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For Parents Gymnast not eating well

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Gymdancemom3

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I need some help with suggestions on food or drink options for my 10yo. She has never been a big eater, but being at gym she needs to eat! She is definitely not getting enough protein and she is going to gym in the morning without eating anything. She says she isn't hungry. She is usually fine at first, but halfway through practice she starts crashing and just has zero energy. Are there any good protein drink options for kids? Or suggestions on what to do? TIA
 
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LGnyc

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Let's start with what does she like and when does she start practice in the morning?

My dd is not a huge eater - she hates to eat first thing in the morning but enough times crashing and she's learned that she just needs to get something in. What we have found that works is to have her wake up and get dressed and get her teeth brushed, but then eat in the car. Bc at least by that point, her body is willing to eat something.

We also rely heavily on chocolate milk - for protein, for a glucose hit, for muscle recovery.

As for protein, it's all the usual suspects. PB+J, organic bacon or beef jerky, hard boiled eggs (no yolk, that's scary!), cheese, and frankly any food that she shows interest in. She made a lasagna with my husband the other night. If she told me she wanted it for breakfast, I'd be on board.

Good luck figuring it out.
 

Lilou

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I'm interested in sneaky ways to get protein in since I too have a child who doesn't eat much. She's also very picky. I know I've started making muffins but adding in protein powder as it's quick and easy. But these are sweet snacks and not really meals.
Otherwise, I've tried to make smoothies and add in spinach or protein powder depending on the ingredients in the smoothie. But even those are hit or miss with her. But again, I'm interested in seeing what others post too since we struggle with getting proper nutrition in before and after practice, hec, all of the time.
 

mom2557

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We try to get carbohydrates and fat in before practice. I've read that kids muscles can't store a ton of carbohydrate for energy so switch to fat burning. In the morning she likes fruit, a bagel with cream cheese, whole grain cereal with milk and fruit. I also try to send her with a carbohydrate rich snack and chocolate milk for during/after practice. Cheese and crackers is also a big hit.
 
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John

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DD is also 10. She too does not like to eat in the am. We start and end the day with Chocolate milk for protein. She loves all meat so protein is not an issue.

For gym they need carbs for energy. When the body has to chose between fat or protein for energy it will chose fat. These girls do not have fat thus they need carbs before gym.

During summer practice, am practice, DD would eat a raspberry tart and chocolate milk. In the car of course. No breakfast no gym.
 

josie55

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I am not a nutrition expert and agree that it really comes down to what she likes. There is a healthy eating forum on here that you may want to join. My kiddo eats eggs pretty much every morning - either an egg sandwich or an omelette w/ veggies and cheese. It's generally one whole egg + two egg whites. She'll usually have some berries on the side. Seems to me it's a great breakfast from a nutrition standpoint, but she happens to love it and want it every day.

Lots of good protein drink options out there, depending again on what she likes and what's important to you (cost, convenience, amount of different nutrients and sugar, etc.) Mine doesn't particularly care for them, though.

Good luck!

p.s. @LGnyc why is a cooked egg yolk scary? Do I even want to know???
 
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oplei

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Not based on anything other than my personal thoughts. Lots of people are talking about chocolate milk which I am a believer in. I just recently switched my kids to whole milk. It has extra calories and milk fat for energy. My kids are not big eaters so it is a way to put more calories into their diet without changing the amount of milk they are consuming. They also like the creamy texture and it makes my coffee even better.
 

ldw4mlo

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p.s. @LGnyc why is a cooked egg yolk scary? Do I even want to know???

My daughter eats egg whites all the time. As do I. She is not a fan of yolk, unless scrambled. Not unusual for kids.

One of her and our favorite ways to eat egg whites is like a deviled egg only with hummus
 
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ldw4mlo

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There are plenty of protein drink and supplement options.
Also smoothies.
Yogurt works too. Milk.
Things made with oats.
Add protein powder, to drinks, baked goods.
Kodiak Cake makes a protein packed waffle/flapjack mix, in various varieties. You can add even more protein to that. They can be made into donuts and muffins as well.

At 10 she is old enough to get cause and effect.

Mine is 11. She is not a big before gym eater but she does get she needs something. She tends to go lite, but we do talk about getting a bit of carbs for quick energy and protein for longer energy. So she gets she has to have something. I let her pick what she wants but she needs to eat. I am not a big it must be "breakfst" food type person. For us breakfast, lunch and dinner are time of day you eat, not what you eat. So my kid has had last nights dinner for breakfast, pizza (bread, cheese, tomatoe, mushrooms). Ravioli, tortellini, mac and cheese, pierogi, potstickers, various soups, smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal................. She eats, its all good.
 
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NutterButter

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p.s. @LGnyc why is a cooked egg yolk scary? Do I even want to know???

My son describes the texture of egg yolks as "furry". Loves hard boiled eggs but won't eat the yolk.

OP - I feel your pain. I also have a kid who doesn't eat (not my gymmie, but just as active as her). I do many of the things that others have suggested including choco milk, letting him eat foods at anytime of day like dinner for breakfast, etc and making sure he gets fats and protein. I don't sneak veggies or protein into food though...the few attempts I've made, he can tell something is different either in texture or flavor.

I also enlist his help. When he's in a rut and seemingly crashing earlier than he should, we come up with a plan on what HE wants to eat in advance. I put him in the drivers seat (or at least he thinks he is). He knows that eating well is important and necessary if he wants to perform at a certain level. It's so important that I've explained to him that I may not let him do an activity if he hasn't properly taken care of his body to do it. He's usually receptive as long as I don't talk about food when it's mealtime or we are already butting heads on his diet. A few times a year I have this conversation with him.
 

ldw4mlo

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I also enlist his help. When he's in a rut and seemingly crashing earlier than he should, we come up with a plan on what HE wants to eat in advance. I put him in the drivers seat (or at least he thinks he is). He knows that eating well is important and necessary if he wants to perform at a certain level. It's so important that I've explained to him that I may not let him do an activity if he hasn't properly taken care of his body to do it. He's usually receptive as long as I don't talk about food when it's mealtime or we are already butting heads on his diet. A few times a year I have this conversation with him.

This, a thousand times.

Give them control. Talk and plan ahead of time not in the moment. Don't battle. Natural consequences. If you aren't properly prepared and nutrition is part of that, it could be a safety issue. . . You are not prepared to go to gym.
 

LGnyc

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I am not a nutrition expert and agree that it really comes down to what she likes. There is a healthy eating forum on here that you may want to join. My kiddo eats eggs pretty much every morning - either an egg sandwich or an omelette w/ veggies and cheese. It's generally one whole egg + two egg whites. She'll usually have some berries on the side. Seems to me it's a great breakfast from a nutrition standpoint, but she happens to love it and want it every day.

Lots of good protein drink options out there, depending again on what she likes and what's important to you (cost, convenience, amount of different nutrients and sugar, etc.) Mine doesn't particularly care for them, though.

Good luck!

p.s. @LGnyc why is a cooked egg yolk scary? Do I even want to know???

I'm good with them. It's my daughter. You would think I was feeding her poison. Yet will eat scrambled eggs and sometimes even poached. I find kids and their eating rules funny.
 
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josie55

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I'm good with them. It's my daughter. You would think I was feeding her poison. Yet will eat scrambled eggs and sometimes even poached. I find kids and their eating rules funny.

Phew! I thought I was going to learn that egg yolks contain poison, cause cancer, and/or are destroying the environment somehow and I was the last to know. Glad to know it's just a preference thing. :cool:
 

gymbeam

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Mine loves eggs and loves chocolate milk but won't do either before practice. She claims she tastes the egg the whole practice and that she can't do chocolate milk or protein drinks before practice because it's too "sloshy."

She starts at 7:30AM so we also go for quick around here. Lately, breakfast has been either PB&J sandwiches or overnight oatmeal. She prefers the PB&J and it's actually a pretty good option for sustaining her for 4-5 hours so I've been going with it quite often.

When I do the overnight oatmeal I do this variety: plain yogurt, uncooked oatmeal, milk, blueberries, honey, and chia seeds.

We cook a batch of turkey bacon at a time And she will usually eat a piece or two of that each morning as well.

I also make sure she keeps some of those apple sauce squeezie things in her cubby at gym. Every now and then she will squeeze one of those down really fast during a water break. It's light enough to not make her stomach feel loaded, but enough of a little carb boost to help when needed. She hasn't done that often but I feel better knowing she has the option.
 
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CuriousCate

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my kids love the Bolthouse chocolate protein drink. Not too thick, more like whole choc milk. My ODD also will eat a whole grain (pre-made by me or freezer) waffle with PB and honey spread on it. That holds her for a while and tastes great! My YDD will eat a cheese stick in the morning and a piece of toast. All easy but reasonably healthy.
 

sce

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My dd used to drink the Carnation instant breakfast. You could also make her smoothies. Yogurt, fruit etc. You could even mix the Carnation instant breakfast into the smoothie. At the very least will she drink chocolate milk in the morning. Then send a snack to the gym. Yogurt tube, z bar, applesauce pouch etc. Something simple and easy to eat/digest.

I would be careful about most protein drinks though. They have a lot of additives and things that are not necessarily good for kids' bodies.
 
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Rockygym

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My DD likes to Organic Valley protein shakes and they are too overloaded with sugar compared with some out there.
 
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momstrong

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Not based on anything other than my personal thoughts. Lots of people are talking about chocolate milk which I am a believer in. I just recently switched my kids to whole milk. It has extra calories and milk fat for energy. My kids are not big eaters so it is a way to put more calories into their diet without changing the amount of milk they are consuming. They also like the creamy texture and it makes my coffee even better.

Definitely whole milk all the way! I wish I could find those prepacked chocolate milks with whole milk!
 
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my4buffaloes

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Honestly I would not let her go to practice without eating Something. I would talk to her coaches ahead of time so they know why she might miss or be late. I am sure that they have seen the effects of her crashing mid practice due to lack of food. I would assume that everyone wants her to be able to do gymnastics safely. And doing gymnastics without eating breakfast first is not safe.

I picture her causing a fuss at first but once she realizes that you are serious I imagine she would want to go to practice more than not eat.
 

Jenny

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It is not unusual to not feel hungry early in the morning. I would go with a piece of wholemeal toast with something on and a banana. And then pack suitable snacks to pick at between pieces.
 
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