Is Throwing Away Lunch a Sin?


I am an incredibly picky eater. I know. :frowning: but I really, really wish I wasn’t. It really seems to be out of control. Sometimes when I have to eat a food I don’t like I start shaking and I attempt to force myself to eat it but I cannot, as I get nauseous. (I’m 14) My mother packs my lunch most days, and most of what is in my lunch I don’t like. I have communicated with my mother about this, but she continues to do it. I know that I am a tremendous burden and it is too hard to remember what I want to eat and what I can’t, so it is very much not her fault.

I have always been like this, so I am used to not eating much. I, therefore, eat very little during lunch do that there is a lot of excess food. I know my mother will throw it away at the end of the day. I offer it to my friends and when they don’t want it, I just bring it home. I am tempted to throw it away, because I am fine but I used to have an eating disorder and I don’t want her to worry or be angry with me. Would that be lying, or wasting food? My mother doesn’t like to pack me smaller portions because a teacher emailed her once, telling her she wasn’t giving me enough food (without asking me how much of it I even ate).:frowning:

So is not eating my entire lunch a sin? An example of a lunch I would eat on a typical day would be celery sticks (I do not eat them), an apple, which I eat, a cookie, which I do not eat, and a piece of lunchmeat, which I do not eat. So is not eating the other food a sin when I really try to eat them but sometimes I get sick when I try to force myself?

I’m very sorry if you think I am a brat. It really sounds so easy to eat new foods when I type about it but in person it’s really really hard for me. : (

Thank you to all who respond.

There is no sin in what you have described. Be at peace.

Because you had an eating disorder in the past, I would strongly encourage you to speak with your parents or your doctor to help make sure you are eating safely and adequately.

Your school nurse might also help you communicate about your diet needs to your parents.

You are in my prayers.

If it is not an eating disorder, then I understand your position because as a child in school I threw out much of my lunch as well. My mom really wished I would eat healthy things and I just found them unappetizing. Unlike you, I did not communicate this clearly to her, so I just developed a habit of trashing the food. And I have to say that that was a sin. The onus was on me to communicate, and failing that, trying to find a use for the food. Because it is a tragedy for comfortable middle-class people to throw out unspoiled food when there are people starving in the streets.

I think the next step for you is to bring your uneaten food back home and say “look, Mom, this is not going to happen, so either find someone else to eat it, or let’s find a charity that will take it and feed the hungry.” Your mother is undoubtedly working on a basis of love and compassion for you. She probably thinks you eat too little as it is. It is her job to be worried about your nutrition. And it is your job to eat healthy so you grow strong, so you need to work with her to find a balanced meal that will satisfy and please you during the day at school.

SybilMolly, are you currently under the care of a physician or therapist for your previous eating disorder? Am I correct in my understanding that on an average day you only eat an apple for lunch? This doesn’t sound healthy or normal to me.

I have never had an eating disorder, but I have become a very picky eater too, partly due to changes which cause me to dislike foods I used to like. I’m 72, and although I like a lot of foods, some I used to like don’t like me so much anymore! I also have great difficulty eating a full meal, such as at a restaurant. I actually get full on a small serving of cottage cheese, a couple of pieces of cheese and (on a day I’m really hungry) a half of a sandwich. This sounds like I’m on a diet, but I’m not, and I’m not skinny either! It’s just that I’ve never had a large appetite.

I don’t think it’s a sin to throw it away, but I do think you need to communicate better with your mother about what you like and dislike. Perhaps the school nurse could help you with coming up with foods you would like, and which your mother could send in your lunch. I used to “brown bag” my meal to work as a Nurse, and although I either fixed it myself, or my husband fixed really nice lunches for me, I often either didn’t have enough time to eat at work, or what sounded good when I put it together really didn’t appeal to me by the time I got to it!

I think the school Nurse could probably help you to get a list of foods put together which would be healthy for you, you are in early teens and really need to eat properly, but you also need foods which you will actually eat! Better to eat 2 apples and perhaps a half sandwich of peanut butter & jelly or apple butter than to throw all or most of your food away. I’d take your lunch home, along with a list of foods you not only like, but which would be good for you at your age. Talk to the Nurse at your school (or the dietician, if you have a school cafeteria). Both are trained in proper nutrition and can help you. If all else fails, make your own list of what you like (and a list of things you really don’t like) and give it to your Mom. If she feels you aren’t getting enough nutrition with what you say you will eat, perhaps you should both consult with your doctor and find out what you can eat and still get enough nutrition.

God bless you!

You sound like a wonderful young person, who has had to deal with some really big struggles. I agree with those who say you are not in sin. Something that might ease your conscious is to offer your uneaten food respectfully to nature from time to time like St. Francis.

My girlfriend has struggled off and on with this for years. She is doing fine. I keep a watchful eye out, but I know what boundaries I can cross, and those I can’t with food. Stay healthy, but rest easy.

It is not a sin to throw away a little food. I would be concerned about nutrition, if I were you. We do have an obligation to God to take care of our bodies and guard our health. You are still growing and girls your age really, really need calcium for strong bones. Think in terms of milk, yogurt, cheese every day.

I don’t think there is a sin here. You seem willing to share with others. However, I am not sure that an apple is enough nutritionally. I would suggest talking to mom about this again, and possible a dietician. As another poster suggested your school nurse could help.

I am not sure that your inability to eat certain foods could not still be remnants of your past eating disorder. I wonder why you have such strong physical reactions to so many foods.
My mom told me of her dislike of parsnips as a child. But her great dislike of them stemmed from an earlier event in which she became deathly ill on parsnips. She could never even look at them after that without turning “green and feeling sick”. I wonder if you had bad experiences with food at some time in your life?

Anyway, try to eat a healthy diet and keep working on foods you find not to your liking. You might try one food a month for starters. I wish you luck.

I would concur with the consensus.

There isn’t any sin in throwing out food that you can’t or don’t want to eat.

What you do need to do though, for your own peace of mind, is to talk to your mother about this honestly. Whether or not you have an eating disorder, it’s important to be open about it. Your mother surely cares about you and will do what she can to help you eat what you can and in the right amounts to keep you healthy. Your mom will only panic more if she finds out without you telling her, and then you’ll have all that stress to deal with instead. Much better to talk about it calmly - your mom will be so much more impressed with you because of the maturity and respect for both her and yourself that that would show.

Blessed be.


I was interested in your lunch. Personally I would eat the apple but not the other things, as you have done. I am not a picky eater. Its just that celery, despite the fashion, has no nutritional value at all. Its a waste of energy eating it. Luncheon meat, if thats what you have is processed, has lots of salt, fat and probably colourants, and most likely won’t do you much good or much harm either. And cookies are just the pits, I don’t know how anyone enjoys them.
Could you write a shopping list of things you like and either ask your mother to buy them or go along shopping now and again and throw them into the basket. You need to keep that brain fueled properly. Apples are a very good starting point.

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