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28 replies

RoyalChocolat · 03/12/2019 09:20

We live in France where packed lunches are banned. You either have hot school lunches or go home for lunch.

I got a phonecall from DD's secondary school yesterday. She did not eat at lunch. Nothing. It has been going on for weeks and weeks and it is getting worse.

DD is extremely fussy. She doesn't like meat apart from a certain type of chicken breasts. She doesn't eat eggs or cheese. She won't eat salad if there is dressing.

I manage to feed her a healthy diet at home (I make crêpes or waffles for breakfast so that she has some dairy and eggs, lots of pulses which she likes...). But she won't touch school lunches.

I cannot take her home everyday for lunch. I am not allowed to send a packed lunch or snacks. She leaves the house at 7:30 and comes home at 5:20. She cannot go on with a long schoolday on an empty stomach!

I am going to send her to our GP to check that there are no underlying physical or mental issues. In the meantime, is there anything I can do?

OP posts:

BillHadersNewWife · 03/12/2019 09:25

Gp yes...can you speak to the canteen manager and try to get a special diet laid on for her?


BBBear · 03/12/2019 09:25

My DD(13) doesn't each much at school - she says she isn't hungry - so I just make sure she has a good breakfast and good dinner.


KnickerBockerAndrew · 03/12/2019 09:27

Do you try new foods with her at home? It sounds from your OP that you allow her to get away with being very fussy. At 10, she really needs to be eating a variety of foods.


TwattingDog · 03/12/2019 09:27

That's a very controlling I take of food for a young girl. Tbh, my mind goes straight to whether she is trying to lose weight. I'm not staying she's anorexic, but it could be the beginning of food issues and self worth issues.

Is she slim? Too thin? Overweight? Hehe kids at school said things to her about her looks or her weight?


NeedAUsernameGenerator · 03/12/2019 09:32

Is there bread provided with the meal and dessert? Is she eating these?


RoyalChocolat · 03/12/2019 09:32

TwattingDog I have recently chucked the bathroom scales away because I found out she was weighing herself and comparing her weight with her friends. I don't think she is trying to lose weight (she would eat bread and sweets all the time if I let her) but I am keeping it in mind.

KnickerBockerAndrew I want to pick my battles. This is not the hill I want to die on. I think there might be some sensory issues (I used to have a lot of them when I was a child). I hope peer pressure will encourage to eat more foods when she grows up.

OP posts:

FishCanFly · 03/12/2019 09:33

Can she function? Or is she doing just fine without?
My DS is very much like that. Won't touch school food, and if his packed lunch isn't exactly what he wanted, i.e. wrong type of bread, he'll leave it. He's much happier to go without than eat something he does not want.

As for banned school lunches - are the strictly banned, or is it possible to sneak in a sandwich or a pasty?


RoyalChocolat · 03/12/2019 09:35

NeedaUsernameGenerator the bread is "not good" (they buy the cheapest thing available - she eats bread at home) and the fruit is "stale".

OP posts:

Kanga83 · 03/12/2019 09:37

My 6 year old is like this. She is not just very fussy as some person above said. She has ARFID and sensory processing over food and textures. Very limited diet, only eats safe foods and those prepared usually by me, pre packaged that she knows isn't tampered with. I don't have a solution if the rules are different in France but is there any way you can request a meeting with the canteen manager to see what can be done and accommodated?


Elodie2019 · 03/12/2019 09:37

Go into school and tell them that you are concerned about your DD's eating habits both in and out of school. Explain that you are taking her to the GP.
Ask them to allow her, under the circumstances to take food in with her.


Elodie2019 · 03/12/2019 09:39

The school phoned you so they are obviously also concerned.


RoyalChocolat · 03/12/2019 09:40

Thank you all.

I will ask the GP for a letter and try to organise a meeting with the school nurse and canteen manager.

It makes me feel a little better to know there are other children like her.

OP posts:

ChazsBrilliantAttitude · 03/12/2019 09:40

If you had a doctor’s note saying she was on a special diet would the school be more flexible?


ChazsBrilliantAttitude · 03/12/2019 09:40

X post


glitterbiscuits · 03/12/2019 09:43

Do the French allow vegetarians to take packed lunches? Could she declare herself vegetarian for the purpose of school?


Kanga83 · 03/12/2019 09:43

In England we have a growth a nutrition team- it is part of community paediatrics. My girl was discharged and they are not bothered/lack of funding/insert excuse and told to come back when she is 10/11 and still showing her sensory food avoidance signs as then they will treat as an eating disorder. Perhaps have a word with your GP and see what provision there is in France similar?


RoyalChocolat · 03/12/2019 09:45

glitterbiscuits no packed lunches for vegetarians, and children with severe allergies are routinely banned from school canteens.

OP posts:

Blackbird1234 · 03/12/2019 09:49

I grew up in France and also went to a school where packed lunches weren't allowed. There were a couple of kids in my school that has a special arrangement. One boy had a huge list of allergies, so he had a meal specially made for him. One girl also has dietary requirements and was allowed to bring in her own lunch.

I would definitely recommend speaking to the school, but at her age, bringing in her own lunch may make her "different", which may no go down well.

If she's not got an eating disorder and it's simply the fact that she doesn't like the food, could you allow her to leave the school at lunch time and pick up something that she does like from a nearby boulangerie/shop? My friends and I tended to do this rather than eat at the canteen.

If it is an eating disorder, the GP will be your best bet, although I don't know how they handle eating disorders over here.

Good luck!


Blackbird1234 · 03/12/2019 09:50

had* Hmm


paap1975 · 03/12/2019 09:51

Either she has a medical issue (ARFID, anorexia, ettc.) in which case she needs medical help
she is just being picky, in which case she just needs a kick up the backside.
Given how restrictive she is, I suspect the former, but you need professional help.


RoyalChocolat · 03/12/2019 09:53

Blackbird1234 we live in the countryside. The collège is in the middle of nowhere. She would need to walk over a mile alongside a busy road, and I don't want her to be on her own outside for 2 hours everyday (if she wants to leave the school, she has to be an externe and she is not allowed on school premises for the whole duration of the lunch break - which is quite long in France)

OP posts:

ChilliMum · 03/12/2019 09:54

Hi OP also in France with a fussy eater dd(13) at college. My dd has always been like this and tbh I dont think she eats very much at the canteen most days. I have never had any word from the college as I dont think they check but had periscolaire call me in a few times with this issue when she was primaire. Like you we make sure she has a good breakfast and dinner.

Some stuff she will do though you could maybe encourage your dd also while you speak to your doctor - usually there is some bread, sometimes she will eat the salad course, sometimes she will swap with her friends so although she wont eat everything she will take the plate and trade off some of the things she doesn't like, she usually eats the pudding Smile

I know it's quite stressful but I dont think it is that uncommon here - the menus can be quite rigid and interesting Grin

My dd has always been like this and my health visitor told me to concentrate on what she eats across the week rather than at specific meals and I find this really helpful on bad days. And if it is any comfort my dd is surviving without much lunch and is a perfectly healthy 13 year old.


Devereux1 · 03/12/2019 10:11

She'll stop being so fussy and eat when she's hungry.
Whilst she's nicely fed up for breakfast and dinner, it's relatively easy to go until 5pm without more food (unless she's taking food from home, buying food from shops nearby, this is what our son did for a short while).
Just keep an eye for any anorexia/bulimia type behaviours, but other than that, as you say, pick your battles and let this go. When she's hungry and this fussiness isn't working for her, she'll eat what's given to her.


Clangus00 · 03/12/2019 10:17

@Devereux1. That’s bollox.
Sorry but it is.


sashh · 03/12/2019 10:22

Are you allowed to supply food for the school to cook?

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