Wed, 15 Jan 2003

Give your kids snacks between meals

Dear Dr Donya,

My husband and I are, I would say, average in height and weight. Just to give you an idea, I am 5 feet 4 inches in height and I weigh 60 kilograms and my husband is 5 feet and eight inches in height and weighs 75kgs. My son is three years old.

A typical meal of my son is as follows:

* Breakfast (9 a.m.): One and a half slices of white bread with butter and peanut butter, plus fruit juice or flavored milk.

* Lunch (12:30 p.m.) : Rice with one type of meat, egg, pulses and vegetables. Sometimes a chocolate or a sweet for dessert. Then at 3 p.m., I give him a bottle of Pediasure milk.

* Dinner (6:30 p.m.): Spaghetti with meat sauce or grilled chicken and bread. At 8:30 p.m., another bottle of Pediasure milk.

He has almost no snacks between meals and he eats most of the meal, although he needs to be distracted with TV or reading. His birth weight was 3.5 kgs but he had a very severe allergy to cows milk in the first year of his life. He is able to eat dairy products like cheese, ice cream, and yogurt but sometimes vomits as soon as he consumes it. But I have persisted with feeding him these items.

Also on another matter. He was having frequent nosebleeds and his doctor recommended that he be given extra calcium as the nose bleeds are due to weak cartilage in his nose. Do you agree with this?

A blood test was carried out for thrombosis and was negative. No particular event triggers these nose bleeds but they have reduced since he started on the CDR. Thank you very much for your interest.

-- Robin

Dear Robin,

Sorry for the very late answer. Looking at your son's meals and activity including his growth, he is underweight for a three- year-old boy but his height is within the normal range.

The food that he has each day sounds great. I think you only need to give him more food for breakfast if he can take it and also a snack between breakfast and lunch because he studies and plays. White bread can be changed to wheat or rye or oatmeal, which has more nutritional value.

It is quite important that he has a snack between meals because he probably does not eat a lot in each meal.

Fruit is very good for a snack (it is not too heavy), also kids love cold green vegetables; cucumber, carrot. Eating habits depend on parents too, if parents eat vegetables children usually like to eat too. What do you and your husband eat?

Taking him outside to join other kids can be a good stimulus. Nosebleeds are quite common in children, if your son takes CDR and has no more nosebleeds, there is no harm to continue.

-- Dr. Donya