Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fill 'em up

Okay, troops, it's rallying time.

Bud has been on a new medication for about a month. It has made a world of difference for him, helping him to manage anxiety, perseverate less, avoid aggressive outbursts, and, of course, sleep. After many difficult and challenging months, Bud is finally settling back into himself.

There's just one catch to the new medication: it makes him RAVENOUSLY hungry. As soon as he finishes breakfast, he's asking for a snack. He's sneaking food out of the refrigerator. He is grazing his way through his days. I've removed most junk food from the house and eliminated things like white flour products from his diet, but honestly, even fruit and whole grains will pack on the pounds if you eat them by the truckload.

Bud had a follow-up visit with his doctor today. He's gained five pounds in the past month. He hasn't grown enough to account for it. It's the marathon eating. Bud's doctor advised me to seek out foods that are filling and low in calories - things like popcorn and vitamin water. Those, I can do. But her other suggestions - things like carrots and celery, and even soups - are likely to trigger Bud's sensory issues. I've always avoided artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes for Bud, but his doctor said they're the lesser concern right now - she suggested swapping out the regular jello, Popsicles, and other snacks for the sugar-free variety whenever possible.

I'm sure Bud's not the first child to encounter this issue. So what can you offer me, oh wise blogosphere friends? What can I give to Bud that will fill him up and stay with him, without pushing his daily caloric intake through the roof?


Niksmom said...

Ooh, that's a tough one! I don't have any great suggestions since Nik doesn't really eat yet. But...if you have any concerns about gluten or casein, make sure you read labels very carefully. Ditto for soy. Lots of low-carb or low-fat foods use some strange things to add texture, etc.

Can Bud tolerate veggies like broccoli? Foods like oatmeal? Things that are high in fiber obviously. If he can tolerate it, Renew Life makes fiber capsules that he could take to help him feel fuller (or you could open it and sprinkle the contents in his cereal or applesauce or something soft.

Good Luck!

Maddy said...

Well good for Bud! I'd love to offer some dietary advice, but unfortunately I have NO qualifications in this department at all. I shall wait to see what wiser folks than me have to offer. Just my luck to be first to comment!

Come on buddies, your opportunity to put the Brits in their place.

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

kristina said...

If it's possible----can you get in some physical exercise everyday? Even a 15 minute walk in the cold? This was very important for Charlie when he started to take a med that had a similar effect on him. I don't know if any of this will help but this is what Charlie ate a lot of----his need to eat and eat has tapered off, over time, too. I suspect some of these may not appeal to Bud's sensory issues; this is a rather idiosyncratic list, I admit.

-frozen vegetables (frozen---peas, carrots, corn
-watermelon in cubes
-Romaine lettuce
-Vietnamese summer roll wrappers (soak them in water---though Charlie eat a whole pack!)

I also make sure Charlie gets some protein----to fill him up; we had a period that was rather "Atkins-esque." I'll think of more things----I had to very slowly teach Charlie the concept of "portion size."

kristen spina said...

I will be anxious to read some of the responses you get here. We have a similar problem--though not due to meds, more likely it's a sensory thing, but who knows?--the kid is like a bottomless pit and not one to exercise. He just keeps asking for food.

Luckily, my guy will eat carrots and apples and cucumbers and bananas. I try to avoid the junk, but bread and cheese and crackers and yogurt are big favorites here.

I'm going to suggest a bit of protein with each snack. It helps fill 'em up. Will he eat cereal?

And I know zippo about the GF/CF diet, if that's a concern. I hope you get some good tips that I can use over here as well. Good luck!

kristina said...

Another thought. Because Charlie was eating so much more, he started to have some stomach problems leading to other problems........... On the medication he was on, after several months his hunger cravings lessened (or learned to eat only so much).

MOM-NOS said...

This is helpful already! I knew I came to the right place.

Some things:

GF/CF is not an issue. Bud's not on the diet.

Niksmom, Bud likes pureed baby food, but he has trouble with most whole veggies. His favorite baby food was the Gerber Stage 2 broccoli & chicken, but they stopped making it. Maybe I should start pureeing my own. Oatmeal is a good idea, as is a fiber supplement. I think I'll run it past his doctor.

Kristina, I knew that Charlie liked frozen veggies, but I'd forgotten it. That could work for Bud - it would change the texture completely. I'll have to give it a try! Watermelon is another good idea. He eats a TON of fruit - grapes, bananas, apples, oranges, pears - but watermelon is lower calorie. He has refused it in the past, but it's worth trying again. Cucumbers might work as well, if I cut out the mushy seedy part.

Kristen, Bud does like cereal - mostly Cheerios and Kix, without milk. He doesn't eat a ton of meat, so protein can be an issue. He likes chicken (breaded cutlets or nuggets, of course) and bacon - not very low-cal. He does like deli turkey. He's a cheese and yogurt guy, too - but, as you know, that stuff adds up quickly!

MOM-NOS said...

Kristina, I hear you. I'll say this: it is a VERY good thing that we had a brand new septic system installed this summer. :)

Drama Mama said...

Miss M is on meds now, and we are watching her, too. She eats and sneaks food all the time as well.

Good thing, though - she is so much more able to cope with things now that she has meds.

We do exercise on "brain breaks" between homework pages, do parcourse jogs, and elliptical trainer jags with my iPod. We do Sugarfree Jello and Applesauce cups for treats, as well as water bottles. Edamame is a snack she enjoys, and is filling. For a treat, she'll put one of those Crystal Light envelopes of lemonade in the water. I know it has Splenda and it's horrible stuff, but really, considering all of her issues, obesity is the last thing she needs.

One good thing is that the exercise is a great opportunity for connection and togetherness. Helps with the focus and attention during homework, too.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is not a kid suggestion exactly, but when I was trying to watch calories I ate a lot of rice cakes and drank a lot of carbonated beverages, which seem to fill the tummy with bubbles.

Maybe foods that take some manipulating to slow him down? Peanuts in the shell, hard boiled eggs he has to peel, trail mix where he only likes certain components so he has to hunt for them.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I attended a seminar given by Temple Grandin earlier this year here in New Zealand and she had a real bee in her bonnet about this issue. She was adamant the weight gain was an unacceptable side effect of certain medications. She also advocated the idea that often 1/4 the prescribed amount of particular drugs for Autism was a more appropriate dosage for many individuals.
She was very firm that the drugs had to provide a WOW! factor in terms of the difference in the individual to warrant taking them...sorry off topic. I can't find anything too specific regarding the weight gain in my notes but she certainly addressed the issue in some depth. More info possibly on her website or in her books. I love your writing BTW, I'm the mother of an almost 4 year old daughter with Semantic Pragmatic Disorder (I call it Autism!!)

kristen spina said...

I'm back. When I was pregnant, I had gestational diabetes, but it was controlled through diet. I know it's not the same, but here's what I did and I only gained 7 pounds the entire 9 months (plus I was on bedrest, so no exercise...) The result was a full-term, 7 lb. baby. Maybe it would translate in some form to something that will work for Bud--and, come to think of it, my own son...

I ate 5-6 small meals a day. Each meal had to include protein. So, an apple + cheese + a handful of nuts. Or, yogurt + half a bagel + half a banana. Or, chicken strips + carrots + slice of whole grain bread.

The idea was to combine smaller portions of food that were high in protein, mix in some fruit, vegies and carbs, and eat more often.

I weighed less after my son was born than before I got pregnant. Freaky.

Wish I had kept it up, but eating so often was exhausting. You need to be super organized and keep a well-stocked kitchen at all times. Which ultimately was impossible to do with a newborn.

Kaethe said...

Just one more point to consider: lots of kids eat ravenously and pack on some weight just before a major growth spurt.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest getting a bag of pistachios. We really like them, and they are fantastic OT for strengthening the pincher grasp and for improving coordination. I put a bowl of them out, and if my fine-motor challenged boys are hungry enough, they manage to shell them. It does slow them down, but they are filling and not that high in calories.

I'd second the fizzy water (make sure it is nocal, though - some are as bad as water) and the rice cakes.

I'm right there with you. My older son's medication has started packing pounds on him. He's gained 5 pounds in the last 2 months - even though he's actually eating a lot less than he did before. I'm not sure what to do about this, but I'm told it is incredibly normal. We're focusing on the quality of his intake, therefore, and trying to manage and monitor. At least he's not hungry now. When all his ribs showed he was prone to eating a half a large pizza by himself.

Wendy said...

What about egg white omelets? Low cal and lots of protein. Should keep him full for awhile (and great for the brain!).

I'm in the same situation as you. Except my ravenous eater is my just turned 13-yr-old daughter who eats way more than I do. I guess all teenagers go through this at some point though.

Anonymous said...

make a "bud box" in the fridge for him...a cool little tupperware bonanza filled with good things that he can pick at all day long-low cal things-and let him know that is his box and whatever is in it is ok. but when it is gone -it is gone. you have to be a little firm-just because he says he is hungry-doesnt mean you HAVE to feed him. he is NOT going to starve. he may have to go through a rough period adjusting but you are in control. if you let it get too far out of hand-you will have to worry about having hime have to lose 30 pounds!!! I would also go out and either buy a diebetes cookbook-or do some research on the web as far as snacks go-low sugar and carbs. he may not HAVE diabetes-but there are some wonderful cookbooks out there that are very healthy. Also...try going to the healthfood store, or even the vitamin store to look for some kind of protein powder to add to his drink. Low cal smoothies are great....we make ours with rice milk, berries, no-fat plain yogurts and fun straws. you just have to be creative.


SUS said...

As someone who went through the South Beach Diet on two or three occasions, the "snacks that slow you down" are a good idea.
Unless he has nut allergies, you could give him some pistachios to shell and eat. When I was a kid, I used to love to crack open nuts with a nutcracker during the holidays...
A woman here in Austin who wrote a diet guideline book (http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid:540584) eats a breakfast of a rice cake with almond butter and raisins. Or will Bud like rice cakes plain?
Would the stringless snap peas in a pod be a "bad sensory" vegetable?

Ange said...

I 2nd the oatmeal and protein. If you look up infor on the low glycemic index diet, it gives great food that take longer to process so keep you full longer. Bubba is still growing like a weed, but he weighs the same as he did in preschool. I'm sure part of that is his medication (he eats about three meals in the evening, but not much during the day), but he is also always on the move.

Good luck!

mommy~dearest said...

We had the same issue when Jaysen was on Risperdal. He gained 5 pounds a month consistently.

He has some pretty significant eating preferences (some due to sensory issues, and some just due to being picky). He will not eat veggies, fruit, or anything that's "good" for you.

That said, I reallly had to monitor what he ate. We did a lot of things like frozen juice bars (popsicles) because they take longer to eat.

Give him smaller portions and let him have "seconds" or "thirds. Make him wait about 15 minutes before going for another snack.

"Forget" to get things for him. "Mom, can I have some crackers?" "Sure honey." Walk into the kitchen, but make some coffee or something. If he asks, just say you forgot, then get it. It worked sometimes for Jaysen, and he forgot he wasn't eating.

The "diet" and sugarfree items are pretty important. I'd always steered clear of them, but with the weight gain associated with these meds, diabetes becomes an issue. It's such a difficult predicament, and I'm afraid that I'm just about to be re-joining it.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

If cold food is ok, you can try frozen bananas. They take longer to eat than fresh and can be construed as a treat.
On the banana track, Banana Pancakes are delicious, so easy, and very filling. Everyone should try them at least once! Mash up 1 banana together with 1 egg. Use this is pancake batter, cooking spoonfuls in a small amount of butter or oil. The texture is just like that of a regular pancake, but so low-cal since there is no flour.
There are healthy types of jerky around (like salmon and turkey) and many don't contain preservatives or other junk. It can take a while to gnaw, and is high in protein.
Nonfat yogurt is low-cal and it can be fun to make your own flavors. Bud could add fresh berries, a spoonful of honey, or some vanilla extract-- or whatever he wants!—to make his own flavor.
A full glass of water or un-sweetened tea or iced tea with every meal or snack should help as well in case he is confusing thirst for hunger some of the time. There are a lot of non-caffeinated tea options out there that are excellent cold or room temp.
Hummus is a good high protein snack. If he isn't a big hummus fan, you can make spreads using other beans (ie. white beans).


Anonymous said...

Do you have a celebrity following MOM?

Rachael? As in, Rachael Ray? Sure sounds like her!

MOM-NOS said...

THANK YOU all so much! These suggestions are just terrific!

Re, as much as I'd like to think of myself as Blogger to the Stars, I'm afraid it's probably not so. You're right, though, that Rachael has great suggestions.

Speaking of which - Thanks, Rachael! Bananas are one of Bud's all-time favorite foods, so I think that both frozen bananas and banana pancakes will be a big hit with him!

Really, though, all of you, I can't say it enough. Rice cakes, pistachios, a "Bud box," "forgetting" to meet requests quickly, small amounts frequently, protein, egg white omelets - all of it - they are just fantastic ideas. Thank you.

Berry, I can certainly appreciate where Temple Grandin is coming from, but for Bud, for now, it's been WOW, after many months of a wow of a different color. His doctor is hoping this mediation will be a short-term solution as we help him work on developing some other coping strategies. I hope so, too.

MOM-NOS said...

P.S. The down side to your great comments, of course, is that now they've made me hungry...

Anonymous said...

sugarless gum.........I think letting kids eat and eat is pretty risky, because oftentimes the cause of the ravenous hunger goes away but the "need" to eat does not and look how many food addicts we have in this country!( I am in this group...but in recovery.) We have a few boys that have chewing gum in class included in their IEP's because it is great at reducing anxiety and some ocd like behaviors.
Exercise is also great....as long as its fun! My son is thriving on a swim team ("we" don't compete).....it is also the cheapest OT around!

kristina said...

A new septic system! When we started Charlie on the meds, we only had one, ahem, bathroom......... We do try to keep the dosages low, low, low. The neurologist always tells us we can go up but I noted an increase in Charlie's appetite even with a small increase in meds.

I also try not to buy too much at once. With Charlie, if it's there, he wants to eat it.

Marla said...

We have this problem too with Maizie's medications. Exercise has been our best bet. Maizie can't eat anything with artificial sweetners since they contribute to her seizures. We still struggle since she refuses so many foods. I will be checking others advice!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Mom-NOS!

I have a thirteen-year-old son with severe autism and he's been on medication since he was 8. He gained 50 lbs less than a year as a result of the medication but we've found out that more than reducing his caloric intake, physical activity was the key to bringing his weight down. Fortunately, he loves vegetables and fruits (downside: he "grazes" on lawns and gardens when we're not quick to head him off, oh my).

The "hunger" will abate eventually; in the meantime, you can only provide healthy choices that will make his new appetite less of a health concern. There are already a lot of good suggestions posted (you are loved, my friend!).

Many prayers for you and Bud,

P.S. Want to thank you too for helping out other moms like me. I was able to use the iPod idea to desensitize my son's hearing issues. Thank you, again!


Anonymous said...

Cantaloupe is one of the lowest calorie fruits (45 cal. for 1/4 melon!). Edamame (if Bud will eat them) is great for dieting - lots of fiber and protein. Any beans are great, and so is lowfat cottage cheese. Keep the fiber and protein up - it will stay with Bud longer. And exercise will not only burn off the calories, but acts as a great appetite suppressant.
My eldest is a chunky boy, and we have to really watch it with him. Getting outside helps, even in lousy weather. (Exercise + no fridge nearby.) Also, when he plays with another kid he is more likely to run around.