Primary school years seem to represent a critical period for the development of overweight and obesity. However, only a few studies have analysed the prospective relationship between dietary patterns and weight status in children. The aims of the present study were to identify dietary patterns at the beginning of and during the primary school period and to examine their relevance to the development of body composition. Nutritional and anthropometric data from 371 participants of the Dortmund Nutritional and Longitudinally Designed (DONALD) Study at the beginning (ages 6 and 7 years) and end (ages 10 and 11 years) of the primary school period were used. Principal component analyses (PCA) were conducted to identify dietary patterns, which were regressed on changes in BMI and fat mass index (FMI) between ages 6 and 7 years and ages 10 and 11 years. Reduced rank regression (RRR) was used to directly extract patterns explaining variation in changes in BMI and FMI between ages 6 and 7 years and ages 10 and 11 years. PCA yielded interpretable patterns of dietary changes at the beginning of and during the primary school period, which were not related to changes in body composition. Conversely, RRR allowed identifying predictive patterns: higher baseline intakes of white bread and lower baseline intakes of whole-grain products as well as increases in the consumption of savoury snacks, sausages and cheese during primary school years independently predicted increases in BMI and FMI during the primary school period. In conclusion, selection of unfavourable carbohydrate sources at the beginning of the primary school period and increases in the consumption of processed savoury foods during primary school years may adversely affect the development of body composition during the course of primary school.