Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nutrition on a restricted diet

Getting my daughter to eat enough food to get the calories and nutrients she needs is actually pretty tough right now. She suffers from pain every time she eats anything, and the more she eats, the worse the pain, which she naturally tries to avoid. Every vitamin and supplement we've tried caused even more pain or gave her a reaction so we don't have reliable vitamins she can have, either.

The doctors still don't know what is causing this, so it continues. At this point, she eats in small amounts a lot of the time, she has almost no sensation of hunger unless she's hardly eaten during the day, and she has zero motivation to eat - as far as she's concerned - unless she gets something tangible out of it, like good taste.

Unfortunately, she doesn't think this type of food tastes good.
I still struggle with finding a large enough variety of dishes that taste good to her which also have the vitamins and nutrients she needs. My son, he's just more the average 'I don't like my veggies right now' kid, although much less picky than I was as a child. Both of them are, really.

In any case, with the struggle to keep my daughter's weight up and get her enough nutrition, my husband and I have to pay a lot more attention to what the kids are eating and how many calories, carbs, protein, vitamins, and such they are getting. We have the help of a nutritionist, but honestly, on a day to day basis, a lot of it is left up to the parents so there's a lot of fiddling we have to work through ourselves.

I know a lot of others on restricted diets go through the same thing. How do we get enough calcium if we don't have dairy? How much protein do we need to eat? How do we get enough carbs if we can't have grains? 

For others who might be in the same boat, here's some information that might help you figure out the answers:

Table for Recommended Daily Intake for vitamins, minerals, macronutrients - put out by the USDA in 2010, updated ever 5 years, this lists all their recommendations. Links to all their DRI tables can be found here. has numerous articles with the 'top ten' lists of foods highest in a particular vitamin or mineral, such as iron, vitamins A and D, B vitamins, zinc, and so on.

- 25 good non-dairy sources of calcium are on this site. They are vegan sources, but that's typically the best source for finding information on not only non-dairy sources of calcium.

- A good explanation of incomplete protein is found on this site. When you are grain free, this can be a bit trickier than normal, in my opinion. 

- I discuss a bit about incomplete protein as well, here.

- Interesting discussion of the food pyramid with a link to an altered food pyramid that may be of use for those on a grain free diet. 

- small chart listing calories for protein, fat, etc..

I'll be having information about grain free and gluten free carb sources later on. 

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