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Encouraging a child to eat their sandwiches.....your thoughts..

(35 Posts)
sagandswing Mon 03-Dec-12 14:34:26

Hello, I was just wondering what your thought are on this;

Dd's school try to encourage all children to eat their sandwhiches (which is fair enough) there have been several occassions that my Dd hasn't eaten her snacky stuff and only nibbled on her sandwiches (I kind of imagined she was too busy wanting to play as she tends to eat most of the foods I put in her lunch bag at home), she has also been in a vile mood when leaving school saying that she doesn't want to go again, doesn't like her teacher etc...which to be honest I just put down to her being tired.

Now on friday I was informed by her teacher that Dd wouldn't eat her sandwiches because she didn't like them, teacher had suggested that mum wouldn't of put anything she didn't like in her lunch box (which I wouldn't). So we went home and I found that she hadn't eaten ANYTHING at all (on closer inspection I realised that the chicken sandwhich had a stray piece of sweetcorn in which Dd really doesn't like...oh dear!) so I am guessing that if Dd doesn't eat all or most of her sandwiches she doesn't get to eat anything else??.

I can understand that the school have a duty of care to be sure that the Dc eat their sandwiches but surley it would be best that a child eats SOMETHING during the day?? be that a pack of crisps or a breakfast bar??.

Please do not shoot me down if you are a teacher. She is very petit and her appetite isn't that great to begin with. She can also become a bit difficult when she is hungry, I have had a chat with her about eating her sandwiches first but TBH I'm not sure that will be of any help unless I am there to monitor her.

SO what are your thoughts? Do you think it would be acceptable for me to check her lunch bag when the teacher stops me for a quick chat about her behaviour and if she hasn't eaten anything point this out? or would it seem unacceptable for me to just pass Dd the snacks from her lunch bag?

TreadOnTheCracks Sun 09-Dec-12 18:56:59

I'm a lunchtime controller with a yr 3/4 class.

I aim to treat them as I would want my own children treated and this includes not forcing them to eat food. I don't have a rule about eating sandwiches first, but I "encourage" eating them up. If they have 4 things in their lunch box I'll aim for 3 out of 4 items eaten.

It is a delicate situation. One child's mum has complained about me twice because her child has not eaten their sandwiches. I have to stand over child now :-( I have found another child throwing unopened food in the bin because she gets told off by her mum if she doesn't eat everything. Another parent just doesn't send any sandwich at all - just crisps and biscuits (which I have reported but what can we do?).

I think it should be possible for the school to have some leeway with sandwiches. I like the suggestions up thread - send some ham, snack eggs, pasta in a food flask, cream crackers.

Cat98 Sun 09-Dec-12 16:59:56

Oh and I have given him pasta or couscous mixed with meat/fish and veg. He prefers sandwiches etc though!

Cat98 Sun 09-Dec-12 16:58:16

I vary it so much day to day tbh. Only max of 3 items a day or it's just wasted.
Usually one of:
Sandwich/roll/wrap (I vary the bread)- filled with egg, tuna, cream cheese, chicken or ham
Or crackers or oatcakes or breadsticks with cheese chunks/cream cheese

And then 2 items out of:
Crudités (carrots and cucumber generally)
Fruit - this can be anything- usually: strawberries/raspberries/blueberries/tangerine segments/apple/grapes
Babybel cheese
Mini sausages
Feta cheese cubes with sliced cherry tomatoes
Fridays only - cake or small piece of chocolate

I am lucky in that my ds eats a reasonable variety I guess. He has different things each day though smile

lljkk Sun 09-Dec-12 16:16:24

Cat98 What do you put in your DS lunchbox?

AntoniaFE Sun 09-Dec-12 11:53:02

Soft cheese (like philadelphia but own brand!) with no salt crisps in a little pot tend to go down well if the sarnies are coming home untouched.

lilackaty Sun 09-Dec-12 10:44:27

My ds doesn't like sandwiches so he has a sausage roll & cocktail sausages instead which I realise is not as healthy but it means he eats lunch which is more important imo.

Cat98 Sun 09-Dec-12 08:59:02

Everything in ds's lunch box is healthy so I don't care what order he eats his food in - up to him. On Fridays he has either a home made cake or a piece of chocolate, but apart from that it's all reasonably good stuff. He doesn't seem to eat much but usually polishes the rest off on the way home!

nickelbabylyinginamanger Sat 08-Dec-12 21:21:05

i have been thinking about this today.
we bought a loaf of bread from sainsbury's today which was pumpkin seeded bread with o range and cranberries.
it was absolutely gorgeous.
for sandwiches you could have it- just butter it and put it in.
or put in a mini tub of hoummus

nickelbabylyinginamanger Sat 08-Dec-12 12:52:50

Barbarian - totally agree with your last bit - I was thinking "treats" along the lines of flapjack or cake - something that has nutritional value, rather than crisps and chocolate.
(although, we have started eating vegetable crisps at home - yummy and healthy!)

BarbarianMum Fri 07-Dec-12 21:50:25

Another one who withholds treats if sandwiches are not eaten. I'm assuming that no parent would actually send sandwiches if there wasn't the expectation that the child would eat at least some of them.

Disagree that 'anything is better than nothing' unless all the options are nutritious. A packet of crisps and a choccy biscuit doesn't really make for great afternoon behavior either.

AbbyR1973 Fri 07-Dec-12 21:40:37

At home if DS's didn't eat their sandwiches, then they wouldn't be getting any snacks things. Usually the sandwich is the most healthy part of lunch unless I've done salad or vegetable crudités. Both nursery and school encourage DS's to eat their sandwiches. Once DS2 at nursery spotted a treat in his lunch bag he wanted first and refused to eat his sandwiches- by all accounts a full on tantrum! The nursery held their ground exactly as I would have done at home and I back them all the way.
DS's take different sandwiches every day, sometimes it's their favourite, sometimes it might be something they like but not a favourite either way if they choose not to eat it its up to them but they won't be having something else instead. It's the same at dinner time. We all eat the same thing. If they don't fancy it that's fine but they don't get to choose something else instead. No big fuss made about it.
Funnily enough neither DS is even slightly fussy and they eat pretty much anything.

UniS Fri 07-Dec-12 21:00:16

Have you tried packing nothing snacky and just the sandwiches. a small lunch may get eaten. This worked for DS, who was spending FOREVER eating the extras very slowly and not knuckling down and eating in less than 30 mins.

Or if your kid simply dislikes sandwiches, it's not the end of the world to give them oat cakes or crackers as their carbs.

Tgger Wed 05-Dec-12 21:06:02

DS has school dinners now. He used to do packed lunch last year and it was always very boring, 3 sandwiches, an apple and a biscuit/similar. He always ate his sandwiches grin. They were often jam shock- on wholemeal bread smile.

Occassionally I would add other things if requested and would often find them uneaten. Guess he likes sandwiches!

nickelbabylyinginamanger Wed 05-Dec-12 20:50:49

I'm a nasty witch when I'm hungry .
i didn't used to de, but since i had dd i can't function. i even bang into things.
i personally think that if the lunxhbox isn't full of "treats" then it diesn't matter what order they're eaten.
if i put in 2 types of carbs then that would be easier - say a sandwich and pitta dips maybe or cheese straws or a savoury muffins...

Taffeta Wed 05-Dec-12 20:44:33

I can't believe I let DS get to Year 4 with the same packed lunch sandwich issues, coming out of school at the end of the day ravenous and absolutely foul before I realised the answer was sitting under my nose all the time.

He has been having school dinners for the last 3 weeks and is a different child.

learnandsay Wed 05-Dec-12 20:36:00

Here's something strange: Mine never eats the sandwiches that I pack her, bread & butter and also one honey, the ones she asks for. But since I've been providing a tiny jar of four olives and three gherkins she has started eating the sandwiches!! (I'm not going to talk to her about it for fear of jinxing the situation, but my pet theory is that she's spreading the "picnic" out snacking on the things that she likes, realising that she actually is hungry after all, and eating her sandwiches.) God alone knows what's really going on. But I bought a monster jar of gherkins just in case.

Fuzzymum1 Wed 05-Dec-12 10:07:22

Ours are encouraged to eat their sandwiches/wrap/other similar things first but are never told they can't eat their other bits f they don't.

lljkk Wed 05-Dec-12 09:31:03

OP: If she were mine I would probably cut the snacks completely, provide just sarnies & a drink, & offer snacky things after school, instead. Get her to help make the sarnies sounds great idea to me. Doesn't sound like she needs snacks AND sarnies (mine don't, either).

It's fair enough to raise your concerns, BUT I agree that it's unrealistic to expect the school to always see that you get what you want.

I do supply midday cover & would say we are understaffed, too. Very hard to make sure every single child has eaten properly. We try to check each and every one, nonetheless.

It worries me that the children need fresh air, too. Last week a 4yo refused to eat just one more of his tiny sarnie squares. He was resolute for half an hour, he missed all the outside playtime, and still did not touch the sarnie or anything else in his lunchbox. So little achieved. Would have bothered me a lot had it been my 4yo that missed all the lunchtime play.

ByTheWay1 Wed 05-Dec-12 09:15:00

ImaginateMum I wish there were more packed lunch makers who did that - just a note saying "it's ok to leave some" , or "I put lots of choice in - not expected to eat it all" - would make our job so much easier..... so long as they do try to eat some of their "main" - sandwich/wrap/pasta whatever - otherwise we'd get 400 kids just eating their treat.... and probably about 250 angry parents....

Bosgrove Tue 04-Dec-12 19:23:43

My 3 year old is a sandwich refuser, she likes them, but only under her own terms. In fact the last note I got in her lunch bag said that she didn't eat her sandwich, orange (satuma), raisins or biscuit.

I think it would have been quicker to say what she did eat... they encourage her to eat her sandwich and fruit, before her sweet bit, but wouldn't stop her.

As for encouraging her to eat her sandwich, if I use a cookie cutter and cut her sandwich into shapes she eats it a lot more of it. The gingerbreadman cutter is really popular.

The preschool staff have said that I have too much time on my hands.

ImaginateMum Tue 04-Dec-12 18:58:55

I have a DD who sometimes eats loads and sometimes very little. All her lunch containers are labelled "Please let DD leave this if she chooses". She knows it says that, and if anyone pushes her to eat more then she tells them / shows them. I think this is the most realistic way to cope with the situation.

sagandswing Tue 04-Dec-12 14:39:22

Ok thanks!, Dd is eating her sandwiches again. seems much happier when leaving school.

Just wanted to see what other mums think, I personaly think it would be best for a child to eat something rather than nothing as Dd's behaviour can change for various reasons (like most) but more so when she is hungry so to stop her from eating anything at all for the sake of a sandwich is just building a rod for their own backs really. I have been informed by my older Ds that there is a "shouty" dinnerlady dragon in the hall who DOES stand over the children to be sure they are eating their sandwiches, so if this is true I can imagine that they wouldn't be allowed to eat anything else if they don't eat their sandwiches

We do have similar rules at home but we are flexable dependent on Dc's moods. Some good suggestions for different ideas in lunch box which I will definatly try.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Mon 03-Dec-12 16:16:40

I think its highly unlikely that a child will starve if they choose not to eat their lunch. Maybe DD could help you make the sandwiches?

steppemum Mon 03-Dec-12 16:06:34

ByTheWay - I have a lot of sympathy, but if this is causing behaviour issues, then there can be a plan, which doesn't have to be dependent on what happens in the lunchroom.
A plan might consist for example of her showing her lunch box to TA straight after lunch, and getting sticker if sandwich is eaten, and if not, allowing her to eat it then in the classroom.

ByTheWay1 Mon 03-Dec-12 15:07:40

I'm a mid day supervisor at my DDs' school - and we tell the kids to eat their sandwiches first (or parents do complain if everything else is eaten but not the sandwiches)....

but if you think someone is there actively watching each child eat you are mistaken.... we have 3 to cover the hall and 3 outside.....

the 3 to cover the hall - one covers 60 reception children, 1 covers hot dinners and 1 the rest... (200 in hall in total at any one time with 450 to get through lunch in 1 hour) that has to include all the packet opening, fruit opening, spoon finding, lunchbox opening, bayby bel peeling (innocent bloomin smoothy straw putting-in), spillage clearing, first aid, taking to the toilet, watching the 3 who muck around, tidying up in between (rolling lunchbreak with classes coming in when space is free), and dealing with accidents and due to usual winter vomiting bug - cleaning up puke (only one this lunchtime...)

telling little "X" to go back and eat something because her mum said she went home with all her lunch and could we "watch her" - MIGHT get done IF someone knows who she is, is not actually busy and notices when little "X" leaves and does not believe little "X" when she says I'm not hungry/I feel sick/I've already eaten my sausages/fruit/wrap/other stuff we can't corroborate....

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