We're just starting out and it's so hard to get my daughter to eat! Is it alright to hide butter in her food and that kind of thing?
Angela Celio Doyle, PhD responds:
We don’t recommend lying or hiding foods and it is important to keep all foods in your daughter’s diet as you are refeeding her.In the early part of treatment, you can expect that your daughter will resist some of the foods that you are feeding her, particularly feared foods like butter, oil, sweets, or other high calorie foods.But these are the very foods that will help your child to return to health.The idea is not to hide the food, but rather to prepare food so that it contains the nutrition that your daughter needs at this critical time.This may mean replacing skim milk with whole milk, adding butter to pasta sauces or sandwiches, or using coconut milk when making smoothies.The additional calories are more important than sticking exactly to the recipe as it’s written or appeasing the eating disorder by avoiding these helpful foods.
If your child asks you what is in the food she is eating, do not feel compelled to discuss this with her.Healthy kids do not demand to know exactly what is in the foods that they are eating, and thinking of this can help to remind you that it is the eating disorder that is driving your daughter’s questions.Some parents will respond by saying, “this food has what your body needs right now,” rather than getting into details of the ingredients or otherwise being pulled into a debate about the food.Being consistent with this response and remaining calm during your child’s questioning will help. Helpful high-calorie recipes can be found on this website by clicking here.