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Vocational school - are they very prescriptive about diet


ZooZoo
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Hi all

I have seen another post which mentioned problems about the eating at vocational school. I don't know if that was an issue specific to that poster, perhaps. My son is thinking of auditioning for year 7. However, he is a very picky eater. Virtually no vegetables (but fruit is ok). He won't even eat potato/chips. Given the choice he would exist on macaroni cheese. Would he be forced to eat stuff he hates? He would rather not eat anything than eat something he doesn't like........

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If he's anything like the other boys, he will be eating loads. At elmhurst, chips only once a week. Loads of fruit always around. They keep an eye on them as well but probably the temptation has been to be eating too much. My son also says the portion sizes the catering staff give out have been reduced. What we do notice is he is much more careful abut his own diet now. He makes his own decisions about what he eats and how much. Bt as for forcing the,, i don't think that would happen. Probably peer pressure would help him adjust.

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Dd was mightily impressed with the lunches at Hammond on a taster day s d at summer school and dh who works there makes our kids really jealous when he describes the choice available compared to their rather awful sounding school lunches

 

I am a very picky eater almost phobic and totally understand the fear if being made to eat things. It prevents me going out for meals and as a child going on resudentisls

 

I'm sure at vocational schools there is a wide range of food available. Where I often fall down at places is ready made sandwiches with butter/mayo whatever. Dry bread and plain ham/chicken only for me!

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My dd (yr 7) is very happy with the choice and quantity of food at school and her weight has remained constant over her first half term. From what she tells me, if you don't like it you don't select it, so I guess someone who doesn't choose much could be hungry. There seems to be every encouragement to have toast and tuck before bed time - 3rd large jar of Nutella sent back with her after half term!!

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hi susyzoo - I definately know where you are coming from with the picky eaters. I've had two of them. I put that in the past tense as now DD has been at vocational school for 8 weeks I'm hoping she is more open to trying new foods. Certainly some things she eats now she would not have even put in her mouth a few months ago and it has come from her, not pressure from the school. With my DS it was a combination of being with his friends and trying new foods and growing so fast that he was hungry and looking for food seemingly all the time. Aged 11 he was very picky. Aged 16 he ate most things in huge quantities. My 2 were just picky eaters though and did not have any particular diet problems. I know on tours round schools we were told they catered for non-diary, gluten free etc but have no direct experience of this.

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I am a very picky eater almost phobic and totally understand the fear if being made to eat things. It prevents me going out for meals and as a child going on resudentisls

 

Yes, there is a big difference between being naturally picky and having a phobia. Until you've had to contend with a true phobia of any kind it's almost impossible to understand what it's actually like.

 

Seeing someone panic in stark terror at even the sight of something on their plate is incredibly hard to deal with. So, incidentally, is the well-meaning advice constantly given by people who think that it's a case of spoilt fussiness.

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We have experience of both Hammond and Tring. The food on offer at both schools was very varied and of a very high standard. When my dd developed a wheat intolerence Tring bent over backwards to support her. My only issue was that there was so much food on offer. Kids being kids will mostly choose whats not always best for them. Puddings at Tring were just wonderful but not great when the dancer is going through puberty and the weight starts coming on and then temptation for the toffee pudding is too hard to resist.

On the other hand, both schools were excellent at keeping an eye on the children who werent eating enough. The schools worked very closely with parents and students. I can pick fault with both schools but food is definately not one of them.

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The worst thing is people fussing round you - just try it. You wish they'd just leave you alone. I always eat before going to a party/ wedding/ meal with friends

 

Cheese is my worst thing. The smell, sight, makes me feel sick. If I think anything has touched cheese u won't eat it. It took years to get myself to the point that I could make the children's cheese sandwich or sauce.

 

I'm also very suspicious of sauces in general.

 

 

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The worst thing is people fussing round you - just try it. You wish they'd just leave you alone.

 

Ah, those words, 'just try it - go on - just a litlle bit - go on - you might like it' AArrghhhh!!!

 

Perhaps if they imagine something unspeakably revolting, that makes them heave and gag just thinking about it. Then imagine being given a plate of it and told that they have to eat it, just a little bit, go on..

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Cheese is my worst thing. The smell, sight, makes me feel sick. If I think anything has touched cheese u won't eat it. It took years to get myself to the point that I could make the children's cheese sandwich or sauce.

 

 

 

 

My wonderful Dad had the same problem with cheese and he was so wonderful he used to make me cheese sandwiches every day to take to work.

 

Sorry that's a bit off topic

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I apologise if this starts going off on a tangent, or is mis-interpreted but I would be slightly concerned if a young dancer had any anxieties or phobias about particular food-stuffs. Being choosy and not liking certain things is different - we all have tastes/textures we don't like, and most places will offer a range of choices to cater for tastes. But anxious or OCD type behaviour over food has been documented as a pattern of disordered eating, and potentially fully fledged eating disorders.

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My dd has always been extraordinarily reluctant to try new foods. She has an excellent diet but it's reasonably limited. She used to actually gag, properly, when trying new food, and would be convinced that she was going to hate it.

 

Even at 13 she will only have ham or chicken in sandwiches, no cheese, tuna, egg or any mayo. It took me over 5 minutes to get her to taste a new cereal this morning but she did it in the end.

 

However, she has an excellent appetite and gets a balanced diet. She has also learned the hard way that to expect your body to dance, you have to fuel it properly, so I don't have to worry about her not eating enough. I keep an eye on her and I'm glad she's at home with me, but I'm not sure her behaviour would definitely turn into a fully fledged eating disorder.

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I think it's important to acknowledge difficulties with food - the last thing we want is for youngsters to think there is some sort of taboo on the whole subject, and that it should be some sort of secret to be ashamed of.

 

With the right support and understanding, these things can be overcome, after all.

 

It can (and probably will) take years, but it can be done.

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Hi all and thank you so much for all your replies. I feel reassured that if my son is lucky enough to get in a vocational school then, he would be ok with the food. I think I had an image of them basically being given a pre-selected plate of a balanced meal, and that being it. And of course my son won't eat it if he doesn't like it. I think he would skip meals for quite a long time before giving in to eating something he does not like. However, if they can choose, he'd be ok, and if he can fill up on fruit and bread, again, that would be ok. I don't worry (yet) about him overeating 'bad" foods as he is naturally slim (not like porky me!).

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Hi my d/d is currently at Hammond I have found that all the food she didn't like at home she now eats! I don't know whether this is because her friends are eating it or it just tastes better than mine! She loves the food there and they always have their tuck too if she's a bit peckish at night x

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and we send a weekly 'GRAZE' box to our son, who loves it, and loves going on their website and rating the different contents, liking some things, unliking others etc. although we still have to give him his Haribo fix every now and again.

 

(and the ONE food I physically can't stand - bananas, after an unfortunate episode at infant school with bananas and custard).

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Just a little thought, would it help your child to coping with his fobia if he helped cook some of the family meals at home. He wouldn't have to eat the food, but may enjoy the reward of others eating food that he has prepared. I haven't got a phobia of food, so I may be way off the mark to understanding how your son feels around certain foods. At my nursery some of our children have a had a reluctance to even have a certain food anywhere near them. For these children we have let them play with food during activities, eg water play, fill the tray with all sorts of vegetable, cullenders and sieves, pots and pans. From these activities we have observed some of our little ones having a sneeky bite of a carrot that they would never have gone near normaly. I know we are talking about older children here and teenagers can be so stubborn to any suggestions, but good luck anyway in preparing him not only for auditons but surviving if he finaly goes.

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The Graze boxes are £3.89 for 4 snacks. You can say what you like and dislike, have deliveries on days to suit you and stop when on holidays.

DS has them weekly as it's something to have quickly between classes, not too filling, easy to carry round and gives you a healthier option rather than a chocolate bar/crisps.

 

Since leaviing home to be at Central last year DS now eats almost anything. When at the YMCA Barbican last year, where it was catered, the only thing he didn't eat again after trying it once was goat. He said it was too boney! :)

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Thanks, Lottie.

 

My DD's experience is of Tring and Hammond. I can't really comment as to how they cope with restricted eaters as DD isn't fussy. I remember her saying that Tring had someone going round checking that students were eating enough (presumably focusing on those they knew were at risk of E.D's). There's good choice at both. She often says she's hungry if she doesn't have tuck though.

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I am also worried about my DD because of slightly different reason. If she ever makes it to vocational school she will spend her whole free time eating! She is the slowest eater you can think of! She is not fussy and eats right amount of food for her age and activity level but it takes her 30min to eat single sandwich, an hour to eat a dinner even if it's a dish which she likes! She is known at her school for being always last to finish her lunch (while others are already playing outside etc). Is there anybody else with a similar problem?

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Me, my non dancing son is the same as your dd. It takes him a very long time for him to eat anything. I think he finds it hard to swallow large amounts or even normal amounts of food. Its very difficult when eating out as the more pressure that is put on him to hurry up the worse it is. I fully sympatise with your situation Happymum.

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DS was a slow eater for years and took ages to eat his food.

 

When he was back recently for his 'half term' (only four days including the weekend :( ), he's now a faster eater compared to my husband and I.

 

He still dislikes getting his hands messy when eating. It was really difficult getting him to eat finger food when a baby/toddler as he would look at his hands and get upset if they were dirty.

 

Sorry - gone a bit off topic.

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Hi again. I do appreciate the replies and the suggestions, eg. that I get DS to help me cook. I am not sure that he has a actual phobia, well not about food anyway. He has a button phobia but that is another story!............ I just think he is very fussy. However he is getting a bit better and will eat small bits of things he doesn't like if offered enough of a bribe. Eg. try a bit of carrot and you can leave the potato! He is also very very slow, more so if he is not keen on the food. Bit faster with macaroni cheese!

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I have to say I still have reservations about the food at my daughter's vocational school.She is not particularly fussy and likes to eat. The menus look appealing with a choice of several main courses and always salad fruit and bread but she still says she does not like the food.She certainly eats a lot more salad and melon (a fruit she didn't previously care for) than she did before but I am a bit cross when she says that is all she had for dinner at the end of a long day.She does however start the day with a large and nutritious breakfast which is to be commended but it is downhill thereafter. She certainly has a lot more snacks and has developed a habit of eating tuck at any opportunity .In her first 3 weeks at school I was shocked at the number of cereal bars she had managed to consume. I have signed her up for GRAZE boxes also in a hope to reduce this (she also likes to receive post!).She complains that the baked potatoes are too big and hard and the meat and vegetables overcooked.I am also concerned that at the weekends they appear to be free to stock up on as much junk food at Aldi as they desire. The children do have nutrition seminars and my daughter is well aware of healthy eating but sometimes it is just too much temptation for a young child to control their sweet tooth particularly when missing home.I sometimes feel the responsibility is left too much with the child to eat a healthy balanced diet. Having said all that my DD is healthy ,full of vigor and has no weight issues or hang ups.

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