but we're pretty relaxed even about that.
     
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When my boys were all teens and living here...if someone had outlawed Ramen, I would have died! My kids practically lived on that stuff. We had regular meals too but they went through cases of ramen noodles as snacks after school and on weekends. I remember hitting Walmart and literally buying it by the case.
     
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My twelve year old daughter is a big athlete and is always hungry. She is also growing really fast. She's already 5'6"! I'm always afraid to make big issues out of my girls eating right because my sister and best friend have severe eating disorders that have never gone away. My friend is 50 and my sister is 48 and my sister looks like she has AIDS. I'd rather have my kids relaxed about food than stuck with lifelong eating disorders. In spite of my sister's "healthy" eating and rigorous exercise routine, she has high blood pressure and osteroperosis and I don't. Eating disorders are more unhealthy than even junk food. The idea of anorexia and bulemia really scares me.
    My daughter gets a little chubby sometimes, but I never say a word. She's healthy--and in my opinion being a typical teen when she wants to have ice cream before dinner sometimes (and will do it) or have chips with her friends. There is really no way to control eating once a child is over 10 or 11. Even kids on special diets, even kids with diabetes, tend to go off their diets and want to be like their friends (in diabetes it can be fatal, but in my opinion it's harmless in most cases).
    I'm far more worried about things like drugs, early sex, and nutty strangers than food. I'm already a nervous mom, I can't add food to my plate (no pun intended :tongue:).
     
  9. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    Thanks ladies for your replies. As for the Ramen Noodles, yes, they ARE an issue with ME (something that *I need to work through). A lot of it has to do with the fact that these poor kids had nothing BUT Ramen Noodles when they were younger and while living with their Mom. They are very high in sodium as well. My problem is not so much with her having snacks; my problem mostly lies with the fact that she is sneaking them and the reason that she threw the snack on the top shelf was that she thought she was going to be caught. I don't mind her having the snack, but I would like her to ASK because she is not the best at timing it and would try to get one 5 minutes before I am going to prepare dinner. I do not have a lot of unhealthy things in the pantry for her to eat really. I had one bag of suckers that I had bought for us to take somewhere one day and we didn't even eat the stupid things. They have been in there for at least a month or so! LOL The oreos were a one time thing and they have been in there as well for at least 3 weeks because I bought them when their sister was here visiting. I do keep cheez its in there all the time though. And my parents brought Little Debbie snacks from where they live a couple of months ago. They are only allowed one of those a day because they are so sweet. And for the most part, they DO make healthy choices as far as snacking goes.
    We did do a LOT of talking in therapy yesterday and I had a really good cry. difficult child 1 not too long ago would not make eye contact in therapy and outside of, or even try to participate. She withdrew and locked down. She is sooo much better, so for her to even admit to me that it WAS her that did and to admit that she has been sneaking food is a huge milestone! We started talking in therapy and as I said, I knew it was bad with their Mom, but I didn't realize just HOW bad. Apparently, there were nights that these poor babies went to bed without even eating!!! I swear, I wanted to punch a wall, and had their Mom been there at the moment I just might have punched her! One more thing to add to the pile of things she has done to these children! difficult child 1 said that she was sometimes afraid (anxious!) that she would come home here one day and that there wouldn't be any food in the pantry. So, we did talk and I told her that she never has to worry about that. We would ALWAYS make sure that she has food. That the state pays me to help take care of her and if I had to take that money to make sure she had a meal, then that is what I would do. I told her that if she was hungry, she just needed to tell me and I would allow her a snack. Together we could decide just how hungry she really is and determine if she needed a small snack right then if it was too close to dinner and get her a little something so she didn't feel full, but just something to tide her over. Or that she was feeling anxious and we can talk about it. So, we are trying to work on this issue together. At least she is talking. She has made such great progress in the last year of being in our home.
     
  10. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I agree with locking up the treats, too much temptation, but with your difficult child's background there is no way I would limit her food. I'd make a basket of thinks she could have at any time full of healthy things like fruit, some healthier crackers, stuff like that and continue serving your nice healthy meals. Personally, I wouldn't even try to limit her eating before meals right now, I'd just make sure it was healthy. I would expect it to take several months for her to start to come around on the food issues. Then I would tighten up to your standards.
     
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Trinity's food rules are also our food rules. Not so much now, but I keep a fridge full of leftovers or pre-prepared meal portions and anyonewho is hungry can always rustle up something healthy AND tasty. But habits - I have to watch out for difficult child 3 who will almost instinctively open the noodles instead of eating a meal I've got there ready for him.

    For difficult child 3, preparing his noodles seems to be part of a relaxation ritual, a way of taking a break from study. It's not even that he prefers noodles to what I already have cooked for him - he's just into a habit and he forgot.

    I have to remind difficult child 3 to eat, or if he happens to be taking a break and suddenly realises he's hungry, he will graze and eat a vast amount. So I do my best to make sure what he DOES eat, is healthy.

    By letting the kids graze when they're ready to, we found that they were eating at a better time for them. Sometimes if I made them wait until their father was home or I was ready, they would be either too sleepy to eat well, or too hungry and really irritable.

    I really do think you need to let difficult child 1 have some choices about what she eats, and some control over it. You could try giving each of them a quota of rubbish foods but I suspect if you do that you will find what we did - someone (maybe more than one) will be sneaking rubbish snacks from each other and nobody will own up.

    This is a control issue - in the past, the kids were feeling very vulnerable when it comes to food and at some level are always doing their utmost to never, ever be in that position again. So the more you try to control their access to food, the more they will be doing their bit to make sure that they will always have the over-riding control.

    You can either lock up the snack foods, or simply don't have it at all. If the special foods you have for the son with braces, is OK for him to eat, then it should also be OK for difficult child 1 to eat too. She mightn't physically need the extra TLC but it seems that emotionally, she does. And sometimes when it's more freely available, the novelty is gone and she may be more likely to comply.

    An alternative suggestion with the ramen noodles - she should learn to eat them the way the Japanese do, by adding extra ingredients to make them a more balanced, healthier meal. Unless she has a weight problem, I wouldbe letting her eat more of these things as long as she is eating her proper meals too.

    Something we do - I keep frozen steaks, frozen chicken fillets and other frozen raw meat available. With a very sharp knife, you cut paper-thin slices from these meats while frozen, as much as you want, then put the fillet back in the freezer. Put the meat slices over the noodles in a heat-proof bowl. Put in thin slices of vegetables, such as thinly sliced carrot, Asian greens, maybe some frozen vegetables (small pieces). Sprinkle over SOME of the flavour sachet (shouldn't need all of it) then pour over boiling water, and cover. After five minutes, turn over the noodle block and cover again. In another couple of minutes it should be thoroughly cooked through. The meat - it cooks almost instantly as the boiling water is poured over.

    This makes a really solid and much healthier meal. You can customise it to the extra foods you prefer, too. For example if she prefers corn niblets to peas, that's what she can use. Or if she prefers to use frozen cooked shrimp instead of beef or chicken - same story.

    Another really important rule that you may be able to train her to, since it will be giving her control - a house rule we have, is:

    When you open a new packet of something, you put it back on the shopping list.

    Failure to do this can result in running out of certain foods. For example, I use tinned tomatoes in a number of recipes. If I fail to put them on the list every time I open a tin, the day can come when I am halfway through a recipe, I reach for the tinned tomatoes and find I haven't got any.

    The same rule goes for anything. I have learned to be a bit flexible with how kids eat. As long as the quota gets eaten over the day, they can graze or they can scoff the lot in one sitting. I'd prefer to avoid the once-a-day binge, of course. But kids can get tired more on somedays than others, for different reasons. Or they get hungry. Teen hormones aggravate the hunger problem too.

    I used to find that the kids would get home from school and be ravenous. INstead of letting thme have the classic milk and cookies, I'd shove a meal at them. If they're so hungry, they can eat some cold cooked sausages, or maybe some chicken satay (or nuggets), or fish fingers, with some salad or vegetable sticks. Or sometimes I'd roast a tray of vegetables and simply microwave them quickly for the kids to have with their snags & satay. It could be what I had planned to give them for dinner - that's OK, if they're still hungry later on that night, THEN they can have milk and cookies, if I've run out of sausages & satay & roast vegetables. However, quite often a late afternoon ravenous attack on the fridge would be followed by the kids getting an early night, too tired to eat a meal later on. So at least I had ensured they got their dinner, at some stage.

    One last point - if you limit or restrict food to too great an extent, you can create an unhealthy obsession with food. If you then lock up or greatly restrict anything remotely unhealthy, then the food sneaking will continue but off premises. She will sneak food from friends' places or even resort to shoplifting it. You don't want tat.

    For whatever reason, we went through this with easy child. She would spend every spare cent of pocket money or any other money she made, buying junk food on the way home from school. She would arrive home having gorged on chips (fries) and gravy, and not have any room for a healthy meal. She would obsess about food and especially junk food, she had to have her share. If she was away at a friend's place overnight and we had say, roast chicken for dinner, she would demand her share of the dinner we had, when she got home. Beside the point that she might have enjoyed a lovely meal at the friend's place (it might even have been roast chicken!). We had to save a portion of our meal for her as well. As a result, she would then double up on meals. This was an emotional problem, but it became a physical one. We were never able to effectively deal with this and she now has a serious weight problem.

    There may be an underlying physical factor to easy child's weight problem and craving for fat-laden carbs. I've been told by a GP friend of mine that she has the same problem with her daughter, it seems to be related to a history of pre-natal 'starvation' when the placenta began to stop functioning before birth. The result was a baby born starving. In easy child's case, she was tiny and had no fat layer; but she doubled her birth weight by 6 weeks and became a pudgy baby. My friend - her daughter is the same. The mother's reading says there is a connection.

    it would be interesting to ifnd out the medical history of your girls, to see if there was any similar problem before birth. However, their early history with their mother, and repeated food deprivations early on, could be enough of a factor.

    Marg
     
  12. ML

    ML Guest

    I like Trin's rules too. That's what I aim for. Manster is 10.5 so he's at the point where I don't have as much control. The bottom line is not having the junk in the house OR hiding it for the occasion (outside in the garage or car works well, just don't let them see you get it lol).

    Having said that, manster does have emotional eating issues which we struggle with. I'm trying to increase activity and focus on "heatlhy eating" but this does get frustrating at times. When he spends the night at his dad's it's a freeforall. ODAAT.

    Hugs

    ML
     
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I too have an issue with Ramen, but not as severe... My issue is finding the noodles everywhere (like in the sofa, on the floor, etc.), the flavor packet empty and on the floor, the bowl tipped over on the carpet... And my good pans burnt because difficult child 1 likes to turn them on high and leave the room. Both difficult children eat the noodles uncooked as well (ewww!).

    However sugar is the biggest problem in our home. difficult child 1 used to steal the sugar dispenser and take it to her room. Found a brand-new 2-lb. bag of powdered sugar in between her mattress and the wall once. difficult child 2 will take the scoop from the canister and add THAT to apple juice (about 3/4 cup sugar) - the worst was when he had Sierra Mist and added sugar. (It went everywhere... LOL). If I have decorating icing tubes and I ask that they be left alone, difficult child 1 will eat them and then either hide the tubes or put them back where they were, empty. Got caught with black and orange streaks on her face one evening unexpectedly... And then didn't have anything with which to decorate her gingerbread house.

    The best way to deal with this, I have found, is not to buy it at all. They must buy junk food with their allowance. If I want something for me, I bring it to work or lock it in my car.

    I have a huge basket which I keep filled with apples and oranges on the dining room table, which is the middle of the house and must be passed to get anywhere. difficult child 1 likes both, however difficult child 2 hates oranges. But the rest of us are snacking healthier!
     
  14. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    I agree with locking up the treats, too much temptation, but with your difficult child's background there is no way I would limit her food. I'd make a basket of thinks she could have at any time full of healthy things like fruit, some healthier crackers, stuff like that and continue serving your nice healthy meals. Personally, I wouldn't even try to limit her eating before meals right now, I'd just make sure it was healthy. I would expect it to take several months for her to start to come around on the food issues. Then I would tighten up to your standards.

    She has been with me for a year now.. TODAY, actually!!!!! woohoo!!!!! I would have thought she would have exhibited more of these signs at first, but not a year later? Who knows.
     
  15. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    This is a control issue - in the past, the kids were feeling very vulnerable when it comes to food and at some level are always doing their utmost to never, ever be in that position again. So the more you try to control their access to food, the more they will be doing their bit to make sure that they will always have the over-riding control.

    Oh yes, I figured very much this was a control issue. I have a control issue with difficult child 2 as well. She doesn't want to throw anything away and I think that is her way of trying to hang on to as many things she can as possible. When they lived with Mom, many times their stuff got sold out from under them. Once I know of they had stuff in storage that Mom didn't pay for, so it all got taken.

    You can either lock up the snack foods, or simply don't have it at all. If the special foods you have for the son with braces, is OK for him to eat, then it should also be OK for difficult child 1 to eat too. She mightn't physically need the extra TLC but it seems that emotionally, she does. And sometimes when it's more freely available, the novelty is gone and she may be more likely to comply.

    It isn't that she CAN'T have the same snacks as the son with braces, she CAN, but she has to ask for them.

    An alternative suggestion with the ramen noodles - she should learn to eat them the way the Japanese do, by adding extra ingredients to make them a more balanced, healthier meal. Unless she has a weight problem, I wouldbe letting her eat more of these things as long as she is eating her proper meals too.


    She definately has a weight problem. She is only in the 4th%. :-( If I allow her to just do what she wants with the eating, I have no doubt that she will stuff herself silly. Right now, I want her asking for snacks because I want to make sure that she IS making the right choices about her foods. She is allowed one snack a day that is not so healthy. The rest have to be healthy choices. In the year she has been with me, she has gained 27 lbs (as of Feb 11th), and I know that is because essentially, I am forcing her to eat healthier. She has also grown 4 inches! Her sister has gained 20 lbs, and 4-1/2 inches. She has not known in the past HOW to make healthy choices because she never had that option in the home before.She doesn't eat things at school if she decides she doesn't like it (veggies/fruits/etc). I just don't want to let her hoard snacks or just eat all the time because I don't want to end up going the other direction in the future. The girls brother is on the chunky side, but I think that is due to him being a bit older and being able to go to friends homes where he could eat. I am sure that in the home, he most likely snuck food as well. We had a major problem with him here and eating us out of house and home and nobody else getting things because he would eat it all. I finally had to just hide things in the trunk of my car.
    Meals in our home are usually cooked by me at least 4 times a week, sometimes more, depending on what we are doing. And we normally eat around the same time every evening. We do a lot of grilling. And the girls have had a lot of different varieties of foods they have never had before, so that has been an experience for them. Most of it they have liked, thank goodness!
     
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I said earlier: "You can either lock up the snack foods, or simply don't have it at all. If the special foods you have for the son with braces, is OK for him to eat, then it should also be OK for difficult child 1 to eat too. She mightn't physically need the extra TLC but it seems that emotionally, she does. And sometimes when it's more freely available, the novelty is gone and she may be more likely to comply."

    You replied: "It isn't that she CAN'T have the same snacks as the son with braces, she CAN, but she has to ask for them."

    I did get that, but because she has to ask, it makes them more unattainable and therefore more desirable. You need the same rules for all, even though the situation isn't equal (he has braces, she doesn't). Another way to make it all equal - HE has to clean his teeth after snacking, so she should also. That way the teeth-cleaning is associated with those snacks and not just the braces.

    I hear you on the "she will stuff herself silly if I let her" concerns, because easy child did that, with her sense of "I have to have at least my fair share."

    I had a horrible time of it with easy child and with hindsight, I should have forced her to discuss it at counselling. However, I too was afraid of triggering an eating disorder. In a way, we DO have an eating disorder with her - she eats poorly (despite my instruction and similar standards to you, especially with her) and also over-eats. She's better than she used to be, but not much. She believes she eats much better than she used to. what worries me, is I think she's right! But it still leaves a lot more room for improvement than she is willing to admit.

    What I'm saying - your current methods aren'tworking, they're backfiring. So you need to find another way. And yes, the delay of a year is nothing really, in terms of the length of time these problems have been developing.

    Here's a suggestion you could try - teach her to cook. But not the usual way of "tonight we're having grilled chops and steamed vegetables, you are going to make it." No, you need to ask HER what she would like to learn to make for dinner. Chances are what she wants will be not as healthy as you would like. You need to be flexible, but push the nutrition requirement as best as you can. For example, if she wants to make easy child 2/difficult child 2's favourite, spaghetti carbonara (loaded with fat, but also wonderful comfort food!) then she can put some balance in it by including a side salad, perhaps.
    Then when she has decided, you look for recipes with her, then she has to go shopping for any ingredients you don't have. If she wants to modify the recipe by swapping ingredients she doesn't like for ones she does, this is OK as long as YOU know the subtitution will work. For example if I make moussaka, I swap zucchini for the eggplant, because husband won't eat eggplant. And it works just fine.

    Once the shopping has been done, she has to follow through and cook it. You can't simply back off from the idea because you're tired - meal plans have been made and it has to be done. She'sentered ito the decision-making process and has to stick with it. If she says, "Hang on, I've bitten off mroe than I can chew, can we do something quick and easy tonight and I'll cook tomorrow night instead?" then let it, as long as it can work for you. otherwise, let her know the reasons for insisting. Let her be part of the decision-making process and the planning process. This is all to give her control, as well as skills.

    She will probably need a lot of help to begin with. Be supportive. Not easy. Working as a team is good - one stirs the pot while the other fetches ingredients. Then take turns. I'm at this stage with difficult child 3 at the moment.

    Give lots of praise to the end result, let her feel proud for what she has achieved. Ask her for her opinion on the outcome, if she's not happy with it ask her what she feels she could do to improve it next time, or if there's anything she especially likes about her result, same thing - "what would you do again?"

    And this discussion made me realise - she sounds to me like she's gonig for a lot of comfort food. It's partly a teen thing anyway (and thankfully tey can often get away with it) but her background has thoroughly predisposed her to this. She needs to learn to understand this about herself and stop self-medicating with food NOW, while she's still young enough to re-learn, or she will have a shorter life span than she deserves.

    She needs to NOT let her early life shorten her remaining years. Don't let the bad times win. But SHE nees to understand this, you can't tell her. It needs therapy, again.

    Can you allow unlimited healthy food? Giving her free choice? Like the fruit bowl, or having a range of vegetable sticks and some healthy dips available.

    Another important tip for her - drink plenty of water. If she is aware that she needs to control her comfort eating, try to remind her to have a drink of water (or similar non-sugary watery drink, such as lo-cal drink) BEFORE she eats something. Drink, then wait five minutes. She may find she ewasn't hungry after all, but thirsty.

    I've made myself some frozen icy pole things using lo-cal cordial. Sometimes eating one of those helps me feel like I've had enough of a snack, but without the calories. it also puts more fluid into me, which curbs my appetite. I'm then more likely to take my time and choose something healthier and smaller portion.

    As for the broter - I think it's a bloke thing as well as a teen thing. easy child 2/difficult child 2's ex-boyfriend would eat us out of house and home. And I remember back to my student days, I was ina share house with three 19-year-old males with huge appetites. We'd take turns cooking and we found cheap sources of ground beef. I remember beginning with a kilo of ground beef to make a pot of chili con carne, padding it with a tin of kidney beans and cooked pasta. I'd planned on leftovers for lunch but they ate the lot. So the following week, I cooked 2 Kg of ground beef, added 2 tins of beans and doubled the pasta. They still ate the lot! And complained that the food bill for that week was twice as big!

    Teenagers, especially boys, are like lions. When food is available, they stuff themselves to store it for later, then they go sleep under a tree to digest it for the next however many hours.

    Marg
     
  17. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    And this discussion made me realise - she sounds to me like she's gonig for a lot of comfort food. It's partly a teen thing anyway (and thankfully tey can often get away with it) but her background has thoroughly predisposed her to this. She needs to learn to understand this about herself and stop self-medicating with food NOW, while she's still young enough to re-learn, or she will have a shorter life span than she deserves.

    She needs to NOT let her early life shorten her remaining years. Don't let the bad times win. But SHE nees to understand this, you can't tell her. It needs therapy, again.


    This is what we worked on in therapy last week.

    Can you allow unlimited healthy food? Giving her free choice? Like the fruit bowl, or having a range of vegetable sticks and some healthy dips available.

    Another important tip for her - drink plenty of water. If she is aware that she needs to control her comfort eating, try to remind her to have a drink of water (or similar non-sugary watery drink, such as lo-cal drink) BEFORE she eats something. Drink, then wait five minutes. She may find she ewasn't hungry after all, but thirsty.

    Good suggestion.
    As far as cooking goes, I think I would allow her help, but actually *cooking* might be a disaster. I don't know. I could try it. difficult child 1 is 14 but is more like an 8 year old in so many ways. Her 13 yr old sister, difficult child 2, is so much more mature than she is and has tended to *take care* and tell her older sister what she needs to do on a daily basis. We are trying to get older difficult child 2 to get away from that and allow her sister to be a bit more independent. We are getting there, and the only thing I can do is give her praise and encourage her. I think she is still coming out of her *shell*, so to speak. She is so much like a butterfly coming out of a cacoon. For most of her life, she was marked as Mentally Retarded. She came here with us and she is no longer Mentally Retarded, and is now termed as Learning Disabled.
     
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    ABout teaching her to cook - getting her to help is a step in the right direction. Encourage her to choose the menu, work with her to make healthy choices but also to make choices she likes. Budgeting for the preferred meal is part of the process - you can't have lobster thermidor if all you can afford is macaroni cheese. You can help here - you know she is into comfort food, so you might be able to find foods she will like even though she hasn't tried them yet.

    An example (cheap) - gnocchi. I had difficult child 3 helping me make this, when he was a pre-schooler. He was mostly non-verbal at the time, but still capable of helping me when I showed him what to do and put his hands on the dough. Gnocchi is made from leftover mashed potato (or especially cooked, cooled, mashed potato - my kids love it!). You mix about a handful of room temperature mash with one egg, then when it's smooth you add a couple of Tablespoonsful of plain (all-purpose) flour. Do all this iin a mixing bowl. The dough needs to have enough flour to be fairly solid, but still should be very sticky.

    I then roll the dough out on the kitchen bench, on a dough mat or silicone mat if I can but when on holidays I have just dumped the dough onto the bench. Put lots of flour down first.

    I doon't dump all the dough, I actually use a plastic spatula to 'slice' off a chunk of dough and put it on some flour on the bench. The chink of dough then gets rolled over in the flour (not kneaded any further) until you can touch it without it sticking to your hands. Roll it into a long snake, about as thick as your thumb. If you have too much dough then cut the snake in half and roll again, one piece at a time.

    When the dough is even thickness then use the floured spatula to 'cut' the dough snake into 1 cm thick pieces. It's quick and easy. Then toss these pieces in flour to stop them from being sticky on the cut surface. Next - get the tines of a fork and press each piece of dough gently. Sometimes it will stick to the fork - if so, roll it off gently, letting it curl up a little. It makes the end result dumpling hold the sauce so much better.

    I then put each dumpling on a foam tray (the kind our vegetables are sometimes packed on). You could also use a well-floured plate. Then drop them into salted boiling water and stand ready with a slotted spoon and a bowl. As the dumplings float, let them boil for about 30 seconds then lift them out, drain them and toss in sauce. You need to toss them in sauce, or a bit of olive oil or butter, to stop them from sticking to one another.

    It's best to make small batches rather than one huge amount, because you can't put the dough aside and leave it at any stage, you have to keep going with it. So when you're learning, do one egg's worth at a time.

    I'm very fast with it now - I put a pot of water on to boil and by the time the water is boiling, I've got all the dumplings made.

    And to serve - my underweight difficult children would get it with just butter. But a kid needing to watch their weight (and difficult child 3, who prefers it this way) can have it with a tomato-based sauce. That way it's fat-free.

    It's comfort food, sure, but it's got protein in it and the carbs are slow-release, which is much better for you. It's fast, it's cheap, it's easy, it tastes wonderful. And the amount of gnocchi you can make in a short time costs a bomb at the stores and doesn't taste half as good. Commercially-made gnocchi is stodgy and rubbery (too much flour added - necessary, for commercial production).

    The home-made stuff is exactly the same as what you get in the best Italian restaurants for a large cost.

    If you need to cook a large quantity to feed everybody a main meal, something I do is this:
    I coat the batches straight from the pot with a small amount of bolognese sauce or tomato-based pasta sauce and put it in a casserole dish. When I've cooked it all I put a layer of sauce over the top, then a layer of cheesy bechamel. Then I bake it in the oven until the cheesy sauce has browned a bit.

    THis should be well within difficult child 1's reach especially with help, and she should find it tasty.

    If she's been labelled as mentally retarded, then it's possible that she's been choosing the noodles option because it's easy plus it's something she can do for herself (if not now, then it at least seems achievable).

    Also another suggestion (in terms of board use) - try to use quote marks when you are pasting in a chunk of text from someone else, to make it clearer to the reader if they're reading your words or someone else's. I'm not conocerned about you using my words, only that as the reader skims it, it can be confusing not knowing the border between yours and teirs. You might be quoting someone and disagreeing with them, for example. To the reader it can seem very confusing.

    If you look at the top of the box where you're typing text in, you will see (on the extreme right of the icons) what looks like a comic book dialogue box. If you click on that it will put (QUOTE) (QUOTE) in the box with the cursor right between the words (only it will use square brackets, not round).

    You can then type your reply on the next line, and it will be easy and obvious.

    It took me a while to work it out - before that, I was manually putting in the quote marks.

    Another option is to use bold, or italics, to distinguish between the different blocks of text.

    Whatever works for you.

    Marg
     
  19. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    Thanks Marg!
     
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    No worries!

    Marg
     
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