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DD (Y7) making bad food choices

(24 Posts)
Plipplops Wed 26-Sep-18 17:41:30

DD just started Y7. Her primary hot dinners were horrible so she's always had packed lunch. At the secondary induction and another time they were there she had hot dinners (lasagne and curry), pronounced them delicious and said she was always having hot dinners from now on. I was delighted as it's less hassle in the mornings, plus she's pretty fussy so I was really hoping she'd try some new stuff. Normally she eats zero veg (will have a banana a day but that's it), will eat a mouthful of the chicken from home made chinesey dishes plus some rice, pizza, pasta with tomato & mascarpone type stuff, lasagne and that's about it. She has a very sweet tooth (luckily is still very slim and healthy).

3 weeks in. I can see what she's buying at lunch so she can't lie to me about it. She's having plain past for lunch (says it's delicious, I assume they put butter/olive oil on it?), the odd piece of toast at break (fine), and almost every day a traybake/cookie/iced bun. When she doesn't have the cakey thing she's having some kind of sweetened drink (milkshake/iced slush thing etc).

I'm not happy about the cake bit every day if she's not eating any fruit or veg. Told her last week she could have them twice a week, last week she had it 3 times. She says all her friends have them and they're delicious. I point out that all her friends then go home and eat some vegetables (we put it on her plate but it's up to her if she eats them).

Yesterday she said she's had her last treat of the week (so Monday and Tuesday). I told her if she has more this week she needs to go back to packed lunch. Today she says she had to get a cake as she had some activity to get to and there was apparently 'no time to get anything else', although after the activity went and had some pasta (plain, obviously).

I had told her if she can't restrain herself to twice a week for treats she'll have to have packed lunches. She doesn't want to do that but has let me down again? I don't want to make food a battle ground, or have cake/iced bun/cookies be a 'treat' but it's all about balance and when she's allowed to make the choice there's no balance whatsoever. It's a side point but she's spending maybe £3.40 a day on this stuff which is waaaayy more than a packed punch would cost us.

She's struggling with the move to secondary in terms of keeping on top of her belongings etc (there's a whole other thread about that), so I don't want her to feel like she's incapable, but also she's incapable of controlling herself.

Any thoughts? Please be kind, it's been a tough day sad

OP’s posts: |
HPFA Wed 26-Sep-18 17:47:09

She sounds like my DD's long lost twin. And I have completely failed to find any solution and have settled for not looking at the ParentPay record. Ignorance is bliss. I put vegetables on her dinner plate every night but have no idea how I'm supposed to force her to eat them.

Would be wonderful if someone else on the thread came up with miracle solutions.

Ginorchoc Wed 26-Sep-18 17:53:35

My dd is now year 10, the first term of year 7 was all crap, one day she had two ice lollies. She learned herself she was starving by about 2pm and grew to be sensible with the food, drinks didn’t bother me. I’m in the pick your battles camp.

monty09 Wed 26-Sep-18 17:54:52

I would only put enough on for what she needs for her dinner, if she runs out before the week is up because she's chosen to eat things she shouldn't then she has to take a pack lunch on the other days. I would also say that if she eats at least 1 veg a week to start with then u will put a little more on for a treat.

upsideup Wed 26-Sep-18 17:55:17

I would just say she has to take a packed lunch if she wasnt willing to just buy what you've told her she can.
Its a lot of responsability going up to secondary, suddenly having money to spend on lunch and choices on what you buy is exciting especially if all her friends a doing it.

Plipplops Wed 26-Sep-18 17:55:25

Thank HPFA it's nice to know we're not alone? I feel like now I've told her if she can't contain it to twice a week it's packed punched that now I need to follow through (at least she'd be having a piece of fruit in the day then?)

Maybe I do a mix? So 2 x packed lunched, 3 x hot dinners. If she can show me that she can just have cake on two of those then we can build back up? But I don't want to overcomplicate things either...

OP’s posts: |
Plipplops Wed 26-Sep-18 17:56:30

Sorry, cross posted with a lot of you. You're right about choosing battles, she's dealing with a lot at the moment but I do worry about all the crap (and total lack of goodness) she's eating sad

OP’s posts: |
Plipplops Wed 26-Sep-18 17:57:34

monty09 that's a good idea - you can limit the daily spend so I could ask her if she's rather have that or sandwiches? Then give her some fruit in case she gets hungrier?

OP’s posts: |
DinkyDaisy Wed 26-Sep-18 21:57:04

Moved to pack ups with my year 7 [now year 9], he was making poor food choices and actually putting on weight. Now year 9 and beginning to 'stretch' out though tummy still a bit pronounced.
He was simply eating too much carbohydrate...

Soursprout Thu 27-Sep-18 06:26:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cece Thu 27-Sep-18 07:07:26

From my experience they all do this at the start of year 7.
I spoke to both of mine about it. Dd reigned it in and continued with school dinners. DS did not and he's now banned from school dinners and has to make a packed lunch every morning.

2BorNot2Bvocal Thu 27-Sep-18 08:08:19

We had similar with DS. The dining hall is heaving, the queue for hot dinners is always longer, wants to queue with friends, needs a snack at break because lunchtime sport so second lunch etc and he has a sweet tooth. I nagged and that got me nowhere. Two years in he makes more balanced choices and I've swopped cereals for some form of eggs for breakfast two or three mornings.

Jeezoh Thu 27-Sep-18 08:23:24

I put enough on the account to allow a couple of meals a week or a treat a day. It’s up to him how he spends it but I won’t top up. So he’s taking packed lunch most days and having a snack at break.

Plipplops Thu 27-Sep-18 09:06:20

Thanks all. I think I'm going to back off a bit 2Bor you're right, the nagging is getting me nowhere and I really don't want to make being at school any more stressful for her than it already is. I left it yesterday that we'd talk about it on the weekend.

OP’s posts: |
Yokohamajojo Thu 27-Sep-18 09:22:33

Sounds like my DS also Y7! I told him not to get a sweet drink every lunch time as they are firstly £1.05 and secondly not good for him everyday. According to him there is no free water in the canteen but he has his drinking bottle with him.

He is allowed to buy a flapjack or something on the days he has sport after school as I always forget to buy snacks he can bring.

I agree with Soursprout that it seems very hectic and long queues so sometimes he has to get a baguette rather than hot food.

Oh and of course all his friends have snacks at every breaktime....

nosuchthingasperfect Thu 27-Sep-18 09:38:26

I would just let it go tbh. Schools have to make food as healthy as possible and adhere to certain guidelines re sugar and fats etc so although it might sound awful, I'm sure the cakes aren't doing her much harm. Moving to secondary is hard, she'll be struggling with lots of different lessons and teachers and people; giving her strict rules about treats and days will just be another thing to worry about. Plus she's making new friends and if they are buying cake she will want to. It won't last forever! They come in as year 7s and eat cake and pizza slices for a term or two and then the novelty wears off and they start making different choices. I would really just let her be in charge of this and not push it. You don't want to make food an enemy or put some things on a pedestal or she will just want them more or eat them to spite you. Could you maybe buy some nice treat bits that she could take in so her money is then ear marked for actual lunch stuff? A packet of kitkats or mini flapjacks are only a £1 and that way she might be more inclined to go for something more substantial in the lunch room as she knows she has a little treat in her bag?

Duvetday123 Thu 27-Sep-18 10:12:12

I had the same with DS when he started year 7. I would just let it go for the moment; they have so much to worry about when they start secondary school, and they want to do what their friends are doing.
We talk quite a lot at home about food and healthy choices, and now in year 8 he's much better at self-regulating. The only thing I 'banned' him from buying in year 7 was drinks, mainly because of the single-use plastic bottles and the expense – he always has his water bottle with him. If he buys the occasional one now, he has to pay me back, which makes him think about whether he really needs it!

elkiedee Thu 27-Sep-18 10:24:14

nosuchthingasperfect, that sounds like a good idea, but OP would need to check school policies. My DS1 has just started year 7 too, and I note that the catering probably offers a very similar range to that at OP's DD's school - I suspect that it is quite typical.

I didn't actually go into the canteen at all at secondary school from 13-18. To be honest I think your DD's food choices are probably better than what I did - no lunch and then worse rubbish than what she is choosing on the way home.

DS1's secondary school offering is a set meal - main course and dessert - each day. Unlike primary school where he could just take a cup of water at lunch, very straightforward and part of the offer, there are water fountains but not in the lunch area, or he can buy a drink. He has been buying a bottle of water rather than the pudding, but I can see the temptation to buy a sweet drink rather than bottled water and I think they should offer jugs of tap water, but that would undercut the privatised catering.

What bugs me a bit is that there is lots of temptation from the catering but the guide to rules says that several food items are banned including family sized bags of crisps and packets of biscuits and a lot of sweets that people might take in from outside. I agree that eating a large bag of crisps or whole packet of biscuits alone is unhealthy, but sharing such things doesn't seem that different to me from buying from the catering, apart from being cheaper and not making money from the private catering.

I would suggest looking at the school menus with her - these may be published on or via the school's website, schools catering usually does provide this information in some way that you can look it up, and agreeing a weekly budget and just putting that on for the week.

Is she spending the £3.40 at lunch or is she feeling hungry at break times? I'm grateful that DS1 is very very sensible but I can imagine that he may simply need more food in a couple of years time and it being more expensive, and my DS2 is a very different person - I may well be starting a thread very like this one in a couple of years time!

PinkHeart5914 Thu 27-Sep-18 10:36:44

It always surprises me with child obesity the way it is schools still sell this stuff, mine aren’t even at school yet but I know my nephew had a phase at secondary school when he was buying a pizza slice for a break snack and then lunch & cookie as well despite having had breakfast before school. If the school didn’t sell it they couldn’t buy it!

I would say to your dd OP

Flapjack or cake once per week
Milkshake once per week

If she moans then it’s packed lunch......

Plipplops Thu 27-Sep-18 11:29:24

Often I think she's buying something at break as well - they do toast which she'd have if it was there but apparently they've often run out so she has a cake/flapjack/cookie. She's having breakfast earlier than when she was at primary school, and lunch is about 45 mins later so something at break seems a good idea, I just don't want it to be an iced bun!

I'm not at all convinced they're following any kind of nutritional standards apart from only chips on Friday (which seems pretty token to me).

They do publish a menu but as she's pretty fussy I think she's worried about choosing something other than plain pasta and not liking it (she says the plain pasta is lovely - like I said it must have butter or something on it?!)

She takes a water bottle (when she remembers) - so you're right absolutely shouldn't be buying additional drinks (from a single use plastic perspective if nothing else). She cares a lot about the environment so I'd like to think she can be nudged not to buy those.

Thank you so much for being so supportive. I'm going to back off for a bit until she manages to go a whole week without losing anything and is feeling a bit more confident about the whole school business, and try harder to get them to at least have a try of different veg at home.

Thanks again x

OP’s posts: |
monty09 Thu 27-Sep-18 11:39:14

@Plipplops yes I would that do that and see if things change anything's worth a try, I'm lucky my son will only take a pack lunch because he says the cue for dinners is too long and you don't get long to eat otherwise but he always has fruit, but he has money so he can always buy something.

Mymadworld Fri 28-Sep-18 18:11:51

I would caution against just letting it go as my ds (now yr 8) ended up putting on a fair bit of weight due to his panini/cake/cookie/pizza/hot chocolate obsession when he started yr7. It wasn't helped by dropping one of his sports so being less active (but still walked to school and did 2x PE and 3 x 1 hr footie so not exactly immobile) and stopping at the local shop a good few times a week after school but the majority was down to what he was eating at school I'm sure of it.

Definitely suggest a no drinks rule as that's an easy one to follow and they don't have to feel like they're missing out plus maybe agree a couple of days a week packed lunch.

trumpetoftheswan Fri 28-Sep-18 21:07:45

Is she allowed to take in some fruit or a snack for break/to supplement her pasta?

My Y7 dd takes in a fruit salad/yoyo/veg sticks or something like that in addition to buying a baguette.

niknac1 Fri 28-Sep-18 21:20:22

I think starting secondary school is really hard, I’m now pleased my child is eating something as the packed lunches came home uneaten. We are agreeing to compromise that they will take a drink from home and get some food at school. I think there is likely to be a choice of where you get your food from and sometimes children can avoid certain areas because it’s mod intimidating. Secondary school is not an easy place, there are lots of things to worry about and I’m choosing not to worry about food ( I like you checked the apps and had conversations that were unproductive).

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