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School dinners for horribly fussy eater?

(16 Posts)
ChristinedePizan Tue 19-Jul-11 19:38:43

Would welcome any advice from any other parents of children with limited diets. DS is going to start school in September. I had a quick glance at the menu when I went to look round earlier in the year and about 60% is stuff that he won't eat.

BUT most of the kids have schools meals - the room to eat them in is huge, the one reserved for kids with packed lunches is teeny so I assume there aren't many of them and also it's a bit ostracising.

What to do??? I'm sure I'm not the first person to have this dilemma grin

thisisyesterday Tue 19-Jul-11 19:40:40

ask him? tell him what the meal choices are, and if he doesn't like it then he gets a packed lunch?

don't forget that peer pressure is a wonderful thing tho, and he may eat things at school that he won't eat at home.
that said, i'm not sure i would be comfortable with my child eating something he genuinely didn't like just because he felt he had to. hmmm

ChristinedePizan Tue 19-Jul-11 19:45:23

I did just ask him and he was horrified that he would have to stay all day grin

He's always been a bit crap when it comes to peer pressure - or is happy being his own person - depending on how you look at it. So I'm not convinced that he would eat the food. But I'm a bit tempted, not least (whisper) because we are eligible for free school meals at the moment so it would add a few pennies to the coffers. But if he isn't going to eat them and is starving all afternoon, then that defeats the object really.

bigTillyMint Tue 19-Jul-11 19:49:42

Well, it could go either way - he could be horribly traumatised and hungry by the end of the day, or he could begin to widen his taste and try more stuff. Only you know which it is more likely to be.

FWIW, both of mine had school dinners for many years, mostly OK with the food, (but particularly keen on the cake and custard!) but swapped to packed lunches a couple of years ago because they were saying they didn't like the dinners and were coming in starving, and I knew I could give them a healthy packed lunch for less than I was paying.

thisisyesterday Tue 19-Jul-11 19:53:38

well... can you try it and see?
maybe send him with packed lunch for the first couple of weeks while he settles in and then swap to school dinners.

you might then find that some of his new friends are having dinners and he wants to be with them too.
but if you could just do it for a week maybe and see how he gets on? if he really hates them then go back to packed lunches

MrsSnaplegs Tue 19-Jul-11 19:57:28

My dd became selectively restrictive in what she would eat at about 3 but once she started school dinners she was fine - I still give her a proper meal in the evening and she has a filling breakfast but I know she's tries loads of things she wouldn't have considered at home even though she has them when she was littlegrin

Ilythia Tue 19-Jul-11 20:26:11

My dd is fussy, but I dont give her school dinners because they are ming, not because of hergrin

They also have a small room for packed lunches but there are a little group of them from each class who have sandwiches so it is nice. They move them around so they mix amongst the years, so some days she sits with year 6 children as well as her friends, which I think is lovely, and doens't happen in the big dinner hall.
I also like packed lunches as I can see what she ahs eaten (they send home anything uneaten except for cores/peel etc) and then feed her accordingly. If she had school dinners and ate nothing I would have no idea.

cat64 Tue 19-Jul-11 20:27:05

Message withdrawn

ChristinedePizan Tue 19-Jul-11 20:31:11

Thanks all, very useful. He is doing staggered starts for the first few weeks and perhaps I will give him packed lunches for week 3 as it's what he's been used to of late (he was at nursery/CM until about a year ago so he has some experience of food that he doesn't like being bunged in front of him grin) but then I might give dinners a go for a week or so.

The school sent out a leaflet in the joining pack about dinners and then I got another one the other day when he went in for a trial session which has made me feel I have to make a decision now. Presumably they don't run out if you change your mind halfway through term?

ChristinedePizan Tue 19-Jul-11 20:33:42

Oops x-posted cat - that is a really good idea. I shall give that a go.

Like I said, he ate all sorts of stuff at his CM/nursery which he point blank refuses to eat at home but they have all said what a difficult eater he is so he does it under sufferance. Which is fine really, he's not starving to death or anything. I will have been off work for nearly a year by the time he starts so he has got used to sandwiches at lunch

geogteach Tue 19-Jul-11 20:41:44

Try the lunches. It has been the making of DS1, he started school eating only bread cheese and grapes. He had done nursery but didn't eat there. He now eats pretty much any savory food (the cakes and puddings still don't do it for him, apparently he has salad for desert hmm ). If it doesn't work you can change but i think it will be more difficult to persuade him to try school lunches once he is used to taking food from home.

ChristinedePizan Wed 20-Jul-11 09:23:26

Hmmm ... you could be right geogteach. He has two weeks of doing mornings only before he stays for lunch and I agree that it might be difficult to go from packed lunches to dinner whereas the other way round is easier.

Looking at the info, I think I can pay weekly for the meals as long as I do it in advance so I could pay for the first week and see how he gets on.

Thanks all - very helpful to get your thoughts smile

savoycabbage Wed 20-Jul-11 09:33:08

I would not talk to him about it much. Don't over-emphasise the importance of lunch as he might start to worry about it. It's just one aspect of school and you want him to love going to school.

Fill him up with porridge or whatever in the mornings and see what happens. Like Geo says it will be hard to go to school lunches once he knows packed lunch is option. And it might be fine. You have to give him a chance I think.

HSMM Wed 20-Jul-11 09:40:27

Agree with the others. They will be supporting the little ones with their school dinners at the start, so go straight for the school dinners and see how it goes.

It is probably worth letting the school know he is a bit fussy.

ChristinedePizan Wed 20-Jul-11 10:34:45

I won't talk to him about it again, I think I might just going to tell him that at school, you get school dinners (like at his CM and his nursery). It's only since he's been at preschool that he's had a packed lunch.

Hopefully some of the other kids from his preschool will also be having lunches as that would help.

MrsSnaplegs Wed 20-Jul-11 17:29:18

Also we got to go in as small groups at lunch time from about week 5 or 6 to see how they were coping - I discovered dd was talking to much and always last to finishgrin but that the supervisors were really good with encouraging them

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