Should I be worried that dd2 has stopped eating lunch ??

(15 Posts)

Dd2 is nearly 13 and since she went back to school in Sept she has stopped eating at lunchtime. She used to take a wrap, usually cheese salad, and a drink, but now she is coming home without having eaten it.

Ive asked her about it and she said she's just not hungry. Today I gave her money for lunch instead, so she could have whatever delights were on offer at school, and she still didn't eat. Said she wasn't hungry again.

She has always had such a good appetite so I am a little concerned. She is eating ok at home though from what I can see. She has cereal for breakfast, and then has a cooked meal every night. She is still also eating snacks etc at home.

Do I need to be worried ??

How long does she get for lunch? Does she do any clubs that are interfering? Where are they expected to eat their lunch?

As an experiment, what would happen if you we're to give her a chocolate bar to take as a one off? It might help give you some clues.

TheDogDidIt Wed 26-Sep-12 18:19:14

Hard to say. At that age I didn't eat lunch either, but that was because I wanted to save up the money.

Could there be a friends issue meaning that she has a hard time finding someone to sit with at lunchtime?

Does she eat lunch at the weekend?

I asked her who she sits with and she said people that are friends. I asked if they eat lunch and she said yes.

She normally eats lunch at weekends yes, although i've just said that and she said 'no i don't'.

Might try the chocolate thing. Although i'm assuming she could have bought something like that at lunch today because their school does cakes and stuff.

Oh she gets about 30 min for lunch i think, and doesn't do any clubs.

TalTangerine Wed 26-Sep-12 18:40:56

I stopped eating lunch as a teen and it was me falling into an eating disorder (which I did pull myself out of) so this kind of rings alarm bells. However my reason for eating tea at home was so my parents wouldn't suspect I wasn't eating at lunch, so maybe not. Does she eat breakfast? Some people find if they skip breakfast, they don't get hungry at lunchtime because their metabolism hasn't kicked in.

Yes she eats cereal or toast for breakfast.

I think i'll just have to keep an eye on what she does eat. She's just had some chicken and mushroom pasta, and some garlic bread, and she did clear the plate.

harbingerofdoom Wed 26-Sep-12 19:17:02

Sorry, just more questions. Did she put on weight over the holidays or get very health conscious?
How were her friends over the holidays, all happy or a few going off?
CoEd school? So is there a boy lurking?
My DDs have come out the other side and I just would not mention any of this but wait until you're watching something together/driving/cleaning the sink even (no eye contact) at this stage. Then slip it into the chat.

harbingerofdoom Wed 26-Sep-12 19:19:37

Gosh, that was garbled! What I meant was don't confront.

Thanks harbinger, i understood lol.

I dont think there were any fallings out over the hols, but it can be hard to keep up. It's certainly possible that there is a boy lurking, but i hope thats not why she's doing it sad she is lovely as she is.

harbingerofdoom Wed 26-Sep-12 20:33:50

At my DDs school you weren't allowed to eat a packed lunch in the canteen/hall. If a new catering contract has been given they might be enforcing that. It's awful as it means sitting in the form room or rain.
Even if she was sport/drama for lunch,you can still 'chow down' a sandwich in 20 seconds.
Thermos? I'd have been shot down but you never know......

flow4 Sun 30-Sep-12 11:37:42

My DS (12, almost 13) stopped eating lunch this time last year, and then also breakfast. It worried me terribly. He had got the idea he was 'fat', which he wasn't and isn't.

I did talk to him about it directly; and eventually (around March, on a day when all he was proposing to eat was 2 rice cakes, an apple, and some mushroom soup made with 6 mushrooms, half an onion, stock and water sad ) I had quite a long and pushy conversation with him, and I discovered that he didn't know/understand some fundamental things about food and nutrition. He's a bit geeky smile and likes facts and information, so maybe this approach wouldn't work for every child; but perhaps sharing some of his misunderstandings will be useful for other parents:

He thought 'calories' were bad, he didn't know that they were just a unit of energy, and essential for life. I explained it in terms of him needing calories, just like rockets and cars need fuel.

He didn't have any idea how much 'fuel' he needed and how that compared to what he was eating. I got him to Google (with me) some info about recommended calorie intake for a 12 year old boy of his height. It worked out as 1500-1800 (depending on the source of the info). I then got him to work out the calorie content of what he was planning to eat, and it came to around 200 - so a shockingly long way short of what he needed. Even he could see that wasn't enough.

He didn't realise that brains need calories! He likes using his brain, so the idea of needing to 'feed his brain' (and not just his body) was attractive to him.

He didn't realise that if he cut down the amount he ate, he was also limiting his essential vitamins, minerals, etc. We talked about 'empty calories' - i.e. sugary drinks and foods that carry energy but no vitamins or minerals or protein or anything else useful - compared with 'nutritious calories'. We talked about how important these other things are, and how he needs a good mix of them to be healthy.

He didn't know about 'growth spurts'. He had a (very little) bit of 'puppy fat' in Dec/Jan which he felt bad about (I didn't know that at the time). But in February he grew 4 inches and was slim again. He connected getting slim with limiting what he ate, and didn't realise how much taller he'd grown. We talked about it (and he measured himself against me!) and we talked about how, if he kept on limiting his food, he might not get his next growth spurt (or get taller than me!)

Understanding these things helped him - he started to eat more. smile

The other thing that helped was encouraging him to cook and prepare his own meals/snacks - he particularly likes making noodle and pasta dishes, with chopped veg, cheese, etc. I am now quite happy to let him make these for breakfast if he wants - it might be unconventional, but it's healthy, nutritious and filling! smile

GraduallyGoingInsane Sun 07-Oct-12 19:01:29

I sympathise, it's worrying. I have 4 DDs, and the elder two have both had a 'non eating stage'.

DD1 is now 16, but when she was 14 she stopped eating lunch. I noticed quite quickly as she was coming in from school absolutely starving, and raiding the cupboards. After some probing it turned out that all of her friends were 'on diets' and she followed the crowd. It was madness really - none of them are large at all, and DD1 in particular is tiny in height and weight (size 6 is invariably too big). We ended up putting lots of quickly eaten, high energy snacks in her bag - little bags of nuts, cereal bars, chocolate soya milk etc. Then she could wolf them down out of sight, in the loo if needed, but still be 'cool' and wander round the playground at lunch declaring herself 'dieting'. I was glad when that phase passed, let me tell you!

DD2 was more tricky - she's always been a fussy eater and has always eaten a maximum of half of her dinner, even if she loves it. She is even tinier than DD1 too. She was sneaky and it was actually DD1 who told me that she'd stopped eating, part way through last year. She was still picking at her tea as usual, so she really wasn't eating much. I gave her the snacks too, but they would return uneaten.

In the end, we just made sure she had breakfast, made sure there was toast and peanut butter, or more substantial after school snacks, and then made sure she had tea. Little and often for her. We have chatted with the GP about her eating numerous times since she was a toddler, and the GP recommended regular mini meals. She still doesn't eat properly at school (she's 14 now) - but will eat an apple and a cereal bar.

I think its often the case of keeping a close eye, making sure they eat out of school, giving healthy but high calorie snacks to take with them and hoping that they ride it out. If it goes on more than a couple of months, then it might be worth taking action.

Spidermama Mon 08-Oct-12 16:37:51

My dd is 14 and doing exactly the same thing. So are many of the girls in her year. It's extremely depressing.
I keep asking her if the boys skip lunch and talk about calories in the same way the girls do. It is - of course - a feminist issue.

I did this to be fair and it was about managing to exert control over my life. I had a horrible few years because of it.

I keep telling my daughter how boring it is when women talk about calories all the time and how lovely it is to be free. It's not helping but there you go.

bossboggle Mon 08-Oct-12 20:40:23

My DS is doing the same thing, he is slightly older but he very rarely comes downstairs and has meals, he says he goes to the local shops when he is at college but I'm not sure and I don't know how to check on things!!

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