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Younger kids and calorie intake?

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gymyogimom

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My daughter (7) has not been above the 3rd percentile since she was 4 months old. Now over the summer she has lost a half a pound when we went from 90 minutes of gym a week to 4 hours+open gym. A half poind is not much but it worries me as she is adding 2 hours of dance and then in October another 2 hours of gymnastics training. How many calories to consider? Right now her pediatrician isnt worried but i do! Also she is a self declared vegetarian (my husband is as well but she was first!) so some easy protein that make decent snacks are out.

So bottom line question is about how many calories would a 7 year old need to replace per hour for a conditioning program?
 

MILgymFAM

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I am no doctor (and if the pediatrician isn't worried I wouldn't be either), but I would say that the human body is an incredible machine and it knows what it needs. If your DD is hungry, feed her. Every time. Make lots of good choices available and she will choose what her body craves. For my ODD, who's also very slim, that looks like eating every hour to two hours when she isn't in the gym. For my YDD it's likely to be every three hours. My pediatrician told me once that it isn't where they are on the percentages, but more that it stays in the same range as they grow- that's what they look for.
 

duyetanh

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I would not worry. My young child (same age as yours) isn't even on ANY of the growth charts. She never has been, really. But she grows, I swear it, and I feed her...don't let those charts freak you out. I think she will be fine, but I would probably google "vegetarian protein snacks" (you can google ANYTHING thesedays) and have your child tell you which ones she would not only like but eat...and buy them, make them, etc...and have them readily available.
 

gymyogimom

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Thanks for the confidence! In my heart i know but then it is easy to second guess! 4 more hours a week of high activity made me realize i need to make sure she is getting good foods. On thursday she had 2 hours dance, went to school and had gym class and had:
One of those horizon tetra pack milks
Apple with cinnamon
4 crackers
Cheese stick
The rest came back in her lunch box.

Plus they had 2 recesses! She had a snack after school and lunch. Then Saturday had 2 hours of gymnastics. I had to almost force her to eat breakfast... And a milk on the way along with a bella cheese.

Had apple at snack... After she had a cliff bar.

Then didnt want lunch. So had it late and wanted to skip dinner.

She used to eat yogurt and good quality cheese for protein but with school starting she is asking for things kids at school eat. I picked up mandarin oranges and a few other requests but i dont want to sacrifice healthy food for junk (cheetos and rice crispy bars).

(I worry about her being influenced so much and then i remember she will be a teenager some day!)
 
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duyetanh

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I would compromise somewhat, and say you are willing to get some of those things, but that those 'other' kids/friends aren't doing as much physical activity as she is, so she is going to need to have at least 50% of those snacks be what you, as a parent, know she needs.
 

Faith

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To start with you cannot calculate the calorie needs of a child. You need to factor in what growth phase they might be in (impossible!), as well as exercise and basic metabolic function.

Like pp has said, just keep offering.

Chocolate milk is good. High fat things like peanut butter, avocado, hummus. Splash of olive oil in main meals, especially pasta etc.
 
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ginnymac

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High fat is very important for growth and development. Fruit for snacks is not enough.

If volume of food is the problem, replace some fruits and veges with more dense foods. Example: instead of one whole apple, have half an apple with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter. Instead of just carrots, give carrots with hummus or other dip. Toast for breakfast? Top with butter and smashed avocado.

Use full fat yogurts. Smoothy with full fat yogurt, almond butter and half banana. You can also add powdered milk to boost calories in smoothy.

Ultimately, she needs to have enough fuel for her body. Some kids need lots more fuel than others. Some kids don't "naturally" eat enough to cover their energy output. I have one of those kids. She needs to eat a lot. Frequently and the right foods.

Good luck!
 

gymyogimom

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Thanks! The school has a fruit/vegetable or cheese snack rule. For lunch today she is choosing hot lunch. She is super social so with cold lunch i know id she ate or talked. Hot lunch, no idea! We compromised on this and she gets 6 a month.

I seriously never worried about her weight until now... It was just her body.

Ill try avocado smoothies with full fat yogurt in it as well.
 

ldw4mlo

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Hard to monitor what they eat at school and they don't have a ton of time add in chatting and it can get ugly.

Add the calories when and where you can. Smoothies, Good fats, seeds, nuts.
 

Iwannabemargo

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Does carrot cake count as veg ? Seriously if she us loosing weight she needs calories rather than protein ( which is filling), so high fat, and yes carbs, to give her the energy she needs
 

gymyogimom

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I agree - I was sending her with 2 things of 80 calorie cheese and they were coming back uneaten. apparently her friends all eat apples with cinnamon for snack or carrots (which are like negative calories I'm sure!) I think we need to compromise some but also I don't think she realizes (she's 7 after all) the importance of eating right.

I'm thinking of doing pasta in a thermos for lunch over a sandwich that she only will eat half of! Carbs, good fats, and decent protein need to be there for sure.
 

gymyogimom

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Hard to monitor what they eat at school and they don't have a ton of time add in chatting and it can get ugly.

Add the calories when and where you can. Smoothies, Good fats, seeds, nuts.
I picked up some ripe avocado. She has gymnastics tonight after school. So rather than trying to get her to eat an early dinner, I'm going the smoothie with banana, avocado and some no-gii whey protein added in with some berries. She'll eat a yogurt and berry smoothie but doesn't like them too thick (drinkable not spoon kind!) - she also doesn't even like ice cream or cake because they're too sweet. She eats her vegetables just fine but now I need calories for her as we add in basically 16 hours more a month of gymnastics and dance (plus she started swimming this month - just few weeks, so we'll wind it down soon)

Wish me luck!
 
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gymyogimom

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Today's after school smoothie was a success:
1 avocado
1 cup full fat yogurt (with extra cream)
1/2 c water
1 banana
1 cup frozen mixed fruit
1.5 scoops of nogii whey protein

Plus then she ate a protein bar and had chocolate milk. All with plenty of time before gymnastics before it goes down.

They get a brief snack during their 2 and 3 hour sessions.. Most girls bring popcorn. She asked that i do the same but I've changed it to a fruit. I may make it a protein bar on days that she doesn't eat a good snack after school. Sometimes when we get home (almost 9 pm) she doesn't want to eat much so it ends up being a small snack on the ride home (milk and something quick - I may start having pasta for the ride home).
 

ldw4mlo

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My daughter can be a grazer. But our thermos gets quite a workout. I have 2 in fact.

Another good thing, quiche (which is easy to make ahead an freeze by the slice) pop in microwave, a meal.
Sometimes small bites work best. Cheese, a bit of fruit and or veg, egg white with hummus. California rolls. Bagel and cream cheese.

For thermos

We do potstickers, ravioli/tortellini (pesto, alfredo or marinara), pierogi. Roasted potatoes with cheese and veggies. Mac and Cheese (you can add veggies. Cottage cheese and fruit. Yogurt.

Other things in general and can go in the thermos

Fried rice, Soups with legumes, Beans and rice. Pizza (can all kinds of goodness), veggie wraps with fresh mozzarella, veggie burgers.
 

Faith

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Don't get too hung up on protein, children need carbs and fat. Fat has most calories weight for weight, and carbs are a readily available energy source.

Popcorn is probably better than a protein bar mid practice as the calories are more easily converted to energy.
 

B.Gold

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And to throw a wrench into the equation, fat actually will increase the feeling of being satiated and may actually cause her to eat less. I have just lost a large amount of weight adding fat back into my diet playing on that principle. But carbs might actually stimulate her appetite.
 

tortuga

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I was/am struggling with my little bit and finally found a book that talks numbers AND even has reports with statistics for young gymnasts!

Eat like a champion : performance nutrition for your young athlete / Jill Castle, MS, RDN, CDN
 
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Danielle Swaby

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Thanks for the confidence! In my heart i know but then it is easy to second guess! 4 more hours a week of high activity made me realize i need to make sure she is getting good foods. On thursday she had 2 hours dance, went to school and had gym class and had:
One of those horizon tetra pack milks
Apple with cinnamon
4 crackers
Cheese stick
The rest came back in her lunch box.

Plus they had 2 recesses! She had a snack after school and lunch. Then Saturday had 2 hours of gymnastics. I had to almost force her to eat breakfast... And a milk on the way along with a bella cheese.

Had apple at snack... After she had a cliff bar.

Then didnt want lunch. So had it late and wanted to skip dinner.

She used to eat yogurt and good quality cheese for protein but with school starting she is asking for things kids at school eat. I picked up mandarin oranges and a few other requests but i dont want to sacrifice healthy food for junk (cheetos and rice crispy bars).

(I worry about her being influenced so much and then i remember she will be a teenager some day!)
 
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