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Q & A: diet advice about grandchildren.

Grandparenting advice: grandparents seek advice about their problems withtheir grandkid, particularly about diet, foods, snacks, and vegetariandiets. Manywant knowledge of nutrition and healthy foods.

Grandparenting

Questionsabout Diets and FoodsQuestion & Answer

Advice: grandparents seek advice about their problems withtheir grandkid, particularly about diet, foods, snacks, and vegetariandiets.

Sometimes my granddaughter will not eat much for two or three days. Other times she will eat us out of house and home. Does anyone else have this problem? Her parents say not to worry about it, but I feel like she needs a balanced diet, especially now. She is only eleven months old.

MRD

I think childreneat more when they are growing. If she is offered a balanced diet for her ageand is not given sweets, snacks, or juice to excess, then she is probably justplain not hungry. Don’t worry, she won’t starve herself.

AT

My two-year-old grandson is being raised a vegetarian. I’m not sure I approve but his parents do. He seems to be hungry all the time. He’s not heavy, not thin either, but always hungry. Has anyone else had this experience?

STE

He probably is hungry. Vegetarian diets usually have a high fiber content. This makes all of us, adults and children, feel full sooner that people eating a diet with animal products. And, we all often get hungry in between meals, even adults, although children may be hungry sooner because they have smaller tummies.. Feed your grandson small meals at least four times a day and let him snack often on nutritious snacks. Don’t fill him up with fruit juice and other beverages, though, and make certain he has plenty of rice, pasta, cereals, breads, potatoes, and beans. Legumes (beans) are particularly important to the vegetarian diet.

Marie, California

My son’s family eat the most horrible diet I can imagine. It is pizza,hamburgers, fast food, milk, cheese, and sweets. Many fatty meat items cooked onthe grill. I rarely see a fruit or vegetables there (unless you count ketchup)and the entire family is often sick. I would love advice about countering thisor even literature I could give them about diet. Help!!

ETR

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In order to take control of my own health, I have studied nutrition forthe past few years. The more I learn, the more I realize just how poorly mygrandchildren eat. It’s not that they refuse to eat healthy; they aren’t evenoffered healthy foods to refuse. Everytime I broach the subject with mychildren, though, they pass it off as "dad’s obsession." Anysuggestions on getting thru to them?

WMT

Skip the parents’ generation and go directly to yourgrandkids. If you can see your grandkids on a regular basis, have food projectswith them such as making a scrapbook out of their favorite foods. Talk to themabout healthy foods and serve them healthy, but tasty, foods while they are withyou. If you can’t see them on a regular basis, mail and email informationand products to them. Regardless of whether you can see them or not, gear yourinformation to their ages and just keep being that little drop of water thatfinally makes a raging river. It is too important to give up on theirdiets.

NTH

My son’s family are all vegetarians. We are not. The children are 18 months and 4 years–and they are both coming to see us, without their parents, for a week next month. What should I have on hand for them to eat? I am particularly worried about snack foods.

TW, New Jersey

Two of my grandchildren eat vegetarian, too. You did not say if your family eats eggs and dairy so I will assume that they don’t… Build your meals around pasta, rice, and beans. Of course, you will also have fruits and vegetables with these. Most of the food will have to be cooked from scratch, although you can find a few processed supermarket foods without milk or eggs.

Some good snacks are smooth peanut butter sandwiches, soft dried fruit, soy milk (we use fortified), any fruit or steamed vegetable, tofu cheese in strips or cubes. Read the labels and particularly look for milk, animal fat, and eggs of anything you want to feed them. Be careful–whey and caesin are milk products..

Fruit sorbet makes a good summer dessert. Hot chocolate can be made with soy milk, hershey’s chocolate for a special treat. Marshmellows have animalproducts in them.

I imagine healthy eaters like your son’s family don’t usually give children a great many sweets. However, most vegetarian kids think fruit is a big treat so have plenty of fruit on hand.

DR

My grandchildren eat tofu cheese, pita bread baked crispy and dipped in very mild salsa or bean dips, carrot and other vegetable sticks, all kinds of fruit including dried fruit, and frozen banana slices or grapes for snacks at our house.

NNR

My grandchildren are older and their family is vegetarian, too. But they seem to eat the same types of snacks my sister’s grandchildren eat: nuts, fruit, graham crackers, dips with chips, peanut butter, honey and toast, etc.

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