It's really all about patience, duh. I felt silly after our first "mealtime" when Chiquita cried for 10 minutes but then settled down and ate about half of her food. I realized I just had to have patience through the fit. If I'd given up after even 8 minutes (which felt REALLY long) we would have missed success!
We've been using an egg timer to set how long she has to sit at the car, and for me to have a hold on how long I have wait out the initial tantrum. I've served her food like creamy macaroni and cheese that she didn't want to eat, but if I waited long enough and didn't fight too much I could eventually get her to eat a few bites - like a half hour to an hour sometimes.
In preparation for our visit to the dietician I had been tracking her food intake with myfitnesspal.com, it's designed for adults to lose weight so the "goals" and things didn't really apply, but it allowed me to see how much fat, protein and vitamins she was getting in addition to the calorie intake. Her calorie intake has been slowly rising this week from around 500 calories to almost 1000 (the lower end of the recommended amount) and her protein jumped from 6 or 7 grams a day to an average in the mid-20s (17 grams is a minimum recommendation for her age). Until Friday when she wouldn't eat almost anything and dropped back down to around 500 calories, still getting 18 grams of protein. The next day she was back up to 800 calories, so I just have to remember that those days will just happen sometimes.
Here's some of the protein-packed food suggestions our dietician gave us that Chiquita has actually ate happily:
- Fruit flavored greek style yogurt. I got the Kroger brand and it's similar enough to regular yogurt that Chiquita didn't put up any fits, she loves it.
- Chocolate Pediasure and Pediasure Side Kicks in small amounts.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (if Mom has the patience to wait for the hour it takes her to eat it).
- Cheese pizza
- Chocolate black bean cupcakes
For reality's sake and so anyone else in this struggle can relate, here's all the protein-packed food I've served her that she wouldn't even take a bite of (but which I haven't given up on yet!):
- French toast
- Scrambled eggs (which she used to love)
- Cooked quinoa
- Cream cheese and jam dip (she loves jam and the color purple so I was sure this would be a hit, not so much)