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11 year old girl and food

(9 Posts)
dancinginpurplerain Tue 19-Apr-16 20:53:49

My daughter is 11 and is very slim, some would say skinny but up until recently she has had a good appetite. I've never obsessed over how much she eats on a given day but looked at her diet over the course of a week as and she's pretty good - mix of dairy, protein, carbs and she loves fruit/veg.

About a year ago I had a call from school saying that they had noticed a pattern where she wasn't eating her school dinner, just scraping it straight into the bin. She has never been a big breakfast eater but I'd felt she was having a hot meal at lunchtime so not to worry. When it turned out she wasn't eating at lunch either, I panicked. School recommended that DD move to packed lunches which we did after discussing with her. She said she was throwing the dinners away as she didn't like them so packed lunch seemed a good option.

Packed lunches have been very hit and miss. She doesn't normally eat much - maybe a few chunks of cucumber plus 1/4 sandwich, couple of sips of water. DD says she's not hungry, feels sick, doesn't have time to eat at lunchtime. Her reasons vary but same result - hardly anything eaten. She does tend to eat a reasonable evening meal though.

I'm worried though as her lunch and breakfast consumption is tiny. I don't know how she keeps going at school.

In the school holidays she enjoys cooking and baking, but in term time we just don't have the time to spend cooking together.

Just for background I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year. DD knows I have to be careful with what I eat and manage my blood sugar/insulin. I eat a varied diet though and nothing is off limits as I can adjust my doses according to my food intake. I don't know if she's picking up on my changed relationship with food.

I'm not sure what I need to do next. Should I take her to GP? Should I just make sure she has a good evening meal and not worry about the rest? Any advice would be great.

Artandco Tue 19-Apr-16 21:16:50

If she's seems healthy and not loosing weight I would leave it for now

What are the breakfast options? Would she eat more if it was different or she could eat whilst walking to school? Like a cheese toasty or bacon/ egg roll for example?

I have always been slim. Never really felt hunger so often forgot to eat as a teen or now even if busy. My darling dad would make me a cheese and marmite toasty and hand it to me as I left to get the school bus ( he may have done this for 6+ years). I would then eat it as I suppose someone else had made the effect and I didn't need to think 'nah I haven't time to eat now so won't bother'

Maybe a snacky lunch also rather than rolls etc. So she can just snack over lunch as she likes. Nuts, chopped fruit and veg, cubes cheese, cold meats or whatever

dancinginpurplerain Tue 19-Apr-16 21:28:02

Like the idea of a snacky lunch - she could have just a few bites of different things and would possibly end up eating more overall. I don't want to make it into a big deal as she's always been so good at regulating herself - will leave cake unfinished if she's full (which I find just amazing smile)

Breakfast is early 4 days a week as we leave the house at 7.30. She doesn't like to eat at breakfast club and options are limited - cereal or toast. At home she'll have a bit of banana and a pancake or a slice of toast - but doesn't finish often. On the one day she has more time, she will have a fried egg on toast (usually unfinished). She'd love a Cheese toastie though - will try that tomorrow.

ApologiesToInsectLife Tue 19-Apr-16 21:30:55

I have an 11 year old dd who is very similar (although not diabetic) and it is anxiety which restricts her appetite. She is anxious at school and this means lunches are very hit and miss too. Could this be a factor for your dd?

dancinginpurplerain Tue 19-Apr-16 21:42:08

It could be as anxiety as she can be a bit of a worrier but has been much happier this school year generally. She does say she doesn't always have enough time to eat as she's a school captain as sometimes has jobs to do at lunchtime. I guess SATS could be getting to her although she seems very calm about them.

dancinginpurplerain Tue 19-Apr-16 21:44:03

Sorry posted too soon - what do you say to your DD about feeling anxious and eating? Does she recognise her feelings and the impact they have on what she eats?

ApologiesToInsectLife Tue 19-Apr-16 21:52:15

I try to give dd strategies to calm herself down if she feels anxious. She has other physical symptoms like shaky legs, blurry vision etc and she knows about the fight or flight adrenaline response which can suppress appetite. Sometimes kids can't recognise anxiety for what it is or they may only have one or 2 signs of it. If she goes through a phase of not eating much at school I just allow her to make up for it at home so she might have cereal or something at bedtime. It might not be anxiety at all with your dd and it might just be she is too busy as she says but it might be worth having a chat with her about worries and how she 'feels' them in her body iykwim?

gpignname Tue 19-Apr-16 21:55:21

I have been through similar with one of my DDs. It got worse. It can turn into bad eating habits or a sort of control thing of not eating. I wish I had done more at the earlier stage. For what its worth, my advice would be to weigh and measure your DD and have a look at some of the online children's BMI calculators. It is hard to judge just by looking at someone - a proper weigh and measure is a better way of telling if there is a problem or not. They do have some online for children and you can see if she is within the acceptable range. If she is well within the range then fine, if she is borderline or underweight then it would be worth monitoring it to see if there is a trend of getting worse or improving, and getting some more advice.

dancinginpurplerain Tue 19-Apr-16 22:45:44

Thanks for the replies. Will have a general talk to DD about worries and encourage her to have a bedtime snack. She's definitely more of a night owl so that could work and pack some calories in.

I'm also going to weigh her just to see where we're at. I put a rough estimate of her height and weight into the NHS BMI calculator and it says underweight. Will check my guesses and take it from there.

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