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AusDad

Proud Parent
Aug 5, 2022
6
38
Our daughter is about to move to 9hrs a week training as she moves to L3 (in Australia). She's always been an extremely fussy eater, won't touch most fruit and veg but also didn't like cake, ice cream etc. Generally she'll eat plain rice and pasta, cheese etc. We've been to dieticians and psychologists etc to make sure all is ok there, but I'm trying to get her to look at the importance of nutrition to her training and progress. She's gymnastics obsessed and can't get enough of it, but at 7 years old, getting into the Nitty gritty of proteins, carbs etc. Without making it a 'diet' talk is important. Just wondering if anyone has some good resources, YouTube videos, podcasts etc that can help a young athlete learn how food is fuel and how to choose what she needs and when.
 

&bs

Coach
Judge
Club Owner / Manager
Dec 18, 2013
68
Our daughter is about to move to 9hrs a week training as she moves to L3 (in Australia). She's always been an extremely fussy eater, won't touch most fruit and veg but also didn't like cake, ice cream etc. Generally she'll eat plain rice and pasta, cheese etc. We've been to dieticians and psychologists etc to make sure all is ok there, but I'm trying to get her to look at the importance of nutrition to her training and progress. She's gymnastics obsessed and can't get enough of it, but at 7 years old, getting into the Nitty gritty of proteins, carbs etc. Without making it a 'diet' talk is important. Just wondering if anyone has some good resources, YouTube videos, podcasts etc that can help a young athlete learn how food is fuel and how to choose what she needs and when.
Search for Go, Grow, Glow food groups. you should be able to find plenty of resource. Good way to explain to kids about how different foods help their bodies in different ways.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
445
My daughter is similarly aged and incredibly... particular... about what she eats. We've always been both firm in that she needs to feed her body properly and accommodating of her needs. Typically, one food works for a while, she eats a bunch of it, and then we find the next thing. After a while it cycles through and starts again.

Over time we've found that she likes distinct things. So a plate consisting of plain boiled chicken, raw bell peppers, and a fruit of some sort is likely to get eaten. On the other hand, a complicated dish featuring similar items all mixed up will almost never get eaten.

So, my advice would be to keep it simple and flexible. It's worth noting that we do keep an eye on her weight and talk about her eating habits -- which some might find not ideal, but is necessary for our family. Her eating is much better when she directly sees the link between eating too little and losing muscle mass and strength.
 

skygirlpc

Proud Parent
Mar 3, 2016
175
My daughter is 8.5 and we regularly talk about fueling her body to help it meet her goals. We have talked about how underfueling can affect her body and mind so if she ever feels "off" during a practice then maybe she should take a few bites of her protien bar and drink some water or sports drink.

My daighter is a very picky eater so we casually talk about how different foods provide different fuel for her body encouraging good fueling foods before workouts.

I love following thegymnastrd on Instagram. She gives a lot of helpful nutrition information for gymnasts of all levels.
 

Lurker

Proud Parent
Jan 22, 2022
31
41
Our daughter is about to move to 9hrs a week training as she moves to L3 (in Australia). She's always been an extremely fussy eater, won't touch most fruit and veg but also didn't like cake, ice cream etc. Generally she'll eat plain rice and pasta, cheese etc. We've been to dieticians and psychologists etc to make sure all is ok there, but I'm trying to get her to look at the importance of nutrition to her training and progress. She's gymnastics obsessed and can't get enough of it, but at 7 years old, getting into the Nitty gritty of proteins, carbs etc. Without making it a 'diet' talk is important. Just wondering if anyone has some good resources, YouTube videos, podcasts etc that can help a young athlete learn how food is fuel and how to choose what she needs and when.
For a fun educational video ask the story bots has an episode why you can't eat dessert all of the time.
 

katrid11

Proud Parent
Sep 1, 2020
90
47
With our daughter we also talked about how 80% of our foods need to be for fuel and 20% for "fun". This got DD to start eating more healthier items for her snacks.

Ie - for gymnastics snack she now gets 4-5 baby carrots, 10-12 grapes and a "fun" part - either cheezits, pirate booty, etc. She eats the healthy part first then the fun part.

Same is now true with dinner and lunch. She is picky in that she won't eat any pasta or pizza so she now tends to a lean meat with veggies for dinner. Still wont eat something like a stew but she is fueling her body better and with right sized portions.

Oh we also talk about things like "don't eat from the bag" and "take a portion about the size of your fist" to help understand portion control. So many things are oversized these days.
 
May 30, 2022
16
29
I would highly recommend Christina Anderson, The Gymnast Nutritionist, and her Balanced Gymnast Method online course. She has great information on fueling your gymnast, while keeping the food approachable for picky eaters.
 
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Aug 3, 2022
1
40
I feel your frustration! Nutrition is tough… Have you considered having healthy food available for her and decreasing the avaibility of the unhealthy foods? You can do this gradually and quietly, no argument or stress about making sure she gets her veggies. As she matures and her training becomes more intense, she will want to support her goals with her food choices, but she is still very young and you can make these decisions a lot easier for her by offering her healthy food over junk. Watching too many videos or pushing her to adhere to a certian nutritional philosophy at such a young age might backfire into an unhealthy relationship with food down the road. Kids learn more from what we do than what we say, so if your household is eating healthy she will eventually follow suit.

Good luck and try not to worry! On a personal note, I’m watching my own tween struggle with knowing what she needs to eat for her health and for gymnastics vs what her palate would prefer and it’s really tough. A few years ago it was me teaching her that protein was the building block for muscle, but as she gets older my role is changing and it’s become more about support, “mom, how can I get more protein?” Or “mom, can we try this recipe I found on the internet?”. Don’t worry… she’ll get there too.
 
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Jul 22, 2022
90
44
While I also follow Christina Anderson and have spoken with her about a personal consultation due to kiddo having autism related food challenges, ultimately I found that I didn't need to.

1)I kept healthy foods of all types available-with no food having a "clock" or right time(ie. oh, you want cold grilled chicken for breakfast? Ok. Oh, you want boiled eggs as an evening snack? Ok.)

2)I took my kiddo shopping-she was interested in far more than I knew :) Although some of this was packaging related-so I gave in, bought the "cool packaging"-then showed her that not only could I make it too(duh, I had been for ages-you just wouldn't eat it-lol), I could even customize it for her too!! She is THE only one like this-uggggh! hehe.

3)her eating habits have changed all on their own!! My gymnast refused most meat the first 5yrs of her life. With each step up in her training, she has gravitated toward more meat, and more protein in general. Now there are days she eats little besides meat(not often, but the first time made me realize my worries were for naught and just how far she had come!)

4)in addition to everything else, I have found my kiddo has been willing to try a few things because of gym friends. A great example was hummus. She flat refused it for 9 LONG years, at home, in a restaurant, as takeout, didn't matter. Six of us love it, she wouldn't even try it. Suddenly one day she ate it, I casually said "oh, you like the hummus?" She told me she tried a gym friends hummus on break, it was yummy, so now she likes it. Hallelujah, although new one on me!!

While our particular issue was protein, I truly believe that most kids(humans/animals in general)will eat what their bodies need, when they need it. It was something mentioned to me when pregnant with my first by a nutritionist. If we allow our children to eat as much/little as they want of whatever they want, they are amazing self-regulators! It is only when we force things "you must try one bite," "you must clean your plate," "you must eat x bites of xyz," etc. that we actually do a disservice to our children and shut off these regulatory mechanisms we were built with. This can often lead to a lifetime struggle with food-mentally and physically.

I have found that to be true of all of my children(although I WAS temporarily concerned when we were combining autism & higher level gymnastics...mainly because my 19yr old son had an issue early in life due to brain injury at birth-although that resolved with occupational therapy around 7yrs, still had me watchful). All 5 of my kids have always been given a balanced meal on their plates, they can eat as much or as little of anything as they want. Oh, didn't touch the carrots/veg? OK. Oh, wanted double/triple potatoes/starch? OK. Oh, havent eaten meat/protein in 3 nights? Ok. Oh, you didnt eat much? Ok. Never a fight at meal time, never a single food discussion prompted by me(as teens/adults they've occasionally brought things up/asked questions). All 5 are amazing, healthy eaters-they request vegetables(even as little kids), they eat balanced meals, and the 2 young adults are not junk food addicts when away from mom. Heck, I have thrown away half of the last 3 batches of muffins I've purchased(over about 9/10/12mos)as they all prefer healthy breakfasts to the occasional muffins that hubs requests every now & again, or the 'strawberry cake'(I use the term loosely-it was hecka artificial) from a friends party that none of them ate beyond the first bite, same goes for most store bought sweets, they just don't want or like it!!

So my advice is to keep offering DD a balanced plate at each meal and let her keep eating as she wants to eat and she will start eating what she needs to eat-usually after 2-4x on their plate they will try new foods, 2-4x after trying one bite, they will eat full servings-same toddler rules apply ;-)

It sounds like she has needed carbs for energy and dairy to assist in growth-those were her body's biggest needs and she found a way to meet them!!

Obviously serve things separately, no child wants food that is mixed together(unless they are truly unique). HOWEVER if you want to end that? Once she is eating well enough, separate out her casserole/stew into parts on her plate(ie a pile of meat in stew gravy, a pile of carrots in stew gravy, a pile of green beans in stew gravy, etc), then eventually just separate by "group"(ie meat, veg, starch), suddenly they're fine with stew in a bowl-one of mine continued to separate on her own for a minute and still separates by the spoonful(ie one spoon/fork can only have one item at a time)-she had to be difficult and add steps :)

That's just my advice after being mom for almost 22yrs(after following advice given by a very smart doctor of nutrition from Northwestern).
 
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