Saturday, July 25, 2009

Apparently boys need a lot of protein

Ever since Judah gave up his morning nap (shortly after turning one) he has a melt down almost every morning between 9:30 and 10:00. It's ridiculously predictable. I'll be going along with my morning routine and Judah will be playing quietly and then all of a sudden, all hell breaks loose! There are tears, tantrums and whining. Oh! the whining! What to do?

And then I read Suzanne's post about diet and nutrition for boys-- specifically about a growing boy's protein needs-- and it began to dawn on me that perhaps Judah was simply not getting enough protein for breakfast in the morning. Our normal breakfast consists of yogurt (plain, low-fat, with a little honey) and fruit. Fairly low protein compared with the levels she was recommending.

So we began to experiment! The first few days Judah got an egg or other protein source as soon as I started to notice the crankiness. It worked! Amazing. The whining and tantrums would subside back into normal behavior. But that didn't necessarily mean it was about protein in particular. Perhaps he was just needing a mid-morning snack.

Next step was to see if we could forestall the meltdown completely by simply adding protein to his normal breakfast. J fixed him three scrambled eggs for breakfast. He ate them all. No mid-morning snack, no meltdown. Hmm. Persuasive.

But the high school scientist in me wanted more proof. Next day we went with the traditional yogurt and fruit. Meltdown began promptly at 10:00. I force-fed him goldfish and cheezits for 45 minutes, attempted to distract him, and then tried to feed him lunch a little early-- which he emphatically refused, demanding to be put to bed. For a nap. Forty-five minutes early. That is unheard of.

That was yesterday.

Today he ate two pancakes and four scrambled eggs for breakfast. No meltdown. Ate a small lunch (beans, carrots, applesauce) and went straight to sleep, no fussing, no whining. He has now been sleeping for two and a half hours.

I am a believer. We will need to buy some chickens.



9 comments:

Heather said...

Wow, very interesting. May have to test that theory here. Breakfast is usually a bit of wheat cereal. Could be challenging to get more in him though.

Susannah Forshey said...

Wow, that is compelling! I should try it on Ben. :D

Herb of Grace said...

Heather, some mornings I have to wait till he does start to crash-- he gets bored with eating quickly when he first wakes up. After all, he's been asleep for 12 hours! There are things to do and places to go! No time for eating... So I'll just wait till around 9:30 or 10 on those mornings and then strap him back in the chair and serve up some eggs.

Dawn Farias said...

I have a friend with two boys that also swears by protein with every meal and snack.

septembermom said...

Really interesting. I think that may help me with my boys. Thanks for the info!

Tabitha said...

Very interesting!! I will have to try it with Jude too! I'll be scrambling some eggs for breakfast tomorrow. :)

Herb of Grace said...

SepMom and Tabitha, I really hope you guys do try it out! Could you email or comment and let me know how it went? I'm eager to test this theory...

Hosanna said...

Lis, I don't think this is just for boys..... I know just how Judah feels! I am the same way. I started with this as a teenager. My mom was disturbed by my headaches, crankyness, being positively ill....as I dislike breakfast foods, I never ate any.
Then, mom started encouraging me to eat something for breakfast like peanut butter, cheese, egg salad, even dinner leftovers.
To this day, if I don't eat protein in the morning, and have some caffine, I am miserable and ill by noon. I have meltdowns, too; just the big-girl variety. I wonder what makes certain people this way - adult or toddler?

Gramoni said...

I wonder if this treatment might do something for kids who can't settle down to sleep as well as tantrum-throwers and whiners. Also, I know from experioence that carbs in the morning bring about abrupt sugar lows later in the morning. As you know, low blood sugar can cause depression as well as turn even mature adults into out-of-control animals.