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Terri-Anne

What To Feed 5 Year Old?

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Hi all.

Here's my problem. Logan is 5 years old, allergic to wheat, so on a limited diet similar to celiac diet. My husband is a very "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. Every supper meal includes potatoes, some sort of meat that defines the meal, and some veggie on the side. Logan used to have a great appetite! Always ate his whole meal, even seconds! I'd say for the past 6 months, he hasn't really touched his meat, unless it was weiners or sausages. He used to eat his potatoes if we smothered them in ranch salad dressing, but he started having a reaction after supper, and when I called the dressing company, they told me that while the dressing itself did not contain wheat, it was run through the same lines as where wheat had been previously through. Logan is VERY sensitive to even trace amounts of wheat, so I stopped giving him the dressing, BUT he's stopped eating his potatoes now too. Occasionally he'll eat rice, but only with soya sauce on it, and then not much rice. Rarely he'll eat a bowl of pasta with ragu on it.

There are only a few vegetables he will eat, anymore. He likes salad( lettuce and green onions only), broccoli, spinach, beets,. but that's about it.

He takes a daily multi-vitamin, but I am still concerned about his nutritional status and his weight/growth. He was a 30 pound 6 month old, roll upon roll of baby-fat. All of my kids were very solid looking kids. Logan still looks healthy to other people, but I am uncomfortable when I see him unclothed, as I can see his spine.

How can he maintain a decent weight, rate of growth if he won't eat anything!?? He likes Mr. Christie brand rice crackers, most mini-rice crisps. He doesn't get any of the typically fattening mainstream foods that we all try to avoid for our figures!

I am really stumped as to what to use as the main "filler" part of his supper. (as opposed to potatoes) What do I give him as the main attraction? (instead of most meats that he won't touch.) Any creamy type salad dressings brands that AREN'T run through contaminated lines? (even though they "wash" them)

For about a month, he's been telling me each night, "I don't feel well", and he begs me for rice crackers, which i try to with-hold in hopes that he will break down and eat supper instead. Does anybody have any good meal ideas that will entice my young son to eat suppers and enjoy them again? I'm stumped and broken-hearted for him.

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Terri-Anne:

I feel for you. My daughter, who is 3, is pretty picky, though she is eating better now. For a long time she would not eat meat, except for hot dogs. I have had some success with cutting meat (pork or chicken) into strips, sauteing in olive oil and then letting her dip it in mustard.

I find that she eats things better when they are sweet. I've had good luck with sprinkling sugar on rice and also having diced sweet potatoes topped with brown sugar. You might also try real maple syrup. I've also gotten her to eat carrots by giving her a small dish of honey to use as a dip.

Will your child eat muffins or other wheat free breads? I make gluten-free cornbread, muffins, etc and try to boost the nutritional value by adding flax seed, buckwheat flour, or garbanzo flour. Then I serve them with lots of peanut butter and honey. We have syrup on the cornbread.

Have you tried Hummus? My daughter LOVES it and will eat alot at one time. I make my own. I'll be glad to share my recipe if you don't have one. It's pretty high in calories and you can make it richer by adding more olive oil. It's also fairly nutritious. My daughter will eat it with a spoon, or you can dip tortilla chips in it, or spread it on a sandwich. I spread it on corn tortillas, add cheese and make grilled quesadillas.

I hope some of these ideas help. I know it's very frustrating when your child doesn't eat. Good luck!

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Terri-Anne,

It is hard enough to get them to eat and then to have an allergy on top of it. My daughter is 4 and I feel your pain. There is a spice company that makes a ranch dressing mix-kinda like the packets in the store. I use their other spices and my daughter hasn't had an issue. It is Penzeys they have a web site www.penzeys.com. You just have to add your own creamy stuff- the directions are included.

I make a "fried rice" that my kids love. 4 c cooked rice, 1/2 cup meat (optional), an egg with 1T wheat free soy. If you want the recipe I would be glad to send it when I unpack my cookbooks.

Have you tried cooking the potatoes different or even using different potatoes- red vs idaho. We boil red potatoes sometimes until done but not falling apart, put them on a aluminum covered cookie sheet, brush with butter and broil until they have a nice crust.

Hormel pepporoni is gluten free. Not the healthiest choice, but I let my daughter have it with pull cheese and black olives-Pizza without the crust. You could even warm up Ragu and let him dip.

Does he like chicken nuggets? I cut up chicken breast and use a gluten-free baking mix, mixed with spices and cook them in the oven.

Hope this helps.

Laura

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You could always mix up your own ranch dressing. You could even adjust it to suit his personal tastes this way.

Mix together 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1/2 cup buttermilk. Add a little more buttermilk if it is too thick until you get the right consistency. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, garlic and onion. If his taste buds are sensitive, you may want to start with small amounts of seasonings and add a little with each new batch. If he is willing, let him taste test it and help you make it for him. I put a little on several different spoons and put a little extra of one thing on each spoon. The kids could taste it and decide if they wanted more onion, less pepper, etc. If he is a cheese eater, try adding some parmesan cheese to provide some additional flavor and nutrition.

One really good thing about this recipe is that you get the assistance of the buttermilk in the digestive process. Much of that is lost with the store-bought versions.

If your son likes finger foods, give him carrots to dip. You can also try things like gluten-free pretzels, celery with peanut butter, etc. as snacks.

My kids also like popcorn seasoned with nutritional yeast (Bob's Red Mill carries this) and sprinkled with a touch of garlic powder. You can use butter or not according to your family's preferences. We also like a little salt on ours.

If your son will eat broccoli, try melting cheese over it instead of requiring him to eat a meat. It will provide the protein he needs to grow as well as being pleasing to the eye. It also has the added advantage of being easy. We sometimes steam up a 32 oz bag, drain it and place it on a platter, melt bunches of cheese onto it, and use it as a tv snack. Of course my kids' friends think we are nuts. But hey, if my kids will eat it, I'd rather do that than potato chips or cookies.

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Terri-Anne,

Have your kids been tested for Celiac, or just allergies? I read the "signature" you have and all but the "lucky duck" sound like they could be Celiac related. Perhaps it's not just wheat your son is "allergic" to and so there's gluten in things he's eating and that's why he's hurting? And ADHD can be a food-allergy/Celiac induced thing, so definitely get that checked out.

Other than that, I feel your pain. Have you talked to your doctor about this? Does he have normal bowel movements? Maybe he's constipated, which would make him not feel well?

Bridget

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Guest Leidenschaft

I just wanted to compliment you all on your creativity! :) These suggestions could be posted on ANY parenting board for parents with fussy eaters! I'm thankful that while we were raising my husband's youngest that she was such a good eater, however many of her friends were not! It's such a huge issue!

My hat's off to you! :D

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Thank you all for your replies! You've given me some great ideas for some nutritious ways to entice Logie to eat. I should have been able to come up with some of those ideas myself, but as a working mom with 4 kids, it's enough of a challenge to decide what to throw together for supper each night, without throwing in the twist of modifying part of the meal to be wheat-free, AND accounting for a little fellow who is losing interest in eating the same ole things all the time!

lbsteenwyk, I'd love to get your recipe for Hummus. It certainly can't hurt to try introducing Logan to it. He might love it,as he loves dips/dressings.

Bridget, I have thought of whether my kids may have celiac disease but I had a heck of a time even getting my doctor to test Logan for it, even though I'd done my homework and kept a food diary to see what items were causing his reactions, and even though his reactions were soooooooooooo severe!

I may pursue that road again soon though.

Thanks again for all your replies and support!

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Here's my hummus recipe:

1 15 oz can chickpeas

1/3 cup sesame tahini (available at the health food store; sometimes you can find it in the regular grocery store)

2 Tbs Olive Oil (or more for calories)

Juice of 1 small lemon (optional - I often leave it out)

1 heaping tsp minced garlic (optional-depending on your child's taste)

1 Tbs ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4-1/2 cup water

Put all ingredients except water in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding water until you achieve the desired consistency. I usually have to stop the blender and stir several times before it gets mixed up really well. Stores for a week in the fridge.

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Terri-Anne, hi!

I am admirative beyond words of how you are already doing with 4 (four!!) children. Boggles my mind. I find it hard enough with one who has food problems!

Someone already raised this point and I'll just add to it: do you have suspicions about other possible allergies/intolerances? In our case, our son, now 2 1/2, made a you-have-to-have-seen-it-to-believe-it improvement on the gluten free diet, but fairly early on we realized there was more going on than just the problem with gluten. It wasnt until we had removed a few more things - all dairy, egg whites (and later yolks too unfortunately), soy products - that he became the thoroughly happy, healthy kid he now is. We removed these after watching him like a hawk for quite a while, testing out our strong suspicions, and reintroducing the suspect briefly (although not in the case of dairy, since the initial removal made just as dramatic a change as for the gluten and it is so obviously a problem - as inadvertant accidents have provd several times over- that we never actually officially did a reintroduction test).

Anyway, I , as so many here, went through a very unsettling initial phase worried sick with how I would feed him well enough. Every single bite just seemed of the utmost importance. And, I guess I still kind of feel that way up to a point. Since his diet is already so restricted, I get anxious about vitamins and whatnot, and doubly so if I see him refusing something nutritious he COULD be having.

So, for me, I started making a real effort to pack as much into small spaces as possible. This is why I started making a lot of patties/burgers/whatever you want to call them. It turns out, luckily for us, my son loves them, and will eat things in this way that he otherwise flatly refuses. I still feel my concern mellow out when he has finished off one of them! There's no recipe to follow as obviously it depends on personal likes and dislikes, but the idea is just blending or grinding a number of different ingredients together (like the hummous someone suggested) that can be fried (we pan fry in olive oil but that's also a matter of taste) or baked and then eaten plain or with a sauce of choice. A few examples of what I make are:

- fish cakes (poached white fish, mashed potato, tomato sauce, leftover cooked

vegetable, egg replacer, all mashed together)

with this format, my son will end up eating a whole fillet of fish in one sitting

- lamb/millet burgers (briefly cooked lamb, cooked millet, vegetable of choice, egg

replacer {or not, if I made a thickened gravy from the cooked meat, which will

help the burgers hold their shape} all run through the food processor)

this is the ONLY way he will eat red meat at all.

- lentil or chick pea burgers (either of these mashed with rice, vegetable, sauce,

etc)

I usually also try to remember to stick in a teaspoon or so of pumpkin butter or tahini for the iron and vitamins. These have a strong taste, and, especially in the case of pumpkin butter, a very odd taste, and they might not sit well at all with a child who is having difficulties finding an appetite. Still, if you think the other tastes could camouflage them, it's worth a try!

I could go on quite a bit, but better stop before this gets out of hand long. I've been there and know how hard it is.

Best,

Kaylee

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Kaylee

Your patties are a great idea. I'm going to try these with my daughter. She is becoming increasingly selective about eating vegetables, so this may be a good way to get some into her. Thanks!

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Hi Laurie,

I hope it works for your daughter! If vegetables are a problem - and with my son they go in and out of being one, depending on his mood or the phase of the moon or who knows what! - then as long as you can make them very finely shredded or otherwise hard to detect, then most should slip by ok. Sometimes he amazes me and only wants broccoli for dinner, but frankly that's not too common an occurrence. These toddler years can certainly provide an increased divergent-thinking requirement on parents' parts! Hopefully vegetables will be able to resume their normal shapes on a regular basis in the not too distant future, but until then ...

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that when possible I make extra patties, cook and then freeze them. This is SO nice to have around - an instant meal, when most premade convenience foods are off limits. I've done this successfully with all of them, although I haven't ever tried with the fishcakes. I don't know how potato freezes, but something tells me it might be kind of weird.

Best,

Kaylee

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Guest Zmom

My son loves his hamburger cut in "pizza" slices maybe you could let him put sauce/toppings on them.

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MMMMmm pizza burger that sounds good. There used to be a little mom and pop place near me that made pizza burgers. Had sauce and mozzarella cheese and some italian seasonings mixed in with the burger. Good stuff!!

-Jessica

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Speaking of dipping things, sometimes I let my daughter dip whatever it is in ketchup or mustard, or whatever is the "dip" of the week/day. I know this sounds gross and might not be the healthiest, but I have gotten her to eat broccolli, brussel sprouts and carrots by letting her dip them in ketchup. I can't watch and it looks strange but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

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I agree--my non-celiac brother wouldn't eat vegetables either--then he found ketchup :). For years he dipped vegetables and meat in it, and even grew to like noodles with ketchup. However gross it seems to us, it works, and it won't hurt to add a little extra ketchup to ones diet.

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My husband hates most vegetables, but has decided he likes them in a spicy stir fry. Ok, only a few vegetables, but still...

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Guest Zmom

Grilled/broiled carrots are really good-taste very sweet. little olive oil and a few minutes under the broiler -yummy. Zuccini squash is good too.

I have also bought a juicer. 1 carrot to 2-3 apples makes a yummy nutricious drink. I do take the skin off the apples for my son before making his juice.

Green beans go over better in french cut style .I call them spaghetti beans. Its works.

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Guest nini

I'm new to this forum, my daughter and I are both celiacs, she will be 5 next month.

Some of her fave foods (for picky eaters) are:

Amy's Rice Pasta Macaroni and Cheese

Amy's Rice Crust Cheese Pizza

Amy's Rice Pasta Garden Vegetable Lasagne

Ian's Allergen Free Chicken Nuggets

Ian's Allergen Free Fish Sticks

Hormel Beanies and Weanies

Applegate Farms Hot dogs and Kinnikinick gluten-free Hot Dog Buns

Salad Dressings Annie's Naturals, has quite a few dressings that are gluten-free and they are clearly labeled as gluten-free if they are safe.

Glutino has a line of salad dressings available now too.

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I just want to share my "secret weapon". After my daughter was diagnosed I had a really hard time in the kitchen. Then I bought "Saving Dinner"...a cookbook on amazon. You can check it out at savingdinner.com. It changed my life! Perhaps one of my biggest blessings as a sahm. I can easily convert the recipes into gluten-free items. They meals are tasty and I get on her site and pull off the shopping lists for the week before I head to the store. It's awesome! I have 4 little girls and they all love the menus as do my husband and I!

Also I have found if I let my kids help even a tad with the preparation they will at least try it with enthusiasm.

I won't post any ideas...you got plenty above. I have a few kid cookbooks I love too. Good luck! Nicole

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Guest ajlauer

Terri-anne, you are so pretty. You remind me of Sarah Evans. *jealous*

Anyways, to the point.... Logan sounds a lot like my Melanie. She was addicted to ranch dressing too. When she was younger, it would cause a rash on her face or arms - anywhere that it touched her skin. The welts would go away after a few hours, and it didn't seem to bother her internally - so I let her eat it. Somewhere around her 3rd birthday, the welts stopped occuring - so I thought were done with that issue. WELL... then she started vomiting all the time. Turned out to be an egg allergy. Now her she uses ketchup for her "dipping sauce".

She too is a very picky eater. Doesn't like meat, can't have grains, gets bored with veggies, and fruit always goes bad...... I'd say 80% of her diet is dairy! If logan loves cheese, stock up on it! I'm new to the gluten-free thing, so of course I'm assuming that dairy products are mainly gluten-free. Every week I buy a 24-pack of string cheese (we all love it). I buy 2 packages of Yoplait Yumsters (gluten-free so long as gelatin is safe - I'm confused on that issue). Sometimes I buy a large tub of cottage cheese, and that too is gone within just a few days. Oh, and a pound of cheddar. I buy these things every Sunday/Monday when I go shopping - and they're all gone by the next Sunday. It is very disconcerting though, with the way his appetite *suddenlY* dropped off - and his reports of stomach pain. I'd say do allergy testing first. It's not fun to watch them draw blood from a child (or do the skin pricks either), but I think comparatively easier than some other tests that could be done. IF it doesn't prove to be allergies, definately persue the issue until you find the problem. I probably didn't *need* to say that.... but if you're looking for any sort of reassurance, there it is!

Also in hindsight, I'd suggest to look at other items your child won't eat. Are there any common denominators?? When we found out everything Melanie was allergic to, we realized that - in the most part - she doesn't touch those foods anyways! She knew they were bad for her, so she wouldn't touch them - no matter what "tactics" we tried to use to get her to eat. Does Logan eat pancakes? French toast? Those both contain eggs. Most kids will eat those foods. Melanie wouldn't though, and she is egg allergic.

Hope this helps. It's an awful lengthy post to just sit here wasting space. *lol*

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