To think teacher should ask for food diary from year 5

(153 Posts)
lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 23-Apr-13 17:44:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 23-Apr-13 17:48:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wishwehadgoneabroad Tue 23-Apr-13 17:53:57

Very insensitive of the teacher to be doing this topic now, if a child has just died of an eating disorder. She should have changed her planning to do something else.

This topic is important imo but time/place etc.

It's not about monitoring kids' food. The idea of them keeping a diary is so they can assess whether the %'s of carbs, proteins, fats etc is in line with a healthy diet.

But I do thing the teacher is wrong to do this at such a sad time.

Why would you daughter's diet be limited because of her SN? Genuinely curious so I can be aware...

Bobyan Tue 23-Apr-13 17:54:26

You might find that she's willing to expand the variety of foods she eats but looking at what she is eating.

lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 23-Apr-13 17:55:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

popperdoodles Tue 23-Apr-13 17:56:20

my ds in yr 5 is also learning about healthy diets at school at the moment. He is skinny as a rake and is suddenly interested in how much sugar and fat things contain. I see your point about a food diary can remember having to do one at secondary for food tech. I just lied on it!

I doubt the teacher will read and analyse them but could just as easily use sample ones. Connecting the activities with their own eating habits is going to have more meaningful in terms of learning though.

aldiwhore Tue 23-Apr-13 17:56:45

On the face of it it seems quite a good idea, a simple task, record what you eat...

But actually I agree with you and I don't think YABU at all.

All kinds of children attend school, all kinds of individuals, not everything needs to be related to everyday life to be understood, or to understand the concept of it.

I think it's lazy learning. If you only ever get taught things in relation to your own life, you're not really learning at all, you're not seeing the bigger picture. You already know what you do.

I completely agree with teaching the big picture and using links with own experience to gain that 'penny drop' moment, but with good teaching the penny drops anyway usually.

Eating habits, obesity paranoia, eating disorders, food food food... we're so obsessed with it, it causes so many people so much trouble, all the choice we have has created a massive problem not only in that we eat too much, but don't eat enough of the right things, find food overwhelming, and obsess about what society thinks is not just a healthy size but a desireable one (and actually those sizes are very different) that to creat a homework topic on it isn't the wisest move.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 23-Apr-13 17:56:45

YANBU to refuse. I would. It's a very personal thing! I refused a homework task for my DD who was 7 at the time...the teacher wanted her to write down our occupations and the size of our home! I wrote a short note about privacy.

Kiriwawa Tue 23-Apr-13 17:58:14

Absolutely agree. This is a prime age for EDs, especially for girls. The timing is massively insensitive and I would speak to the teacher about it.

I agree that drafting a healthy eating food plan would be much better homework

Anthracite Tue 23-Apr-13 17:59:40

I doubt the teacher is monitoring her intake. Her objective will be for your DD to identify different food groups and understand what makes a balanced diet.

If your DD is a faddy eater (not physically medically restricted), surely it is even more important for her to appreciate good nutrition. If you are giving her a good diet and supervising her eating, what does she need to worry about?

SpanishFly Tue 23-Apr-13 18:01:47

i'd hate this too. In P1 my son had to do this for a week, and it happened to be his dad's bday week, ie Dominos pizza on a tuesday, chinese food on wednesday when our friends were over, etc etc.
I also hate that they occasionally ask for consent to weigh and measure them. I'd never consent to this. Ridiculous.

DamnBamboo Tue 23-Apr-13 18:02:16

What is wrong with explaining the building blocks of food, within the context of a healthy diet?

I can't believe some of things people complain about on here.

As long as no child is ridiculed/held up for example with their permission in class, what is the problem?

DamnBamboo Tue 23-Apr-13 18:03:12

I never ceased to be amazed by the things that offend people.

Why is an occupation secret?

Why does the size of your home matter?


Iggi101 Tue 23-Apr-13 18:06:11

"It happened to be his dad's birthday week " - there's a whole other thread in that line! wink

Kiriwawa Tue 23-Apr-13 18:09:08

How big is your house bamboo? What do you for a living? What does your partner do?

Do share

MammaTJ Tue 23-Apr-13 18:10:29

On the face of it, YABU but in the context of a death from an eating disorder recently and your child having Autism, it is an awful thing to do.

Anyone calling the child faddy, please note, it is a well known part of autism and calling them faddy is on a par with saying a child with ADHD needs a good hiding. Ignorant and wrong.

DamnBamboo Tue 23-Apr-13 18:10:55

My current house is large, I am a medic and my husband works in heavy engineering.

Not hard is it?

And you?

DamnBamboo Tue 23-Apr-13 18:13:21

And when I lived in a small semi and was a SAHM, I would still have answered those questions.

Waferthinmint Tue 23-Apr-13 18:13:47

I don't understand why not to ask for a food diary.

I ask for a diary of a typical day to draw comparisons with a medieval monks day - time spend working , playing etc.

Wouldnt occur to me I'm offensive

aldiwhore Tue 23-Apr-13 18:14:05

So fucking well teach the building blocks of food with the context of a healthy diet! Why is it necessary to request a food diary off every individual in the class? Do the building blocks vary depending on who's eating what?

Just TEACH... I don't want anyone knowing anything about myself or my family that I don't offer freely. It's my life, my privacy, and we live in an age of judgey mcjudgeypants at every bloody corner of life.


This isn't a dig at teachers in general, but teaching methods.

How do you teach the universe to each and every individual? Do you to poiint at the sky and say "Right, up there is.... etc etc " or do you you send pupils home with a piece of paper to plot their place in the galaxy at any given moment?

Science is BRILLIANT (as is milk) you don't need to personalise it completely... ask the pupils to use their brain and plot what they feel a healthy balanced diet would be for a week. That will get them thinking a lot more and make them worry a lot less.

aldiwhore Tue 23-Apr-13 18:16:21

Why can't you just tell your pupils what a typical medieval monks day entailed and then ask them to write an account of how their day would differ from now if they live in that age?

Surely that would exercise the muscles of the head a little more than writing "Well the monk prayed and I went on my xbox".

Waferthinmint Tue 23-Apr-13 18:17:04

Coz they don't know how it differs if they haven't thought about their day first.

Waferthinmint Tue 23-Apr-13 18:17:38

Or using your method.
Still comparing day!

aldiwhore Tue 23-Apr-13 18:18:00

How big is your house? What do you for a living? What does your partner do?

Not bloody measured it. I work. None of your bloody business. smile

You are strangers after all.

Waferthinmint Tue 23-Apr-13 18:18:37

"I went on x-box"

Not really sure what point you were trying to make

DamnBamboo Tue 23-Apr-13 18:18:46

How dare teachers get children to think about what's in their diet and what it actually is, in terms of nutrients they're eating.

God forbid.

zipzap Tue 23-Apr-13 18:21:08

Maybe they have got things a bit screwed and have been shockedby the tragic death and so are doing this right now while everybody is hyperaware of the horrendous consequences of eating badly.

Not saying that I agree with this approach - just I can see that some people might think it is a good time to do this.

And unfortunately with all these things, so much depends on the actual teacher; some could do it really well and help it to be a fantastic learning experience that also acts as counselling and a way of dealing with things together. But with a bad teacher - could open up a whole heap of trouble...

aldiwhore Tue 23-Apr-13 18:21:17

Wafer. People aren't THAT thick surely?

The French eat cheese.

Can you really not comprehend that until you've thought about all the cheese you've eaten and how it differs? Really?

The French eat cheese, these types, how do you think they differ to English cheese?

No need for homework, no need for a long process of recording information. Discussion happens. "Do they eat Dairylea?" No, they eat Brie, and look I've brought some for you to try... how does that differ?

One lesson, no homework. Or enforcing teens to look at the misery of their own lives, they are well aware of it already.

aldiwhore Tue 23-Apr-13 18:23:29

Teach a healthy diet, get the students to draft their own ideas of what they think a healthy diet consists of, discuss it in class.

Students will automatically compare it to their own diets without having to disclose any information to anyone.

zzzzz Tue 23-Apr-13 18:24:00

I agree this I unhelpful at best.

My dd did the whole healthy eating and food diary thing in year two, 3 years later IT IS STILL AN ISSUE.

She was slim before and became very very skinny. She worries about fat content, mostly. I cook 90% of our meals from scratch and she had a good diet. We buy sweets about once a month if that and she worries about the three or four she eats! I have no idea what was said I those classes, bu if I had known the impact I would have withdrawn her.

ihearsounds Tue 23-Apr-13 18:28:31

Schools really cannot win.
On one side, people whinge because schools are not doing enough to help tackle obesity. That diets are shite because schools do sfa to help educate about healthy diets.
On the other side, the school try and help educate, and they get moaned at.

Have you asked the teacher why they want the diary? Have you asked them why they cannot do a fictitious diary, or if they have already done one, and would like the children to compare various diaries.

Zzzzz- that's awful! I came on to say that there's no harm, but thinking it through (as teachers should) the potential for causing more food related issues is huge. I have a niece who is 14 and anorexic, I have always attributed this to friends influence, and pressure/bad family life, I hate to think the school could have made her feel worse in all this sad
We are as a society obsessed with food. It can't bode well.

Smartiepants79 Tue 23-Apr-13 18:30:34

Hah! damnbamboo I was thinking exactly the same.
Sometimes seems so much stress and angst.
I think the point of the food diary is to get each child to think about their own eating habits, what's good what they need to think about changing.
If you've ever watched programmes like secret eaters you will know how easy it is to be blissfully unaware of what you consume.

echt Tue 23-Apr-13 18:31:07

Poor teacher, having to teach the things she's been told she must teach. There's always an aspect of making work relevant which can impinge on home circumstances, and not everything can be anticipated. Why doesn't the OP have a quiet word with teacher?

By the way, if the child is stressing about water, possibly she's been told that utter bollocks about drinking a gazillion litres a day, in which case, definitely have words.

MiaowTheCat Tue 23-Apr-13 18:31:37

If it's becoming an issue for her - turn it round - get her to keep a food diary of YOU for the day instead... all the teacher is likely wanting is for them to have it written down to use in a class task going through what they've eaten that is protein/carbs/fat etc - trying to make it relevant to them - but if it's causing an issue either send a note in explaining why and likely she'll get paired up with another child to look at that child's food diary (cos there's no way 100% of the class will ever have done the task), or there'll be a generic made up one to look at, or she could look at one she's done for you - that way she's still done the homework but it's not been her getting herself hung up about the food she eats.

For what it's worth I thought the whole healthy eating thing had gone a bit to far when I got landed with a morning's supply cover to do getting the kids to write poems about the amazing taste of apples (try getting them enthused enough to spin THAT out for an entire morning - without any apples to even use as a prop to promote some enthusiasm).

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 23-Apr-13 18:33:31

I doubt the teacher is setting this talk to monitor your DC's eating habits. (I'm sure he/she has better things to do).
Has your DC been looking at food groups, healthy eating as part of a topic? If so, I have no doubt that the DC are being asked to look at their food intake over the week so that they can see for themselves if they are eating a balanced diet containing different food groups.
I really don't see the problem. Your DC is Autistic, many autistic DC take things literally. Further explanation, reassurance takes extra effort but the school avoiding the topic? I don't think so.

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 23-Apr-13 18:34:08

Excellent idea Miaow

Smartiepants79 Tue 23-Apr-13 18:36:03

In a class of 30 kids lessons cannot be individually tailored to deal with every possible issue/phobia/disorder that MAY exist/come into being due to the subject covered in the lesson.
The lessons are based on a curriculum which is flawed but designed to give the majority of children a basic but broad education.
If you want such individual attention and learning then home education is really the only answer.

Kiriwawa Tue 23-Apr-13 18:39:02

My DS has SN. He takes the healthy eating messages from school very seriously. He will no longer eat chocolate or ice cream or drink juice because those are 'unhealthy'.

He is on the 90th centile for height and on the 5th for weight. A healthy eating diary would be an absolute bloody disaster for him.

And FWIW I don't think it's the school's responsibility to teach healthy eating - it's a very blunt instrument.

DamnBamboo Tue 23-Apr-13 18:42:55

The school should not be calling those things unhealthy. Everything should be about a balanced diet.

AmberLeaf Tue 23-Apr-13 18:45:55

OP YANBU and I totally see where you are coming from.

In a class of 30 kids lessons cannot be individually tailored to deal with every possible issue/phobia/disorder that MAY exist/come into being due to the subject covered in the lesson

Why the emphasis on MAY? and actually lessons can be individually tailored and they often are for various reasons. sure, it takes more effort and work, but that if a child with SNs is in a mainstream school, then tailoring things to their needs and ability is all part of inclusion.

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 23-Apr-13 18:46:02

What smartie said ^

Smartiepants79 Tue 23-Apr-13 18:54:29

I emphasised the word may as it can sometimes be the case that an issue does not present itself til after the topic has been covered.
As was the case for someone earlier in the thread.

insanityscratching Tue 23-Apr-13 18:55:05

Dd did this she has autism too. Her teacher warned me in advance because she is aware dd has issues with food because she doesn't eat the sweets or chocolate when they are given out for birthdays. She asked her class to fill in the diary with what the family ate. Dd filled in what I cooked rather than which bits of each meal she ate.No one would know whether you did the same or whether she made it up instead.

echt Tue 23-Apr-13 18:57:20

Unless a preoccupation with food is on the student's IEP, the teacher won't know about it. On my school's current system, all issues are flagged up on the roll for every class. Most classes have just about all children with a red flag next to their name. Most of the time it says stuff like "gets travel sick". We are supposed to check for changes regularly, and for every cover lesson. For me that's 125 children, for someone teaching, say Music, that would be 200.

Not saying it shouldn't be done, but not easy to tailor the curriculum or approaches to it as is suggested here.

Mumof3men Tue 23-Apr-13 18:57:22

A Primary school child died from an eating disorder????????? Surely that would have been in the paper/on the news?

Smartiepants79 Tue 23-Apr-13 18:58:23

I teach primary children and in my experience they cannot recall accurately what thy did/ate the day before so if they need that knowledge to discuss/compare etc. it needs to have been recorded.

AmberLeaf Tue 23-Apr-13 19:02:01

^I emphasised the word may as it can sometimes be the case that an issue does not present itself til after the topic has been covered.
As was the case for someone earlier in the thread^

No, you said; disorder that MAY exist disorder, not issue.

Come on now, don't backtrack!

AmberLeaf Tue 23-Apr-13 19:03:44

If you want such individual attention and learning then home education is really the only answer

Missed that bit and you're a teacher?

What does inclusion mean to you?

Willowisp Tue 23-Apr-13 19:04:27

I think I'd be interested it what the teachers are teaching as 'healthy' food.

After they provided me with their agenda, i'd decide whether I agreed & only then, let my DD's take part in the lesson.

Don't mention their diet or healthy eating at all and when the obese kids start costing the state thousands for the treatment of early on set diabetes send the bill to the parents who didn't want their kids taught about healthy eating.

Really FFS eating disorders are not caused by something like this as a whole and for the small percentage that are would it be right to deny the test of the school population the chance to learn about having a healthy balanced diet ?

echt Tue 23-Apr-13 19:06:52

Vetting the curriculum?

Good luck with that.

Are you a nutritionist willow? Because I am sure someone with qualifications will e checking that our kids are not being taught that 4 Burger King meals and fish and chips are an adequate diet !

Do you learn the languages and the maths and science syllabus that us taught too just toile sure those dozy feckin teachers know what they are talking about?

FFS what a stupid thing to say!

lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 23-Apr-13 19:08:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Tue 23-Apr-13 19:10:07

It is in the curriculum. They have been teaching it for years-all mine kept a food diary for a week. I have also done it lots of times as a supply teacher.

complexnumber Tue 23-Apr-13 19:10:33

"Teach a healthy diet, get the students to draft their own ideas of what they think a healthy diet consists of, discuss it in class."

Sounds good.

"Students will automatically compare it to their own diets without having to disclose any information to anyone."

No! primary (and secondary) pupils do not 'automatically' compare their own situation with one being discussed. They need to be actively encouraged to reflect upon the differences between their own behaviour and some other model 'plucked' from the sky

Reflection is extremely important if the stuff taught in the classroom is to actually register with a child as applicable outside the classroom.

exoticfruits Tue 23-Apr-13 19:10:53

As a parent you don't get to say what is in the curriculum-neither do the teachers.

AmberLeaf Tue 23-Apr-13 19:12:38

I have 3 children ranging from yrs 5--yr 11, none of them have ever been asked to keep a food diary.

hey have learnt about food groups and balanced diets though, without the need for a food diary, so it can be done.

lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 23-Apr-13 19:13:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ravenAK Tue 23-Apr-13 19:14:41

I think you might find that problematic, right to withdraw from primary Science.

I would just follow excellent suggestion upthread to list a parent's food for the week.

Although I agree that if OP's dc finds this task difficult because of SN, teacher needs to be aware - worth a quick email to discuss dc's worry/potential distress.

DamnBamboo Tue 23-Apr-13 19:15:29

No, really the focus (as far as obesity is concerned) has got sod all to do with exercise. Yes our exercise levels need to improve it's true, but it isn't why we are all getting so fat.

It's about the shitty grub we as a nation are eating, make no mistake about it.

Maybe the teacher is planning to use this as a way in to discussing the death from anorexia of the senior pupil.

I would be unhappy about a curriculum or teacher that labelled particular foods as 'bad' - but would be happy to see the school teach children about a balanced diet, what it should contain, and how a bit of fast food, or chocolate or some sweets, in moderation is fine - and that over-indulging in anything - even dieting - is not healthy.

UnscentedStillRomantic Tue 23-Apr-13 19:17:22

Oh blimey food diarieshmm, I remember dc getting those. I think we forgot and cobbled something together made it up.

Ditto the 'write down and record everything you throw away diary'.

Agree with Aldiwhore's pov. Just teach the thing. But there is a mundane default to 'diaries' to find things out (as there is a default to fancy dress for every infinitesimal topic)

exoticfruits Tue 23-Apr-13 19:22:03

Foods are not labelled 'bad' and everything has a place, including sweets.
It is the science curriculum-nothing more.

complexnumber Tue 23-Apr-13 19:24:30

"Agree with Aldiwhore's pov. Just teach the thing."

What does 'teach the thing' mean to you?

Write it on the board, write in your notes, reproduce it in a test?

I hope schools are a bit more about learning now.

UnscentedStillRomantic Tue 23-Apr-13 19:29:36

Spanishfly'I also hate that they occasionally ask for consent to weigh and measure them. I'd never consent to this. Ridiculous.'

Agree, agree!

I did not give consent this time for dd2 and ds to be weighed and eyebrows were raised. No way would I after the last time.

I went along with this in the spirit of co-operation for dd1 and was sent a completely ridiculous 'standard' letter informing me that she was underweight.

Unfortunately dd saw the letter and already sensitive about being tall and slim (with I might add a perfectly lovely appetite and diet that caused me no concern) proceeded to worry unnecessarily about her weight for ages. I wish I'd never let them within 200 miles of herhmm

sherazade Tue 23-Apr-13 19:35:32

I've taught healthy eating and diet to year 5's before and it was a tricky topic to teach- not to say that it didn't spark alot of interest amongst the kids. I wouldn't have considered doing food diary as that would be far too intrusive and might ignite slightly obsessive behaviour. But I do remember people being slightly over anxious about the fact that 10 year olds might start questioning the sugar/carb content of their meals and food purchases. I personally think it is a life skill to be in the know about dietary requirements and limits and that children benefit from this knowledge. It became apparent, during the course of the lessons, that many, if not most, of the pupils, expressed worries and concerns about becoming or being fat and we addressed how by balancing diet and maintaining active bodies this risk would be reduced; and stressed that fats, carbs and sugars were necessary for good health. We also balanced the lessons by looking at what happens when you consume less than the recommended amounts of fats and sugars; or if you over exercise. All in all whilst I think it's really crucial to teach healthy eating I dont think a food diary is a great way to teach it. YANBU.

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 19:40:41

The number of obese people in the UK, has more than trebled in the last 25 years and is reaching 'epidemic' proportions.

Unless obesity is tackled, the government predicts that 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children in Britain will be obese by 2050.

So to those who immediately worry about eating disorders just because a child is asked to keep a diary as part of their education, do you not see obesity as an eating disorder? confused

sherazade Tue 23-Apr-13 19:53:53

WorraLiberty- you raised a fair point. When I was teaching healthy eating, other teachers or adults would make silly comments like 'you're going to give them an eating disorder!', I work in a private school where many children are overweight because they are overly pampered or forced to study all the time. However, a food diary would require you to log in every single bite which I think leans towards being a bit obsessive (have kept food diaries in my teen years and adult life and have also been very underweight, wouldn't call myself anorexic or anything but have struggled with body image and still keep under a certain weight). And maybe there are more reasonable ways to get children to account for what they eat. I got mine to bring in a food label for something they'd eaten, or pool ideas for healthy brekkies, or choose a meal they'd had that day and analyse it, etc

AmberLeaf Tue 23-Apr-13 19:57:24

That all sounds really sensible sherazade.

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 19:57:41

I think by year 5 a lot of kids will be making it up anyway and just writing healthy stuff in it, even if they haven't eaten it grin

But that in itself is a good thing, because if they feel the need to lie and pretend for example that they're eating tons of fruit and veg, it proves to them that they actually should be eating more of it.

If their parents are concerned about 'how they're going to look' regarding the food their child eats, then that's probably a good thing too.

Schools promote awareness of all sorts of things, and this is just one of those things.

Jaskla Tue 23-Apr-13 20:01:45

I remember doing this in year 5 and that's 18 years ago now.

I think it is good for children to learn about healthy eating, especially if they aren't being taught by their parents (and judging by the huge number of obese kids this is probably the case).

Most of our class lied on the food diaries anyway - I think the point of it is just to teach what a healthy diet consists of. Nobody will be told their diet is unhealthy or that they will get fat.

Maybe it isn't the best timing in view of recent events but I don't see it as a bad thing.

Cravingdairy Tue 23-Apr-13 20:13:18

This task would have made me very anxious as a child, reinforcing the guilt and insecurities I already felt about food. Nothing like this ever made me eat better.

zzzzz Tue 23-Apr-13 20:14:34

I think as an answer to the obesity problem, possibly more exercise would be a better way to tackle it?

I have to admits being slightly freaked out as to the ever increasing remit of school in parenting children.

JassyRadlett Tue 23-Apr-13 20:17:30

I went to a school where by the time we were in senior school, about a quarter of the girls had disordered eating. Several we're hospitalised, many ended up under medical supervision. At the age of 10, I vividly remember discussing weight and waist circumference in a semi-competitive way with my peers.

So you'll forgive me if I don't think asking a group of children of this age to keep a personal food diary is trivial. Given a culture with an obsessive focus on appearance and, for girls in particular, food intake then encouraging children at this age to keep a personal food diary seems like a pretty good idea.

If only one group of girls who have heard mothers and sisters obsess about dieting and food intake decide to discuss their food diaries, and then some get competitive about intake and one, even one, who might be insecure or predisposed keeps monitoring her intake and starts cutting down so that she feels accepted and in control - well, that's a very slippery slope when it comes to a very addictive group of disorders.

But yes, by all means, it's a trivial issue that people are worrying about unnecessarily. No problem at all.

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 20:28:22

zzzz they learn about exercise too and ways to keep fit.

But teaching only one or the other is fairly pointless.

JassyRadlett Tue 23-Apr-13 20:29:28

Craving, spot on.

And to those who are saying 'what, we shouldn't teach nutrition at all then!' - come off it, don't be ridiculous. There are plenty of ways to teach nutrition effectively without resorting to every anorexic's second best friend, the food diary. I learned nutrition very effectively throughout primary school without one.

Just because obesity is at epidemic proportions it doesn't mean that anorexia and bulimia aren't also on the rise, don't cost the NHS a duck load and don't destroy lives and families.

That obesity, whether caused by diagnostically disordered eating or otherwise, and anorexia/bulimia are BOTH increasing is a horrible indictment of this society's fucked up relationship with food.

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 20:35:16

Jassy do you think children who develop anorexia are somehow more important than children who develop obesity?

They're both eating disorders that can have nasty physical and emotional side effects, that last forever.

They can both ultimately lead to death.

I don't have any statistics to hand, but I wouldn't mind betting there are far more obese children and adults than there are anorexic.

No-one wants anyone to develop any kind of disorder, but by making food/weight a taboo subject, I think it's likely to cause more misery than not.

Eating/exercising/gaining weight/losing weight are all facts of life, and it's time to stop making them so taboo imo.

FeistyLassie Tue 23-Apr-13 20:37:45

YANBU. My ds is at nursery and it's attached to small school (lisad I wonder if our children attend the same school?!) Anyway they have been teaching the entire school about healthy eating and made ds completely paranoid about food.

I am irritated by their approach as we've always made sure he didn't see any food as bad or good. It's about balance. Our approach has meant he quite often chooses fruit over sweets or chocolate. God only knows what impact their approach is going to have long-term but short-term it's not been helpful.

Kiriwawa Tue 23-Apr-13 20:42:06

Worra - parents need to be taught about obesity, not children. What good does it do teaching children if their parents are feeding them a diet of utter shit every night?

How exactly do you think keeping a food diary is going to help obese children?

JassyRadlett Tue 23-Apr-13 20:44:15

Worra, I absolutely do not, and as I've said in my posts I think teaching nutrition is important. I question whether a food diary is a particularly good way to do it given the incidence of all eating disorders (not just anorexia) and the potential risks of that particular approach. Given the diagnostic profile of anorexia and bulimia in particular and the age range at which they most usually emerge (or more accurately are diagnosed) then taking a cautious approach to teaching nutrition seems reasonable. Most statistics seem to agree that 1% of 18-35 year old women have anorexia; and I've seen other studies suggesting that the greatest prevalence is among 16-17 year old girls. Every teacher of girls is likely to teach numerous children who have or will go on to develop anorexia, bulimia or EDNOS.

It's not a binary choice. Obesity and eating disorders are all problems with horrible complications (and there are good-sized overlaps between the two). Mindful teaching of nutrition can benefit all young people and I frankly think it's a must - and good teaching and support about nutrition is often an important part of eating disorder recovery.

But the food diary approach frankly fills me with horror for the reasons I've set out.

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 20:47:22

Because kiriwawa parents absolutely know about obesity.

They know what they should/shouldn't be feeding their kids. Even if they were poorly educated, they'll all have access to the internet and the NHS. Even the TV commercials about the fit 4 life scheme.

Yet despite this knowledge, obesity is still rising alarmingly amongst children.

The schools cant' teach the parents but they can (thankfully) teach the kids about healthy eating and exercise.

I've no doubt that in years to come, some obese adults will look back and wish their parents actually spoke openly about food and weight, instead of brushing it under the carpet like a dirty little secret.

Weight gain/loss is a fact of life and I wish to goodness people would stop trying to make it taboo.

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 20:49:27

Most statistics seem to agree that 1% of 18-35 year old women have anorexia

But how many are obese/overweight and on a hiding to an early heart attack/diabetes and other life threatening conditions?

JassyRadlett Tue 23-Apr-13 20:50:24

Worra - sorry, posted to soon. Do you think that the greater rates of obesity compared to the non-EDNOS eating disorders (though obsessive behaviours around food monitoring are not unknown in those with compulsive eating disorders) means that the risk of anorexia and bulimia should be ignored?

20% of all diagnosed anorexia cases are chronic and 5% will die of the disease. Only half will fully recover. The stats for bulimia are similar. The UK has the highest rate of eating disorders in Europe - NICE estimates 1.6 million people have some form of eating disorder. This isn't an insignificant issue.

Willowisp Tue 23-Apr-13 20:51:13

Where & since when is 'healthy eating' on the curriculum ? Last time my daughter came home after one of these sessions, she spouted rubbish for weeks. If anything was likely to give her an eating disorder it was the brainwashing from school....which incidentally allows sweets to be brought in for birthdays.

Madamecastafiore you've lost me ? 4 burger kings & fish & chips ?

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 20:51:49

I do understand what you're saying btw Jassy (I don't mean to sound aggressive) but this is something I feel passionate about.

Years ago, many subjects were sex/abuse/drugs/mental health.

No-one felt comfortable discussing these issues at home or at school...and no good came of it.

Once potentially harmful things lose their 'secret label', it's much easier to prevent horrible things happening imo.

CoolCadbury Tue 23-Apr-13 20:54:26

We've done food in reception. We talked about the different types of food (veg, fruit, meat, fish etc) and talked about fast foods too. We have to do healthy eating as part of the curriculum. It's reinforced every year but in a slightly different way. We talked about how we eat all these different types of food and its ok to eat fast food but maybe not everyday.

A food diary is a typical homework. For me, keeping a diary like that is meaningless unless something is done with eg a discussion at school or analysing each others diary etc

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 20:54:29

Willow why is it wrong to allow sweets to be brought in for birthdays?

That sounds absolutely sensible to me.

They're teaching the kids that sweets aren't poison...they're treats and celebrating a birthday with a treat is a normal part of life.

It's the schools whose staff clutch their pearls and act like these treats are crack cocaine, that do the most damage imo.

It just confuses kids totally.

echt Tue 23-Apr-13 20:55:20

Funny how teachers can't get the children to use the apostrophe correctly but can "give" them an eating disorder.

exoticfruits Tue 23-Apr-13 20:59:10

grin echt

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 21:01:09

echt grin

Willowisp Tue 23-Apr-13 21:09:15

Because it means they're getting offered junk at least 2 x week. Now, I don't know if you've ever read the list of ingredients on sweet packets, but it reads as poison to me. No treat IMO.

This is where it's going wrong...start the sugar cravings off young, give them crisps & mini processed chocolate bars in their pack lunches, cheesy biscuits, yogurt covered flakes ( fruit not sweet enough) train their tastebuds to only want to eat junk.

My DC go to a school that's apparently 'healthy eating' & I've never seen so many sweets & artificial sugars in circulation.

Eat to live...not live to eat.

soverylucky Tue 23-Apr-13 21:14:29

Looking back I started to put weight on when I was 15 or 16. I wish someone had said something to me when I was 6lb overweight. 6lbs is a hell of a lot easier to shift than the extra 28 lbs that I am carrying now. No-one would talk about healthy eating or daring to suggest that I was overweight. I used to be even heavier till the doctor said to me in no uncertain terms "you are FAT and you need to lose weight or your health will suffer".

Wolfiefan Tue 23-Apr-13 21:19:21

OP. interview friend or family member and ask them about a typical week. Fill in diary from that? May avoid problem but still allow discussion of healthy eating. Or call teacher and explain issue? Offer a plan of what you could eat?

JassyRadlett Tue 23-Apr-13 21:34:34

Worra, I really do totally get what you're saying and I agree that none of these subjects should be taboo. For me, I'm still so sad that anorexia as seen as the 'good' eating disorder and gets all the attention, while four times as many women have bulimia but it's perceived as disgusting and shameful. Ditto around talking about obesity which is still characterised so appallingly by the media. I really think teachers should get much better training and support in addressing all these issues. But I'll stand by my view that eating disorders shouldn't be ignored or sidelined simply because there are more children with non-eating-disorder-related obesity. I want to address both; I want everyone to have a healthy relationship with food.

Echt, sigh. That old canard? Really? No one can give another am eating disorder. But there are a fuckload of environmental and social factors that can contribute and I don't see anything wrong with trying to get rid of the ones that are easy to get rid of while going after the harder ones. I just don't get why being mindful of potential factors is such an insurmountable deal for some people.

Why oh why won't my phone learn that when I type fuckload I mean fuckload? Duck load isn't the same thing at all.

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 21:42:09

You're right Jassy

It's certainly difficult to find a happy medium that's for sure.

blondefriend Tue 23-Apr-13 21:54:00

As a science teacher who has taught diet and nutrition for many years I have used the food diary in the past. However I would now see it as a bit of an antiquated teaching tool. I would now ask students to try and list one item of food that they have on each day that fits into the 7 main categories (having taught that already). I also believe in the teaching of the differences between simple and complex carbs and the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats. Trying to encourage a move towards the use of oils/nuts rather than animal fats etc.

There is still very much a place for schools in teaching a balanced diet. Many schools will have a much higher level of obesity than others. Mine, unfortunately, is much more towards the low weight eating disorders. In these cases it is even more important to make children aware that a healthy diet is not about cutting foods out but more about adding things in (fruit, veg, salads, nuts, seeds, fibre etc). BTW no teacher should be talking about the tragic death of a pupil directly with a class. The news should have been broken carefully in planned assemblies by senior staff or councellors. I would hope that this is just a part of the syllabus that has come along without the KS2 teachers thinking it through.

To the OP - a couple of people have recommended that your DC uses your diet which is a good idea. Otherwise you could try mine and get her to pick out a carb, protein, fat, vitamin-rich and mineral-rich food that she eats. Just because she doesn't have the variety of other children does not mean that it doesn't cover the main food groups. We are lucky to live in a society where we get so much choice. Most people across the planet live healthily on a much more basic diet.

exoticfruits Tue 23-Apr-13 22:12:10

I hate the way we are mixing up our DCs over food.
As a supply teacher I had to do a science assessment with year 4 - all they had to do was draw a healthy meal on an empty plate. A few years ago they would simply have drawn spaghetti bolognese or fish with potatoes and peas or similar but one drew a recognisable meal - they just had oddments on a plate- most if them had some broccoli - quite a few had cheese. It all seems to coincide with people getting upset with simple things like a food diary or getting weighed.

greenformica Tue 23-Apr-13 22:24:42

I don't think it's a bad time to cover the topic. Maybe it might help kids come to terms with things a little more and understand what happened with the child who passed away. It's much better to discuss food topics rather then sweep it under the carpet.

I think you are taking the food diary too personally - the kids are just learning about different food groups. As long as it's covered in a positive healthy minded way, I can't see the problem at all. It's important kids know to eat well for their own health.

exoticfruits Tue 23-Apr-13 22:39:43

I can't see why it is a big deal. I didn't get involved in it at all as parent- they just wrote down what they ate.

exoticfruits Tue 23-Apr-13 22:40:23

It wasn't a secret.

lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 23-Apr-13 22:48:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IntheFrame Tue 23-Apr-13 22:57:50

I don't think they are a good idea.

It's really embarrassing for the children who eat shit through no fault of their own. I remember one child having Angel Delight for breakfast and one who only had chips from the shop every evening all week. What are you supposed to learn from that?

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 23:00:01

I think far more children pick their food issues up at home than at school.

Seeing their parents forever yo-yo dieting, having little idea about portion size, believing children's rib cages/hip bones shouldn't be visible, gossip magazines in the house.

These things are far more likely to have a negative effect, than a school asking them to keep a food diary as part of a lesson on healthy eating.

Even things like Christmas/Easter where parents say they they've eaten a whole tin of chocolates/mice pies to themselves and will have to replace them (again) etc... or the ridiculous amount of food crammed on a plate 'because it's christmas dinner', must be very confusing for kids.

manicinsomniac Tue 23-Apr-13 23:06:15

YANBU, I think it's a really dangerous idea, even at that age.

I had to teach it with Y2s on my first teaching practice and I queried it then as it sat so uncomfortably with me.

I have had anorexia since I was about 12. I remember doing a food diary in both Y5 and Y10 (Y10 we were supposed to weigh everything we ate and we then burned samples of food or something - I guess we were looking at kilojoules but I can't remember how it worked) and found it really upsetting and stressful both times. When I was in Y5 I felt like the diary had to look 'perfect' and I couldn't eat anything that was 'bad' that week and when I was in Y10 it was a complete fabrication to cover the fact that I was averaging 300 calories a day!

I don't think food diaries cause eating disorders but they can cause an unhealthy preoccupation with food, can kickstart disorders in those who are predisposed and are a nightmare for those who already have them.

My older daughter is in Y5 now and hasn't been asked to do one yet. If she is asked she will not be doing it and she will not be in those science lessons (private school and I work there so I can easily withdraw!) She is already obsessive about 'healthy' foods, won't touch 'junk' food and is underweight. It doesn't need fuelling.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 23-Apr-13 23:07:01

Can you politely refuse to do it? I know this can be difficult in year 5. My DS had a reading book in year 1 telling him what he should and shouldn't be eating. I asked the teacher to swap it,mexplainungbtat I thought it was probably on the curriculum but I preferred to teach this kind of thing at home.

Would have probably been a bit more relaxed about it if the teacher wasn't the same height as me and sboutv4 stone heavier.

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 23:13:46

WTF does the teacher's weight have to do with anything? confused

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Tue 23-Apr-13 23:24:01

oh i remember doing a food diary in p6. sad

i was kept in every day for a week at lunch afterwards because the teacher wanted me to finish a fucking apple and wouldn't let me out til i had. i finished it on the last day gagging (i have texture issues) and sobbing. i've never eaten an apple since so that was a succes dear teacher hmm

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 23-Apr-13 23:27:05

Because at our height it make her obese. I know its not a popular Mn view but if I want my kids to have dietary advice I'd prefer it from someone who isn't obese.

aldiwhore Tue 23-Apr-13 23:32:34

I am actually very supportive of schools teaching about healthy lifestyles and pupils learning about them, I'm also supportive of making pupil's brains work and fill in the blanks, via discussion rather than a mundane task of lying about what you ate on Tuesday because you've bloody forgotten.

The obesity crisis is more down to 'choiceoverload' than anything, choice versus cost, versus choice more choice and a bit of choice on the side, and then thinking you've chose well, in budget, only to find it's 80% fat and 20% sawdust.

Sure, massively fat people probably eat too much, some people eat shite, but mostly I do think the crux of the problem is in the amount of choice, the confusion, the limit on our time and budget... I absolutely agree that pupils should, after a few introductory lessons (where they're actually told 'stuff') try to identify foods that would make up a good healthy balanced diet. I don't think personal food diaries are that helpful.

My Reception age son came home after healthy eating week telling me MEAT was unhealthy, and he wouldn't eat his (home-made, oven baked, fat free) chips because they were BAD for you (not so).

When I say TEACH I mean "give them the facts", when I say learn I mean "through discussion they form their own relevant links to make sense of it"... it's a cyclicic (is that a word? My English teacher was fond of telling us to 'make lists') process.

Food, eating, diets, ED's, budgets... fatness is a hot issue. And should therefore be treated as either Science (burning a piece of bread on the bunsen burner and working out the energy value) or PSE (or equiv) that tackles choice and the issues surrounding it.

I remember a piece of pizza burning for longer than a sprout. I do not remember what I ate at 10 years old, only that my mother was obsessed and guilt ridden about 'healthy' food and the goalposts kept changing so we all ended up confused.

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 23:34:09

Jilted don't be ridiculous.

Are you seriously suggesting teachers should be sacked/prevented from teaching parts of the curriculum due to their weight? hmm

Teachers teach about Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism

Does that mean a separate teacher should be brought in to teach the kids about every single one of those religions...because God forbid they should impart their knowledge unless they're practising what they're teaching....

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 23-Apr-13 23:38:33

Not at all. It was a particular incident in year 1. I think 6 yo are far too young to be worried about what they eat and especially when they have such little control over it. I would have asked the teacher to change the reading book whatever as I just didnt think it was appropriate. The fact that she is obese and a rubbish teacher just have it a level of irony.

aldiwhore Tue 23-Apr-13 23:39:58

Actually agree with worra on that note, my best ever dietician was a large woman who struggled. She acknowledged the difficulties faced by people, because she was there! She didn't make light of my own issues at the time, was actually the only person who ever took my misery seriously.

It made me understand that I wasn't a greedy guts, I didn't live out of an Iceland freezer, I was simply having high calorie healthy foods too often.

I cut them out, lost weight. I now have them again, not as much, adn maintain.

Give me a fat dietician every day, they know the difficulty of well intended over-stimulation at the supermarket!

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 23:43:08

I think 6 yo are far too young to be worried about what they eat and especially when they have such little control over it.

I don't think they should be 'worried' but they're certainly not too young to understand what's healthy/what isn't/what should be eaten in moderation.

But then I'm a fairly laid back parent and I don't see any every day issue as taboo.

And eating/exercising/gaining weight/losing weight is such an every day issue.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 23-Apr-13 23:43:27

Think I will have to concede that one then ladies. An pissed and too tired and off to bed. I did say it was an unpopular view on here didnt I? grin

WorraLiberty Tue 23-Apr-13 23:44:26

And they're often the best Jilted grin

MidniteScribbler Wed 24-Apr-13 00:01:25

Aldiwhore, you clearing know fuck all about teaching.

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Wed 24-Apr-13 00:13:14

i agree with aldiwhore

JassyRadlett Wed 24-Apr-13 00:36:16

Worra, if more kids had parents like you who treated food in a matter of fact way then there would probably be fewer problems in any part of the spectrum. smile

Sadly not the case though - right across the spectrum. Schools can't control home influence which can be horribly unhealthy and damaging, and then exacerbated or triggered by other factors.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 06:43:53

Food used to be just a matter of fact issue where you could write down what you ate in a simple diary. I think that children still could, it is the parents who are making it such an issue and think that instead of it being a simple homework exercise they are being judged.

This isn't really about whether children should be taught about healthy eating in school. Unless it is done in an excessively neurotic way, what harm can it really do? And if a child decides to knock off the cakes for a couple of weeks, or decides to cut back on the fizz, so what?

If something like healthy eating is considered taboo, I dread to think what else could be considered taboo because it offends / upsets someone. Sex education for starters.

Worrying about whether some little darling is going to be upset because he likes chocolate mini-rolls is not really a tenable position to take.

What this is really about is the extent to which special needs gets to dictate what work the class is set. And the answer is, it shouldn't. Can't invididual children be exempted, or is that too much like common sense?

TheRealFellatio Wed 24-Apr-13 07:05:09

I dislike the way teachers get children to give up personal information about their diet, their home lives, parents' marital status, income, house size etc, dressed up as a lesson. I don't think it teaches them anything except that they are poorer/richer or more of an oddity than the person sitting next to them.

All this food diary stuff smacks of prying.

TheRealFellatio Wed 24-Apr-13 07:06:16

and I say that as a married, broadsheet reading, rich SAHM in a big house whose children grew up mostly eating home cooked wholesome stuff.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 07:11:40

I wish I could pin point the year that things like a simple homework diary became a massive issue to parents. It was far healthier when people didn't have these issues about food - and were then passing them on to children. I know that in the past children could simply draw a normal meal on a plate- they are now so mixed up they are scared to do it. We all have to eat - it is a fuel and often a social occasion- it is supposed to be enjoyable!

TheRealFellatio Wed 24-Apr-13 07:15:08

I agree. They are lectured and hounded at school about what they should and should not eat, made to feel guilty, and their lunch boxes are searched. The poor things are paranoid and it just fosters a very unhealthy relationship with food, which is the exact opposite of the intention.

undercoversahm Wed 24-Apr-13 07:16:22

damnbamboo What kind of medic are you? How many bedrooms are there in your large house?

FoundAChopinLizt Wed 24-Apr-13 07:17:28

I think food diary homework is a nightmare. I ended having to explain to our dcs, for example, that a homemade pizza with a nutritious topping and a moderate amount of cheese is not an unhealthy meal, particularly if it's accompanied by salad. Its just a cost efficient and tasty way of feeding a large family. Similarly puddings are not always the work of the devil if we're not eating sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks as a matter of course.

undercoversahm Wed 24-Apr-13 07:22:49

1. Teachers should not be asking for food diaries. Year 5 is a classic age for getting EDs and it could be very triggering. Even in DC with currently healthy eating habits, it could foster an unhealthy obsession. It is also private and DC need to start learning about boundaries and when to say no to random demands for personal information.

2. OF COURSE pupils should be taught about food groups and healthy eating. There are all sorts of fantastic and interesting ways of doing this: a food diary is one of the less imaginative, and less helpful.

Toadinthehole - "can't individual DC be exempted?" Only possible if the teacher knows in advance which DC that would involve. You would be amazed at how dim schools can be: I know of a school where anorexia was RIFE suggesting that all the DC go without snacks and milk for a week in sympathy with the children in the third world with awards at the end of the week for whoever had eaten the least. They just didn't get it.

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Wed 24-Apr-13 10:30:43

"What this is really about is the extent to which special needs gets to dictate what work the class is set. And the answer is, it shouldn't. Can't invididual children be exempted, or is that too much like common sense?"

yes, put all the chidren with SN out of class. bloody SN kids slowing the whole class down. hmm

daftdame Wed 24-Apr-13 11:03:56

My advice would be to play it down. I doubt what they are being taught is really in-depth (at a nutritionist's level) advice, so I would make the diary lack the same depth eg breakfast - cereal, lunch - sandwiches, fruit, yoghurt, dinner - chicken, salad and potatoes etc. I portion of - covers a multitude.

I also think, personally, the teaching of 'healthy eating' can open a can of worms, however we do not live in a bubble - advice is everywhere.

I think if your child realises you are stressed about this they can pick it up. It doesn't matter if they go off sweets for a bit. You can explain that yes some meat is less healthy but it is a good source of protein and we choose good quality meat because...then cite any marketing tool which is used on the label - lean etc. grin

If you have had trouble before about your child eating a balanced diet explain how you are always very careful to make sure you provide good food that is liked.

imour Wed 24-Apr-13 11:09:01

my daughter did this subject , we had to be creative when writing the diary , chicken nuggets was just chicken , chips became potatoes , crisps became potatoes , so all in all it looked pretty healthy and she didnt get picked out for eating the (wrong ) things , forgot to write in the few odd choc bars as well i think they became apples smile

AmberLeaf Wed 24-Apr-13 11:35:31

As a supply teacher I had to do a science assessment with year 4 - all they had to do was draw a healthy meal on an empty plate. A few years ago they would simply have drawn spaghetti bolognese or fish with potatoes and peas or similar but one drew a recognisable meal - they just had oddments on a plate- most if them had some broccoli - quite a few had cheese It all seems to coincide with people getting upset with simple things like a food diary or getting weighed

To me, that sounds like they were drawing examples of food groups...something that is taught!

Not saying teaching about food groups is wrong in the slightest, but that's just how the above comes across to me anyway.

PrincessScrumpy Wed 24-Apr-13 11:47:17

I would just tell dd what the menu is for the week and keep it simple.

I hate Healthy Eating lessons. Dd had one at nursery and told me at the age of 3 that she didn't want an ice cream at the beach as it would make her fat! I was stunned and furious she'd been taught that language. She told me last night she has fat legs. She is 5yo and very tall and slim. After being ill at Christmas she was borderline for underweight. I'm far more scared about eds than obesity in our family, just because of the kind of child dd is.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 12:09:28

I was the supply teacher.
They were supposed to draw a meal-a typical dinner. A few years ago they wouldn't have had the least problem -now they are so screwed up they are frightened to draw anything because they don't know whether it is healthy or not! They were not drawing examples of different food groups-that is not what it asked. (I'm not at all surprised since someone once posted on MN complaining that their DD had to sit next to someone having a school dinner with custard-as if custard was the food of the devil instead of being perfectly healthy as part of a balanced diet).

AmberLeaf Wed 24-Apr-13 12:15:10

Why are they frightened of that though?

IMO it is because they don't want to get it 'wrong' they are trying to give the 'answer' they think the school wants to see.

sherazade Wed 24-Apr-13 12:16:27

exoticfruits,are you a teacher? a food diary is not part of the curriculum!! the curriculum doesn't suggest activities, it outlines the required knowledge and skills, shouldn't a teacher know that ?

The curriculum states wrt to healthy eating for key stage 2
that they should know:
b. about the need for food for activity and growth, and about the importance of an adequate and varied diet for health

how you teach that is up to you/your school/class etc

quesadilla Wed 24-Apr-13 12:31:57

I agree... That would make me a little uncomfortable too... There is a place for teaching nutrition in schools but year 5 seems too young and likely to exacerbate any underlying anxieties. I can see where the teacher is trying to go but I don't think that is appropriate at that age.

WorraLiberty Wed 24-Apr-13 12:37:48

Why is it too young? I really don't understand this.

UK statistics show that one child in three is overweight or obese, by their last year in Primary school (year 6), so teaching this sort of thing in Year 5 is necessary.

The parents don't seem to be listening, so the kids are probably the last hope.

SpanishFly Wed 24-Apr-13 12:57:02

Of course nutrition is crucial in educating children (regardless of whether it's at school or home) but if they use the diaries to analyse their own diets then that's potentially going to cause problems.
My ds has a very varied diet and is slim (age8) but even he says some days "I should lose some weight." We dont say things like this so he's getting it from school or tv (although I'm dubious as to how much weigh loss is discussed on Cartoon Network)

daftdame Wed 24-Apr-13 13:35:32

The subject is problematic, I think, because there is a mass of conflicting 'good' advice out there regarding the fine details of ideal nutrition.

Education should therefore aim to enable children to navigate their way through this advice and make good decisions.

In my opinion, this would not necessarily mean avoiding the subject altogether or bombarding children with more unsettling detail than they can cope with.

The key is good differentiation, something which all teachers should aim for, but as it is no small task timely support and advice from parents (re. their own child's abilities) can be invaluable.

If the teacher / school doesn't seem to listen (they won't always - hubris) all you can do is support your child to the best of your abilities and tick it off as good life experience.

Jenny70 Wed 24-Apr-13 13:36:09

My DS is Yr 5 and did a food diary earlier in the year... wasn't a big drama really. Wrote down breakfast, lunch dinner & snacks each day (no weighing or measuring). They analysed it, came back he lacked dairy - I asked whether he had counted the milk on his cereal and yoghurt for dessert each day (duh, no he anwered).

Done and dusted.

Don't overthink it, if you have issues, then draw up a "good meal guide" for a week and say it is a meal planner for the week ahead.

Jenny70 Wed 24-Apr-13 13:38:25

And although not ideal timing with ED death in the school, eating disorders are not just about food, it's about controlling the one thing kids can control in a world they can't cope with.

Understanding food, nutrition and balance will benefit many students - a few might find it challenging, confronting, but it won't cause an ED.

ouryve Wed 24-Apr-13 13:49:49

I agree that the timing sucks and it can be a sensitive topic for kids with obsessive traits and food issues (I have one of my own in Y4 whose diet is becoming increasingly restricted and who often refuses food - he has ASD, too)

The teacher won't be monitoring intake, though, more likely looking at the nutrient content of various foods and comparing them with the standard issue food plate.

For people who are saying that kids know what they eat, of course they do, but many don't have the first clue about which foods contain protein or what a balanced diet looks like, even in secondary school.

It is a contentious issue, because for every child who is at risk of developing a disordered view of normal nutritious foods, there may be many other children who are able to take control when they've been fed a diet heavy in processed carbs and fats and low in nutrients all their lives.

DS1 sees other children eating processed crap, in their packed lunches and is increasingly rebelling against many of the foods I have been feeding him and demanding sugary treats, rejecting fruit and salads etc. I do my best to educate him on what a balanced diet is, but I'm just mum and he sometimes tells me that I'm just making it up so I can tell him what to do. From my perspective, even though he is at risk of eating disorder and we have had issues with his weight, in the recent past, through food refusal, I would love someone else to educate him in this respect.

ouryve Wed 24-Apr-13 13:52:35

Exotic - as far as DS1 is concerned, custard is the food of the devil. Rice pudding has him running for cover. DS2 only gets to eat it when big brother is out of the house!

Svrider Wed 24-Apr-13 14:39:56

Jenny I don't agree
My year 3 dd has gone from eating a varied healthy diet, with nary a care about her weight to bordering on obsessive about her calories a and reflection following a major "healthy eating" campaign at school
There are now many foods (incl. chocolate, chips, cheese, eggs, sausages, sweets) that she just won't eat at all
She wouldn't even eat an ice cream (her favourite food previously ) in the sun yesterday hmm

She constantly asks "is this food healthy" "how much fat is in grapes ?"

Interestingly regular excercise doesn't seem to have been included


daftdame Wed 24-Apr-13 14:54:18

Svrider - Sounds like a bit of a clumsy attempt at your daughter's school. I do think finding exactly the right balance can be difficult though.

Doesn't mean the subject should (or can) be avoided altogether however.

I think this is where parents end up having to step in and support their children, whether that be reassuring them or speaking to the teachers if the problem continues or both.

Svrider Wed 24-Apr-13 15:06:16

Hi daft
I agree it should be covered

But not like this

We are a "healthy" family
Sit down and eat a "proper" dinner every night
Take the dog a walk daily (including DD)
She is by no means over or underweight

I think teaching portion sizes, eating little and often and eating a varied diet would have been better tbh

I really disagree with the concept of "naughty foods" angry

daftdame Wed 24-Apr-13 15:12:01

Svrider - completely agree with you there.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 17:40:14

exoticfruits,are you a teacher? a food diary is not part of the curriculum!! the curriculum doesn't suggest activities, it outlines the required knowledge and skills, shouldn't a teacher know that ?

A supply teacher. I did as I was told-life is too short to go rocking the boat.
I recall all my own DCs keeping one for a week. I can't see the big deal. They just did it-I can't see why you need to get involved as the parent.

sherazade Wed 24-Apr-13 18:10:22

Can I just say many children take things their teachers say deadly seriously, even if it isn't presented or taught militantly and from a bigoted perspective, children will parrot some things to their parents, omitting the things that balance the argument, and don't capture their teacher's tone, context etc. I always thought my children's teachers were harsh and weird and anal about odd things and my dds seemed wary of not going by the book; until I became a teacher. Now parents come and say their dc said 'miss said you have to ' for x/y/z when it wasn't said like that, and I'll explain that it was suggested or said in a particular context IYSWIM. Many many times, the kids in my class have repeated things at home and flustered parents have come in the next day saying 'do we have to do this?', when the answer was no.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 19:08:30

In the same way you have to take what they say about their parents with a pinch of salt! It is all in the interpretation.

WinnieFosterTether Thu 25-Apr-13 09:26:26

Svrider - you're exactly right. Ds now asks at every meal if the food is 'good' or 'bad' and will it give him a fat belly? He's 4 ffs angry

Cherriesarelovely Thu 25-Apr-13 09:40:45

Completely agree with you OP and many on the thread. At my school we found the best way to teach about healthy eating was to be very positive and to encourage children to try different foods, emphasising that it is good to try all different kinds of food. I loathe the idea that there are good and bad foods, or that healthy eating is just about fruit and veg. I know there is a huge issue with obesity but when I was a child I literally didn't think of food as anything but fuel till I was late into my teens. I don't think it's good for children to be hyper aware in this way.

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