What kids really eat

The previous part of the chapter listed ideas for increasing calories and making food more appealing. What follows are accounts of what several kids really ate while on chemotherapy. You'll notice how varied the list is, so experiment to see what your child finds palatable. Remember also that children's tastes and aversions may change as time passes while on treatment.

Judd craved chicken chow mein and fried rice takeout from a Chinese restaurant. He also loved SpaghettiOs and hot dogs.

I let Preston eat whatever tasted good to him, which was usually lots of potatoes and eggs. He liked spicy food (especially Mexican) while on prednisone.

Katy typically only ate one food for days or weeks at a stretch. One time, she ate pesto sauce (made from olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and basil leaves) on pasta every meal for weeks. She also went through a spicy barbecue sauce phase, in which she wouldn't eat any food unless it was completely immersed in sauce. She ate no fruits, vegetables (except potatoes), or meat for the entire period of treatment. She ate mostly cereal and beans when she was feeling well, and mostly pureed baby food when she was really sick.

In the beginning when Meagan lost so much weight, we snuck Polycose (a powdered nutritional supplement) into everything. She finally got stuck on cans of mixed nuts. They are high calorie and were instrumental in putting back on the weight. She also craved capers and would eat them by the tablespoonful.

All Brent asks for are "peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut in fours, no crusts, with Fritos." The only fruit he has eaten for three years is an occasional banana, and he eats no vegetables. He always ate everything before his diagnosis at age 6 .

The doctor told me to keep Kim on a low-salt, low-folic-acid diet. She wouldn't eat anything, so he eventually said he didn't care what she ate, as long as she ate. She liked SpaghettiOs, Chick-fil-A nuggets, Chick-fil-A soup, and McDonald's sausage and pancakes.

All that Carl ate was dry cereal, dry waffles, oatmeal, and bacon. He ate no other meat or vegetables throughout treatment, but did drink milk. I thought that he would never be healthy, but he's 15 now (diagnosed when 2), eats little junk food, never gets sick, and looks great.

While Shawn was on prednisone I felt like I could never get out of the kitchen because he ate nonstop. The rest of the time he ate almost nothing. He survived on bagels, dry cereal, french fries, popcorn, and burritos.

Stephan's appetite went back to normal on maintenance. But after he relapsed and had cranial and spinal radiation, things have never been the same. He only wants junk food such as hot dogs and chicken nuggets. Most meats make him sick, and he's having problems with smells making food unappetizing.

John (14 months old) craved creamed corn and pork and beans. I would just sit him on a potty chair at the table and let him eat, and it would go in one end and out the other. When on prednisone, he would sit at the table almost all day. He also drank a gallon of apple juice a day. He rarely eats meat to this day (two years off treatment).

On prednisone, Rachel ate only hot dogs, bologna, scrambled eggs with cheese, and potato chips. She would eat until she literally threw up. Now, two years off treatment, she is gradually expanding her repertoire. She only drinks milk (no water, juice, or soda), eats no sweets, and prefers all salty foods. I really have no idea whether it is learned behavior or a result of the cancer treatment.

I guess Carrie Beth is the exception that proves the rule. She is on maintenance and has an excellent appetite. She eats fruits, vegetables, and lots of meat.

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Confident Kids

Confident Kids

Although nobody gets a parenting manual or bible in the delivery room, it is our duty as parents to try to make our kids as well rounded, happy and confident as possible. It is a lot easier to bring up great kids than it is to try and fix problems caused by bad parenting, when our kids have become adults. Our children are all individuals - they are not our property but people in their own right.

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