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PayData473 karma

I was a food service manager for a school (head lunch lady I called my self, I’m a dude.) and we had a PKU kid. It was very difficult with him because at the middle school years is when peer pressure was the worst. As dictated by the law, we ordered low to no protein foods for him and I was constantly in contact with his doctor and dietitian to try and match his meals to what we were serving everyone else that day: if we had chicken nuggets, I had the mushroom nuggets for him, if we had spaghetti and meatballs, he had no protein penne with mushroom balls. The loaf of bread we ordered to make him grilled cheese was like $15.

What made it super difficult is he wanted to be just like everyone else, so I had to keep a watch for him and swap his food out so other kids didn’t question or make fun of him but after school was the hard part. He’d go with friends to a fast food joint and get some nuggets and a hamburger and not tell anyone.

How did you deal with the peer pressure of meat eaters and asshole preteens who might not have understood PKU? Did you ever eat meat just because you were tired of being different?

PayData137 karma

Could also be different cultures. I was in a school with a very high poverty situation. Most of the kids never ate veggies and didn’t know what they where. Being macho was also a thing with these kids, so he didn’t want to stand out.

PayData20 karma

I’ve tried to keep up with him, and I think he’s starting to get a little ADD but I have heard through crazy grapevines that he still remembers the work I did for him to help him fit in and the talks about how life sucks but it’s worth something to try and stick to the meal plan. From what I’ve seen, he’s mellowed our a bit (this was 7-9 years ago, so he is out of school)

PayData13 karma

Does your son have PKU?

What I did for the kid was make his own binder with all the meal plans that his doctor worked out, including the snacks he was allowed to eat. I took that plan and matched it to the rolling 4 week menu I had and would personally make sure the food was ready for him. I didn’t want to interrupt any of my staff who were doing the heavy work of feeding 1000+ kids but I still got some of the more experienced assistant manager types involved with him Incase I was gone or busy.

When he moved on to High-school, I took the left over food and the whole binder of plans and notes to the new KM at that school, sat down with them, the AP of that grade, and the counselor and let them know how I did things and gave some advice on like letting him cut out of class a little early to get in line and get ready for meals.

It was part of my job, but it IS his whole life. It’s the least I could do.

PayData7 karma

Also, most of these kids are veggies in Elementary school but when MS/HS came it was all starch all the time. I remember the few years I did at the elementary level in the same area, and that was a circus of dealing with parents who probably shouldn’t have been...

That was a professional learning experience for me: you can’t talk to a parent like you would someone in a restaurant kitchen. Even if you’re right :) had a long talk with the principal after that and she gave me great advice