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I feel so sorry for my lovely granddaughter

(34 Posts)
bobbydog24 Wed 22-Jun-16 13:18:07

My granddaughter is 7 years old and up until about 6 months ago was small for her age, having been born 9 weeks early and always in younger clothes sizes. She has always been a fussy eater and it was an ordeal to get her to eat a full meal. I have looked after her 3 days a week since she was 6 months old and now have her after school each day. She has suddenly grown an appetite and eats everything given to her, always seems hungry and has gone from underweight to chubby in a short time. My daughter doesn't help by buying her MacDonalds at every opportunity.
She used to be a little live wire always running about. At sports day at school the other day she was visibly uncomfortable running races.
My daughter thinks she will lose it all as she gets older but I think she needs to get her eating healthily now before it gets out of hand. I don't want to appear an interfering nanna but I feel so sorry for her because she's outgrowing all her clothes. I take her swimming, and have just enrolled her in bycycle lessons and keep fit to give her some excercise. Am I being a worry wart. My daughter gets a bit defensive if I appear critical of her parenting skills.

LullyDully Wed 22-Jun-16 13:57:17

This happened with our granddaughter. Dad put on a healthy eating regime. It has worked and she is looking so much better. She ran like the clappers at sports day last week .

She boards at school and they were letting her have seconds and thirds. Little tea (cake) , big tea with pudding and cocoa and biscuits for bed...not to mention breakfast and lunch. The regime ( no mention of diet or fat to her) has made such a difference.

You daughter has to look at what her daughter's eating. One swap our son did was to give both children a smaller plate. This kept us in check. It only took about 4 weeks.

breeze Wed 22-Jun-16 14:04:14

She's a bit young for puppy fat. I expect your daughter was so relieved when she started to enjoy her food after such a worrying start, she over compensates. She may also have inadvertently given your granddaughter some obsessiveness over food in general, as she may have been making it more important than it should be by encouraging her to eat previously. Dangerous ground isn't it, broaching healthy eating with your daughter without seeming to criticise her parenting skills. Also, don't forget, sometimes kids will go outwards, just before a growth spurt upwards. One of my sons did it the other way around (he's always been awkward!). Sounds like you're doing all the right things making sure she gets plenty of exercise. From your comment about struggling at sports day though, I wonder if she's actually quite a bit over weight and not just 'chubby'. If that's the case, maybe you could also, on the days you have her, start some 'fun cookery'. Buy her a kids healthy recipe book and instead of seeming to criticise, work with her to cook her own healthy stuff and make it fun (I saw a great one of these on a kids programme once, where they made stuffed peppers) and during these sessions, you could discuss with her (rather than criticise) the nutrition of the meals she's cooking and then perhaps she will pass this on to your daughter as something she enjoys. Worth a shot. You could say to your daughter you're teaching her to cook, rather than 'skinny up'. Mine field being a grandparent isn't it. As I've found. Treading that thin line between loving and caring and interference.

Mildred Wed 22-Jun-16 14:16:58

Smaller plate really works give it a go.

bobbydog24 Wed 22-Jun-16 14:39:45

You are right breeze, my daughter worried so much about her refusing food, now she eats so much better she is relieved. I can understand that and also the fact that they grow out and up, she is one of the tallest in her class now whereas she was smallest before. At no time is she made aware she may have a weight problem. I will definitely use smaller plate when she eats here and as healthy as possible. School hols are looming and I will have her a good bit of the time so I'm determined we will have plenty of healthy food and exercise and hopefully my daughter might get the unsaid message.

trisher Wed 22-Jun-16 14:40:07

What about healthy eating for everyone? You could say you are banning sweet things and looking at what you all eat not just her. MacDonalds is a nightmare. My GS constantly pestered to be taken there and we all kept putting it off, fortunately by the time he actually got there he didn't really like it, but I think they are addictive.
Well done for the swimming and the cycling I'm sure you will manage to sort things out and she is lucky to have you caring for her.

breeze Wed 22-Jun-16 14:59:38

One thing I would add is this, don't 'forbid' anything. It will become more attractive. Moderation is the key to healthy eating. An occasional McD won't do her any harm, or an occasional sweet treat. When my boys were small, they were allowed 2 treats a day, but, only if they ate their meals. They've all grown up fine. Good weights and not food obsessed. They enjoy their food but they don't live to eat. I had a friend who wouldn't allow her daughter anything 'bad' at all. I once felt dreadful when myself and my best friend treated our kids to a lolly on a trip to the park and the friend said her daughter was not allowed and whipped a Tupperware box of carrot sticks out and handed them to her. A few years later, at a birthday party, I watched this child grab handfuls of cakes, crisps, sweets from the party table and cram them into her mouth, looking around with guilt to see if her mother was watching. Balance is important. And to make food less of an issue to her. But at the same time, interesting and healthy.

bobbydog24 Wed 22-Jun-16 15:30:12

Luckily she doesn't crave chocolate or cake which is good but her favourites are pasta and curry and fish pie. Her mum works full time so meals aren't really planned.

M0nica Wed 22-Jun-16 15:39:40

A suggestion not to be misunderstood. Buy Slimming magazine, not I emphasise to show or discuss with either your DD or DGD, but it has lots of excellent recipes in it for pasta dishes,curries, and fish pies among many, that are rich in vegetables and other low calorie foods and also low in fats. That way your DGD can enjoy all the foods she likes in a way that will be good for her health and weight.

Just tear the recipes out and recycle the magazine and no-one will know where all your delicious recipes come from.

breeze Wed 22-Jun-16 15:51:38

Ooh, I love Fish pie. I make mine with semi skimmed milk and Stork, instead of butter and full fat. I also, unless a special occasion, bulk it out with veg, like broccoli/leeks. And you can put a sprinkle of cheese on the top instead of half a ton of cheddar; or grate a lower fat one like Edam. I seem to have turned into Fanny Craddock, so I'll go! but I hope you've had some support today re the problem and can find a 'not too extreme' solution to this. With such a caring Nana, she'll be just fine I'm sure.

bobbydog24 Wed 22-Jun-16 18:15:35

Thank you so much for all your suggestions. I will look at some low calorie recipes and perhaps do two and pass other to daughter for meal to freeze for another time. We'll get there.

J52 Wed 22-Jun-16 19:06:14

Your idea about bycling lessons and swimming sounds great. If you can, build in active time when you see her. An 'I spy' game on a walk might be an idea. Ours go to an indoor play area, when the weather is not good, it's exhausting, full on running around and climbing.

ajanela Wed 22-Jun-16 19:21:01

They may put on weight then have a growth spurt so appear to slim down but if they carry on eating in the same manor after the growth spurt they will become over weight again especially when they reach their full height.

Bobby you seem to be doing well and I can understand your daughters delight to see her daughter enjoying her food. My grandson eats a limited range of foods but very few sweets etc.but when he is hungry he eats and won't eat when he is not. When we looked at his diet it covers his needs but we do insist on a small amount of veg and fruit every day.

Finally there is no such thing as puppy fat!

Jalima Wed 22-Jun-16 20:24:40

I'm not sure about low calorie recipes - I would look up the number of calories a child that age needs and devise some healthy recipes accordingly; hopefully the extra plumpness will disappear with more exercise and she may suddenly shoot up too!

M0nica Wed 22-Jun-16 20:34:18

Most lower calorie recipes, and this is what most magazine recipes are, are usually far better nutritionally balanced than more traditional recipes. Like everything you nee to assess each recipe on its merits.

I have never belonged to the Slimming World club or any other weight loss group but I buy the magazine for the recipes because they are very good and nutritionally balanced.

Jalima Wed 22-Jun-16 20:44:48

I did go to Weightwatchers for a couple of years, but I am not sure about some of the recipes being suitable for a 7 year old, as I think they need more fat in the diet than they would recommend, although that may all have changed over the last couple of years. They also try to sell their own products which may not be suitable for a child imo.
However, I agree, there will be some very good recipes for nutritious meals in the magazines, it's just a case of being aware of the nutritional needs (as opposed to the calorific value of a meal) of a 7 year old which may be different from those of an adult trying to lose weight.

bobbydog24 Wed 22-Jun-16 21:00:38

You have to be careful with children's food as they need at least semi skimmed milk and good fats for growth. Not sure if low fat is the way to go. Maybe smaller portions and plenty of exercise.

Jalima Wed 22-Jun-16 21:53:13

and persuade her to cut out the McDonalds!

breeze Wed 22-Jun-16 22:37:27

I suggest you google 'puppy fat'. The definition is 'fat on the body of a child which disappears around adolescence.

ajanela Thu 23-Jun-16 02:04:41

I stand corrected but I find people refer to overweight children as it is only puppy fat when there is a weight problem

breeze Thu 23-Jun-16 10:16:26

Agree entirely. I hate to see overweight children. Stuffing sweets and crisps and sedentary in front of the tv. In Bobby's case it seems it's not like that at all, as it appears Mum was so worried about her poor eating in her first years, that she's over compensated and feels relieved she's now eating. So may have turned into a little bit of a food obsession. But unlike irresponsible families, Bobby's on the case and will gently turn things around I think but without making her daughter or granddaughter feel bad about themselves. She is organising activities for her already and considering how to encourage her to eat healthily. I know puppy fat exists though as I had it and so did my eldest son. Around age 10, so a year or so before my periods, I suddenly gained a lot of weight. I lost it so fast around age 11, that I had stretch marks across my back and was questioned by a teacher had I been whipped! My son is 6ft tall and he sprang up so fast around a similar age (he spent his first couple of years at secondary school looking like Michael Jackson! with his trouser legs flapping around his ankles!) He also has stretch marks across his lower back, same as mine, due to the sudden reduction in weight and going upwards. Didn't happen with my other two though, so it's not the same for all children it seems. And you are right, that a lot of parents will use puppy fat as an excuse when they're actually over feeding their kids.

Anya Thu 23-Jun-16 10:26:12

Agree with you there Bobby cut out the sugary treats and drink, except occasionally, likewise the McDonalds and get her interested in moving more - girls enjoy dancing, so get out the disco ball and dust off your CD collection.

Anya Thu 23-Jun-16 10:27:10

And less TV and tablets.

Anya Thu 23-Jun-16 10:28:46

My GC love the trampoline. That'll burn the far off.

Thingmajig Thu 23-Jun-16 10:53:54

Our DGD (born at 32 weeks but seriously underweight/growth restricted)is a wee skelf too, and hardly eats a thing.
DD was horrified to come home from her weekend away to find a chicken nugget and sauce from McD's lurking on the carpet. SIL was equally horrified that he'd been found out! grin

Hopefully your wee GD will enjoy your healthy eating summer and enjoy activities again. smile