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My 12 year old sister is very athletic. She eats terribly & need some help with what she can eat

by (10)
Updated October 21, 2014 at 4:36 AM
Created March 27, 2014 at 11:45 AM

She is constantly on the move, even when shes not at cheerleading practice 5 times a week she's always dancing around.

She has been off school for the past few days as she can't walk cos her muscles are hurting her. This is possibly down to a growth spurt but I think its because of her diet. She doesn't eat much vegetables & eats a lot of processed meat. What can I do or give her to help as she obviously needs protein but I don't want to give a 12 year old protein shakes?!

Thanks in advance

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4393 · March 28, 2014 at 10:33 AM

when you say "she obviously needs protein" is that because you know she is not getting enough protein

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10 · March 28, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I don't live with her so I can't change her lifestyle but I can bake her some healthy treats. Was just asking for some fun ideas I can take to her!!

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459 · March 27, 2014 at 9:05 PM

Yes, I get where you're coming from (and I wouldn't touch a hot dog with a ten foot pole either, that's probably the worst of all processed meats). Full disclosure: I don't touch dairy or processed meats. I agree with you that kids should not be drinking whey protein, I believe they should be eating protein from real food like meat, eggs and fish. But then again the marketing is strong these days....

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1197 · March 27, 2014 at 8:54 PM

I don't think this is the right forum for this question. It seems like you need to get clarity on what Paleo/Primal means before you turn to this site to ask questions

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459 · March 27, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Good point, she should see a doctor. That pain doesn't seem due to normal growth. And I agree with you, too much protein is just as unhealthy as not enough.

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26182 · March 27, 2014 at 6:25 PM

You say, "I think its because of her diet. ". Then say, you, "Don't wanna change her diet" -- which is it?

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26182 · March 27, 2014 at 6:24 PM

While I personally consume whey protein and partially disagree with your statement (eggs and bacon, sure. Hotdogs no). That is a decision that an adult, who is knowledgable about the pros and cons) should make. Having a child consume whey protein shakes is not a good idea. Children need to learn what healthy eating is and not use "hacks"

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459 · March 27, 2014 at 4:04 PM

If you want to boost her protein content, then it's not the meat you should be worried about, that has a decent amount of protein, it's the other garbage they sell in McDonald's that she should be avoiding, like fries, soda, bread sandwhiches (calling them "burgers" is ridiculous, there's barely any meat in there), nuggets, etc. Also school lunches are garbage too. I say pack her a lunch in a tupperware container with plenty of meat in it. Steak, pulled pork, chicken breasts, or any other delicious meats and some veggies on the side, like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cooked mushrooms, etc.

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1005 · March 27, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Rather than treats and snacks, invest in some meals. Fried fresh calamari is naturally high in protein.

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1005 · March 27, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Wait until she gets sick from a common cold or something, then make her an awesome chicken soup with some vegetables in it. (Tastes just like chicken.) She will get better and have some positive association with quality food and improving health. Bone broth is great for the joints / soreness.

Hmm.. a fun healthy snack.. Ideally, you want to ditch the snacks and move toward meals. Blackberries are bundles of snacking fun.

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10 · March 27, 2014 at 3:11 PM

She's 12. She eats MacDonalds & school dinners n not much else. I'm just trying to get some ideas for snacks so I can boost her protein intake so her muscles dont crumble!

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10 · March 27, 2014 at 3:11 PM

My parents eat terribly. Hence why I'm the one asking. Our family has been blessed with the 'dont have to watch what we eat to stay slim' gene so they have never saw a reason to eat well. It upsets me but i can't do anything to persuade them otherwise. I'm not trying to change her diet, just looking for some fun snack ideas where I can sneak some protein in her without her turning her nose up at it. She listens to her big sis so shouldn't be too hard.

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6 Answers

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10176 · March 28, 2014 at 2:57 PM

I'm not a low carber, and so would recommend high glycemic carbs like rice and sweet potatoes for snacks. Your sister sounds like she needs support for aerobic exercise, and that's precisely what these foods are good for. Your body only needs so much protein, and excessive amounts are an expensive way to fill a need for bulk calories. If you want to add a little protein, sushi is a good snack food.

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17103 · March 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Buy the poor girl a steak. Take her our to a paleo acceptable restaurant, or make her dinner at your house. Show her what real food is.

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26182 · March 27, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Being immobile due to muscular pain is not the result of a growth spurt. Growth tends to result in joint pain, and is not debilitating to normal use (high intensity exercise, maybe -- but certainly not walkin around at school). My guess is that she is sick with mono or a similar virus -- but she needs to be seen by a doctor.

In any case, the answer is not that she has a protein deficiency in her diet. Some protein is good... But that doesn't mean more protein is better.

As for eating fruits and vegetables, I am all for that -- but those are not the cause of her current malidy.

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459 · March 27, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Good point, she should see a doctor. That pain doesn't seem due to normal growth. And I agree with you, too much protein is just as unhealthy as not enough.

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10 · March 27, 2014 at 3:46 PM

I just want ideas on some healthy enjoyable treats for kids that would be naturally high in protein to help her muscles. Don't wanna change her diet!

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1197 · March 27, 2014 at 8:54 PM

I don't think this is the right forum for this question. It seems like you need to get clarity on what Paleo/Primal means before you turn to this site to ask questions

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26182 · March 27, 2014 at 6:25 PM

You say, "I think its because of her diet. ". Then say, you, "Don't wanna change her diet" -- which is it?

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1005 · March 27, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Rather than treats and snacks, invest in some meals. Fried fresh calamari is naturally high in protein.

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1005 · March 27, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Good luck telling someone else how to live / eat.

I hadn't realized how strong common food addictions are until I flipped my diet around and compared with others in my family.

If she isn't seeking this path, I wouldn't push it on her. A diet that requires you to prepare every meal might not pair well with a 12 year old who is always on the move. You could try persuading her with the athletic benefits, although cheerleading isn't exactly performance driven. (Maybe you could point to the skin and body composition benefits, although, at 12 it's not beneficial to be chasing after a low body fat %.)

Your best bet would be to get her parents to cook paleo, then if she doesn't have money to eat out frequently, suddenly, she's paleo.

Maybe get her some vitamin C to eat around the processed meats in her diet.

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10 · March 27, 2014 at 3:11 PM

My parents eat terribly. Hence why I'm the one asking. Our family has been blessed with the 'dont have to watch what we eat to stay slim' gene so they have never saw a reason to eat well. It upsets me but i can't do anything to persuade them otherwise. I'm not trying to change her diet, just looking for some fun snack ideas where I can sneak some protein in her without her turning her nose up at it. She listens to her big sis so shouldn't be too hard.

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459 · March 27, 2014 at 2:28 PM

I'd rather eat processed meat than (processed) protein shakes. Processed meat (bacon, sausage, ham, burger patties, etc.) are probably a lot better than the super processed discarded by-product of cheese making (whey protein) or highly refined and processed isolated soy protein. Either way, it's probably better to eat some bacon and eggs for breakfast, a burger patty for lunch and some sausage for dinner than to drink protein shakes. Just my 2 cents.

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26182 · March 27, 2014 at 6:24 PM

While I personally consume whey protein and partially disagree with your statement (eggs and bacon, sure. Hotdogs no). That is a decision that an adult, who is knowledgable about the pros and cons) should make. Having a child consume whey protein shakes is not a good idea. Children need to learn what healthy eating is and not use "hacks"

Medium avatar
10 · March 27, 2014 at 3:11 PM

She's 12. She eats MacDonalds & school dinners n not much else. I'm just trying to get some ideas for snacks so I can boost her protein intake so her muscles dont crumble!

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