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growth spurts, very tall kids


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tl;dr - How can I support a very tall, active pre-teen, who is going through yet another growth spurt, to make sure that he's getting the nutrients/vitamins he needs for his body and his brain?

DS12 has always been in the 90-95th percentile in height, but in the last 18 months he has literally been off the charts. He's grown an inch and a half in the last 3 months alone! What would you recommend, besides plenty of sleep and plenty of good foods, to make sure he has what he needs to grow and thrive? Any recommendations would be helpful!

He takes a daily multivitamin, omega-3, and D. He goes up to bed at 8:30, but can stay up to read, so I would guess that he normally gets 10 hours of sleep each night. He plays soccer in the spring, summer is cross country training (running, strength training, stretching), fall is soccer, and winter is basketball. I'm going to put him in swim one day a week this fall/winter. He had PANDAS as a young child and is doing much, much better, but can still have issues with anxiety and OCD-type behaviors when sick and/or stressed physically. He's allergic to eggs (can have them in baked goods, but no hard boiled/scrambled/mayo/etc) and allergic to tree nuts (he eats peanut butter). He cannot tolerate poultry of any kind (it makes him vomit).

DS25 was always at the opposite end of the growth chart - he was literally below the 5th percentile until he was a teenager. (DS12 is about to be taller than DS25!) So, I don't really have experience feeding a boy who is growing so much so fast...

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My son devoured burritos at that age. Refried beans with or without meat and cheese. I kept a bowl of ingredients in the fridge and he made them at will. Quick, easy, filling and full of nutrients. We went through them so fast that I didn't need to freeze them at that age, but now I do make ahead and freeze them for convenience. 

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1 minute ago, Tap said:

My son devoured burritos at that age. Refried beans with or without meat and cheese. I kept a bowl of ingredients in the fridge and he made them at will. Quick, easy, filling and full of nutrients. We went through them so fast that I didn't need to freeze them at that age, but now I do make ahead and freeze them for convenience. 

Oh! DS12 likes the frozen steak, bean, and cheese burritos from the store, but they are expensive! I can probably set up a container of ingredients so he can make these himself. Thanks!

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My dd22 has always been a nibbler. She eats 3 solid snacks daily, on top of light meals. 

For her it was sliced apples, cheese cubes, crackers, cubed meats (predominately pepper turkey or ham), toast triangles, various fruits (kiwi, grapes, berries, cuties etc), nuts, raw veggies (broccoli. peppers, mini carrots etc). dried fruits, trail mix and  chips/salsa. I am sure there were more, but those are what is on the top of my head. basically a charcuterie board. HAHA. Sandwiches cuts in to quarters were almost always her lunch. She wouldn't come to the kitchen hungry like her brother,  but I just would show up when she was studying and drop off a plate of snacks.

If either of my kids weight dropped to low (we are naturally thin people), I made nightly milk shakes from high quality ice cream. After a few weeks of shakes, their weight climbed happily 🙂 I also make a ton of smoothies with heavy coconut cream, fruits, greens and a bit of veggies. 

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Kids hit their growth spurts at different ages, so a girl that is 6' at 12, may be done.  (childhood classmate).  more telling is what their height was like at 18 - 24 mos.  (supposed to be about double that.)

1ds got his growth early. It was great in middle school, as when I was chaperoning - I could spot him in a large group of middle schoolers as he was 1/2 a head taller than 90% of the kids. 

2ds hit his spurt later, but he's an inch taller.  (I have a favorite picture of him at 10 between 1ds and 2dd. They were pretty much both done growing, and he only came up to their shoulders.  He's now taller than both of them.)

Sports/body fat can affect it too.  I really think 2dd and her "extra skinny" low body fat, kept her growing longer, and she did gymnastics for three years in late adolescence.  She was supposed to be around 5' 7" by doubling her 2yo height.  She's 5' 11". 

 

In addition to a good multi, the good omega, and the d3 - I would make sure he get's plenty of quality protein.  Protein will also fill him up.

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My older kid is similar, and my younger kid consistently tracks at like 99th%ile but hasn’t started puberty.

We don’t really do snacks any more.  Before puberty we were very into Ellyn Satter who advocates for scheduled sit down snacks, which has now morphed into more meals.  So, for example, my kids might finish school and have two chicken sandwiches with cheese, some carrots and guacamole, a glass of milk, a banana and a brownie. Basically they just eat 6 full meals a day.

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Oldest DS struggled with calories. He had evening martial arts and would eat a giant full meal a bit before, another giant full dinner after, and then right before bed a bowl (yes, a bowl 1/2 full) of peanut butter mixed seeds, raisens, coconut, and chocolate chips. Peanut butter is super high fat and a ton of calories. They are the cheapest calories I can think of.  If he didn't do so, he would wake up hungry about 3-4 am.  When he hit 6'4" he was only 155lbs. Now that he is an adult it is much easier to maintain a healthy weight. He also has less time for exercising constantly.

DS 2 is 6'3" last I checked and about 150. He does cross country running and skiing and trains hours both running and weight lifting. He has to eat constantly to maintain sugar levels but the other thing that gets him is his iron. It isn't extreme so we just increased red meat (he already ate lots of greens) and added a Flintstone vitamins. I hope to check his iron at his next physical.  I found it helpful when he was doing morning training to skip breakfast and go for full out hamburger meal. 

 

Anyway, just don't restrict food if we they are really active and look for signs or talk to doctor if there is symptoms of any kind. 

Edited by frogger
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When mine went through his growth spurt he grew 10 inches in 9 months and went up 4 shoe sizes.  I don't think you need to do anything special in terms of nutrition just make sure you have a LOT of whatever healthy foods he eats.  My DS loved oatmeal.  He'd make a pot every night as a bedtime snack.  4 cups of dry oatmeal, 8 cups of water and some dried or fresh fruit.  And he'd eat it all every single night.  Sometimes he'd wake during the night from hunger and make another pot.  If he were asking for chips or candy or soda, I'd limit it but fruits, veggies, dairy, grains are all fair game.  I'd make sure he has plenty of protein but my budget never allowed fair game on meat. 

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I have one ds who is 6’7” and one that is 6’4”. I think they are done growing. I don’t think they have measured their height this year yet. But I am 6’ and dh is 6’1”.   Having access to healthy food choices is really all I did.  

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We’re in the thick of it once again! I agree with everything that’s already been said. I am one to push protein to grow all those new cells, and just about anything else to go along with it. Making the healthier options easily accessible/quick made mine less likely to grab junkier stuff, but that was still an option, too.

”Have you had some protein” has probably come out of my mouth as much, if not more than “Did you brush your teeth” ever did, and the last kid hasn’t even started the puberty growth yet.

(Kid number 1 had several years of very large height jumps, including 6” in under a year. The girls weren’t AS dramatic, but still significant. And #4 has needed new shoes 3 times in the past year. Probably 4, if not 5, but we didn’t really know because we weren’t going anywhere requiring real shoes!)

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7 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

My older kid is similar, and my younger kid consistently tracks at like 99th%ile but hasn’t started puberty.

We don’t really do snacks any more.  Before puberty we were very into Ellyn Satter who advocates for scheduled sit down snacks, which has now morphed into more meals.  So, for example, my kids might finish school and have two chicken sandwiches with cheese, some carrots and guacamole, a glass of milk, a banana and a brownie. Basically they just eat 6 full meals a day.

We don't really do snacks here either. And I'm currently reading two of Satter's books!

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7 hours ago, history-fan said:

I have one ds who is 6’7” and one that is 6’4”. I think they are done growing. I don’t think they have measured their height this year yet. But I am 6’ and dh is 6’1”.   Having access to healthy food choices is really all I did.  

Same here - we're a tall family. My two boys are 6'4" and my dd is 6'. Our family eats very healthy and we always have plenty of food on hand, but it never occurred to me to do anything beyond that. 

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This is new territory for me. We are not tall people--just average. I'm 5'6 & DH is 5'10". But my just-turned 14 yr old is 5'10" already & I was told by 2 medical professionals that he's far from done growing (2" in the first 5 months of this year, 7" in the year and a half prior to that). 

I haven't done anything different for him than with my dds when they were growth spurting but each one of those were different (and they are all 5'7" and shorter). So, I'm following along.

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15 minutes ago, history-fan said:

Sometimes stretch marks happen with rapid growth.

 

Ds's Dr recommended Mederma lotion, which is OTC. It isn't magic, but ds thinks it has helped. He got a bunch the year he grew 9 inches.

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12 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

My oldest three all grew about a foot between 12-13. The majority of their height happened then.

Oh that's interesting. I wondered why it's so hard to find size 18 and I remembered this cryptic comment from someone here about her ds' size changing in a MONTH. And dh wonders why I refuse to buy more than 4 pairs of pants for ds for a size right now, lol.

39 minutes ago, history-fan said:

Sometimes stretch marks happen with rapid growth.

 

Ew. Well I have my ds on flax oil and borage oil daily anyway. I assume he's got nicely lubricated whatevers.

11 hours ago, cjzimmer1 said:

4 cups of dry oatmeal, 8 cups of water and some dried or fresh fruit.

Whoa, that's astonishing!!! Was he eating like that the rest of the day too?

11 hours ago, frogger said:

then right before bed a bowl (yes, a bowl 1/2 full) of peanut butter mixed seeds, raisens, coconut, and chocolate chips. Peanut butter is super high fat and a ton of calories.

You're onto something there. I tried the bean burrito with guacamole thing and ds lost weight. Dh started him on pbutter on toast (bread is a dispensation here, not normal) and he finally started going up. His weight is now like 10th percentile and his height 95th, sigh. He's got an appliance in his mouth so I'm not sure the bird mixture there is a good plan. However the pbutter on toast worked. Maybe I can leave the jar out and get a routine going. Sometimes he's hungry and self advocate, sigh.

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

 

Whoa, that's astonishing!!! Was he eating like that the rest of the day too?

 

Yep.  He used 10 inch dinner plates.  4 plates  heaping full for lunch, 4 plates heaping full for supper, very large late snack and then still sometimes needing a middle of the night refueling, even sleeping was hard work. No breakfast cause he didn't ever wake up before 10. Funny story, one night he was super hungry and I was out of oatmeal.  Literally the only prepared food in the fridge was a bowl of mushroom risotto (7 cup bowl packed full to be exact).  Kiddo HATES mushrooms with a passion.  I told him I'm sorry that was all I had (it was midnight and I was going to bed and not about to start cooking).  He said fine, took it and ate the WHOLE thing.  I asked him how it was.  His response "It's was terrible but I was so hungry I ate it anyway".  Now that's true hunger eating 7 cups of a food you hate. I can't even eat 7 cups of food I do like at one time.

Edited by cjzimmer1
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DS is a 6'7" athlete and his favorite high-calorie/high-protein post-practice snack is a smoothie with 2 frozen bananas, 1/4 cup of peanut butter, 2 heaping scoops of Orgain Organic Protein Powder in Chocolate Fudge, and 1.5 cups of Oatly Barista oat milk (which is higher in fat and calories than most plant milks). That works out to around 45 grams of protein and 1000 calories. 

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