Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Project Pack-on-the-Pounds

Remember our GI checkup 4 weeks ago? The one where the doctor told me Sadie was losing weight and too skinny and we had that talk with the nutritionist about giving her more high calorie foods?  I was given suggestions to add things to Sadie's diet like chicken, potatoes, pasta, oil, whole milk, etc.

The thing is, when we got home, I was all gung ho for this...and I made Sadie throw up like everyday.  Brian told me I needed to slow down and ease her into this diet change.  I hate when he tells me what to do...especially when he's right!  But, after about a week, we found our groove.

First I started adding oil.  Sadie gets 1.5-2 Tbs of Olive oil added to her food everyday.  That right there is an extra 180-240 calories.

Then I realized that the yogurt we were giving her was only 60 calories a cup, and I knew we could do better than that!  I found Kroger brand yogurt that is 190 calories per cup!!  Do you know how hard it is to find HIGH calorie foods?!  Most people was low fat and low calorie yogurt.  So, finding 190 calorie yogurt was like hitting the jackpot!

Then we started giving her a little whole milk with each meal.  Soon we had a goal of 12 syringes of milk a day (it's doable), which is 10 ounces.  That is another 187.5 calories per day.

I started making her peanut butter in the vitamix.  Just peanuts and oil, and I can make it a little thinner/runnier so it's easier to mix into her fruit puree.  And since we're trying to add texture to her foods, I put some Life cereal in her fruit puree and peanut butter, which doesn't add a lot of calories, but adds some starch.  At our house we call it Sadie's peanut butter sandwich.  She gets this meal everyday.

Sadie's daily diet that she's settled into looks something like this:

8:30/9:00ish we give her 6oz of tube food.  This can be anything from leftovers of our dinner the night before to just milk and some veggies.  Or sometimes I mix her some Cheerios with milk and banana.

11:00/11:30ish she gets yogurt and some water.  This is also when I make her peanut butter sandwich so that the cereal will be soggy when it's time to eat it.

1:00/1:30ish Sadie eats her peanut butter sandwich (there is oil mixed into this), with 3-4 syringes of milk.

3:30 She eats something hearty.  Sometimes it's rice pudding, sometimes it's black beans with rice and bananas, sometimes it's veggies and quinoa.  Whatever she has, this also has some oil mixed into it and she gets 3-4 syringes of water.

Sadie doesn't eat again until 6:00.  She gets her second dose of medicine at 5:15 and we have to wait at least a half hour until she eats again.

6:00 Sadie gets something high in protein.  Usually she gets chicken and potatoes with vegetables and quinoa.  She likes this.  I bought some organic, cage free chicken tenders for her and boiled them up.  Then I put them in Food Saver bags individually and froze them.  We seem to always have potatoes that we can't use fast enough, so it's been easy to boil some potatoes, make some brown rice or quinoa, steam some frozen vegetables, then add it all to the blender with some milk.  It's pretty hearty, and she usually eats a lot at this time of day because she hasn't eaten for quite a while and is hungry.  I also add a little oil to this meal and give her 2-3 syringes of milk.  Sometimes I can finish up her 12 syringes at this meal, sometimes I take it easy and don't push it.

8:00 If Sadie still needs some more milk, I give her 2-3oz of fruit with some oil and the rest of her milk. If she has had all her milk, I might give her a little yogurt.  I don't give her a lot of food at this time of day, but I try to give her something with protein so it sticks with her through the night, because she's not going to eat again for 12 hours.

My goal in Project Pack-on-the-Pounds isn't just to fatten Sadie up, but to feed her body good, nutritious food in the process.  I don't want to clog her arteries or fill her body with chemicals (otherwise I'd just give her the formula through her tube that the doctor recommends!).  So, below are some of my "recipes."  I know that there are many special needs kids who struggle with gaining weight.  I also know that many of them don't want to eat or struggle with eating more than Sadie.  But in case you can use these, here they are...

Rice Pudding - I bought Sadie some vanilla pudding Snack Packs, then I added cooked brown rice, some whole milk and a little cinnamon to the blender.  She LOVES this.  I tasted some too, I'd eat it, it's super yummy.

Sweet Potatoes - 1 small yam, and an apple, cubed and steamed.  Add these to the blender with a little of the cooking water and a small amount of cinnamon.  You could even add a grain to this if you wanted to make it heartier, or add some protein.

Oatmeal - Oatmeal is so easy, so good, and you have endless variety possibilities.  I cook up some oatmeal, sometimes enough to make 2 or 3 different batches at a time.  Some things I add are: brown sugar and cinnamon (I use a lot of cinnamon because it aids digestion), apples and cinnamon, dried fruit (if you put raisins or dried cranberries in with the oatmeal while it's cooking, it'll reconstitute them and make them easy to blend), anything that you might eat in your oatmeal, your child will likely eat also.  I make sure it's blended well with milk.

Fruit purees - This is just like making a smoothie.  We buy frozen berries at Costco, so we always have some strawberries or blueberries.  Then I mix in a banana usually and whatever we have... peaches, mangos, etc.  That vitamix will blend ANYTHING, even with the peels on, it's amazing.

Quinoa - Cooked quinoa in vegetable broth (Sadie's like me, she's not a huge fan of quinoa, but if it's cooked in vegetable broth, she'll eat it), then I add either frozen mixed vegetables or carrots only.

This seems like we don't give Sadie a lot of vegetables, but we've found that the easiest way to give her veggies is to put them in her tube food.  Her tube food often has spinach, cucumbers, broccoli, kale, green peppers, etc.  We often get this is our bountiful basket (it's like a food co-op) and can't eat it fast enough before it goes bad.

And because I'm obsessed with Sadie gaining weight, I've been weighing her at home regularly.  The last time we weighed her was Sunday night and she weighed over 31lbs!!!  She has gained 4lbs since we saw the GI doctor!!  It sort of sucks that I have to get her heavier while it's harder and harder for me to carry her.  But I'm glad all of this is working and I'm excited to see what Dr. Wendy says when we go to weigh in in October!!!

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