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What types of food should you provide and a question about transition from total control to no...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am new to unschooling and am enjoying the path so far. I use to be very controlling on food. Three meals a day, what ever I want you to eat, a snack if your really really hungry, clean plate type momma. I am doing my best to let go of those ideas and habits and create a free home where they are free to get food at their own choosing and eat what they want. Our food budge it very tight right now so I don't have extra to spend on the snack type foods they would enjoy. So what I did last time I went to the store I picked up animal crackers and chips. I informed them that can eat what they like but when it is gone it is gone. I can't just go get more till next pay day. Then today I got the idea to put different type snack stuff in baggies to keep in pantry and one shelve in the fridge and allow them to get a baggie of whatever when they get hungry. I want them to eat when they want and what they want. So my question is this. (My kids are 9, almost 8 and 2 by the way) My middle who will be 8 next week has been eating several of these bags and acts like he is starving to death. Is this normal? Will he even out and back off a little. I don't want to restrict him but I can't fulfill this need if he is eating everything in site. I am guessing because I was so controlling he is now taking advantage, in case I change my mind? Do you go through this and is there anything I can do to help the transition go good?

Also I would like tips on types of food that can be cut and bagged either pantry or fringe. So they have great choices. Here is what I was thinking so far:

Animal crackers





pickles (my kids love pickles, don't ask)


maybe some fresh fruit of some kind


I do want to include something sweet like cookies maybe, just so they have that option. I am taking this to far, is this a good idea?

Thank you for your help



post #2 of 10

I keep on hand

string cheese,

crackers (with or without cream cheese)



an assortment of fresh fruit (whatever is on sale)

Barbara's cereal bars http://www.amazon.com/Barbaras-Blueberry-Multigrain-6-Count-7-8-Ounce/dp/B003YT0POA

sometimes we have goldfish crackers (actually, goldchick that you get at Target made with whole grains. But not very often)

frozen blueberries

frozen mango chunks (from trader joe's)

frozen corn (my 2 year old has eaten almost a whole bag this week)

microwave popcorn (with or without nutritional yeast. For my 5 year old. Too much of a choking hazard for the 2 year old.)

healthy cereal

dried cranberries (costco sells a huge bag reasonably priced.)

Freeze-dried mango (sometimes. It's usually gone really fast, especially for the price.)

baby carrots


I make smoothies every morning and they often have some left they can have during the day


Since we only keep healthy food in the house, the kids can eat whatever they want, whenever they want. About the only time I stop them is when dinner is in the next 10 minutes or so. They eat a LOT of fruit.


I don't keep chips, cookies, or other junk food in the house. I would eat it if we did. I also don't want my kids eating junk. By not having it in the house they have total control over what they eat (that is in the house) AND they are only eating healthy.


I've had to cut 25% out of my grocery budget, so we don't get a lot of the extras like we used to. My son used to like to get several yogurts each week and I just can't afford that anymore. (Besides, I don't think it's very healthy.) I used to let him just pick whatever he wanted when we were at Trader Joe's. It was all semi-healthy, just costly...fruit leathers, sweeter cereals, applesauce packs, etc. Now he gets to pick one "specialty item." Usually he gets applesauce in a squeeze bag. The two of them usually polish off the box on the ride home from the grocery store.


I do keep Lara Bars in my purse. They're perfect energy food when we're running about (just dates and nuts.) But even at Trader Joe's they're $1.29 each. So they're an emergency food, not a regular snack.


We limit our 5 year old to one sugar a day. It was too hard when we let him choose when he would eat it, so he normally gets it after dinner. And not every night. It's just too expensive to have a dessert every night. I'd prefer our 2 year old not eat sugar, but if big brother is having some, she is allowed some. Unless, of course, we can get her an alternative. The other night I told him I'd go buy him a kitkat. I bought her a fruit leather and made a big deal about how it was her special dessert.


I'm not sure if I answered your question. I figured I would just tell you what we do and see if that gives you some helpful info.


post #3 of 10

I just want to add that I went to amazon to show you a link to the Barbara's cereal bars and saw that they're really cheap there AND with a subscription you get them even cheaper. What a relief. This will save me quite a bit of money over what I have to pay for them at Sunflower. I am happy!!!

post #4 of 10

I would add nuts and yogurt (not with a bunch of sugar) to your list. Eating more sugary stuff isn't going to fill him up.


The reality is that many kids need to eat quite a bit. I don't think you are required to buy a bunch of processed chips and cookies in order not to be controlling about food. In fact I think it is easier to be not controlling if you don't have a ton of that stuff in your house. It is reasonable to conclude that this stuff is expensive, not great for health or the environment. I would aim to keep it more as an occasional item and not the main stuff they are eating for snacks.


I'm wondering if you bake at all. The eight year old might enjoy working with you to make some heathy homemade muffins or granola. Those would give his sweet tooth some of what it wants but you could keep it more nutritious and economical. You can make a double or triple batch and freeze some. Another easy snack you can make ahead are pancakes or waffles; again they freeze well. As kids get older it may also be a good idea to find a few things you can cook on the weekend and have on hand in the fridge - brown rice, black beans, hummus, etc.

post #5 of 10

I agree with Roar that you might have better luck if you provide more substantial snacks. Your older two can probably handle some basic food assembly... sandwiches, scrambled eggs, oatmeal... I used to make a big batch of pancakes on weekends and freeze or refrigerate the leftovers, and Rain could heat them up in the microwave if she wanted a snack. 


Oh, and what about English muffin pizzas? Cheap and easy, if you buy English muffins, spaghetti sauce, and mozzarella cheese - you'd probably want to grate some of the cheese yourself, but the kids could probably handle toasting the muffins then topping them with sauce and cheese and putting them in a toaster over and microwave for a minute or two. You'd probably have to supervise the first few times, but then they could carry on. 

post #6 of 10
The 8yr old may be reacting to the food freedom and then back off or may be going through a growth spurt. I'm of a mind that I don't restrict healthy food/snacks.
post #7 of 10

I think you could add a lot more (good) fat and protein into that list, which would help. I don't prepare snacks for my dc, except rarely. We eat a paleo(ish) diet, so their choices consist of foods within that limitation, but they know that nearly every food we have is fine to eat if they want it, but they ask about some things because they know that they may be intended for meals. I make biltong for quick, available meat, and when I make coconut salmon cakes, I make a lot, and they feast on them as desired. Since refining our diet (this was all consensual, so it's not a control issue to begin with), our appetites have drastically changed. We seem to eat in a cycle of cycles that go from ravenous all-day eating to long fasting periods, then moderate eating with intermittent fasting, then back to the all-day, and so on. It's been very liberating for all of us. Finally, food is not the centre of my daily activities every day.


They snack on biltong, salmon cakes, smoked tuna/salmon, chunks of creamed coconut (organic, pure), whole fruits, whole veggies (if they want them cut, they cut them themselves), chunks of crispy pork rinds from rendering lard, flaked dessicated coconut, olives (lots of these- jars at a time- olives in water, stuffed with garlic or almonds), seeds and nuts from the freezer, dehydrated roast lamb, dips made from nut butters or mashed avocado, raw lemon pudding (avocado, lemon, salt, honey dates, water), brewer's yeast (I don't get this, but they eat this like those powder candy-with-a-licking-candy-stick things I used to eat as a child), etc.... In the summer, they forage all day. Really. They are very skilled at wildcrafting. lol.gif There's no controlling that; that's for sure! 


They ate ravenously for about five weeks in December, and I was beginning to worry, but then decided to measure them, and they'd each grown between half and a full inch within the previous six weeks. They settled right after that, and given that my father was 6'3" by the time he was thirteen, it is possible that my dc just need a lot to keep them full while they grow; they are all huge. They may pack twenty years of growing into 13 years.


If they don't eat lots of fat and protein, they are hungry all day, even when they can't eat any more food.

post #8 of 10

I would love the recipe for these...

Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C View Post

... and when I make coconut salmon cakes, I make a lot, and they feast on them as desired...

post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by kaismum View Post

I would love the recipe for these...

I just made some, so I'll try to give an idea. I never use recipes, so this is rough, and bare, until the summer when I have lots of fresh herbs and parsley to add:


4 cans wild sockeye salmon, drained very well and mashed with a fork (or fresh salmon, if we have it)

4-6 large stalks celery finely minced

4-6 green whole green onions/scallions or 1 shallot finely chopped

small handful of chopped dates or raisins

3 cups shredded coconut

3 TBSP dijon mustard, or 1 TBSP acv/lemon and a clove of crushed garlic- sometimes all of these

salt, black pepper

about 10 eggs, but this varies with how juicy the salmon is; I've used a dozen, never less than 8, but the eggs were very large


The mixture should easily form a mound on a spoon. If it's crumbly, add another egg. I place them gently in a hot pan, and carefully push them down flat, sometimes needing to gather the edges a bit. The fat gets frothy, so I skim the froth off and keep adding more fat with each batch.


I fry these in lard or tallow until they are a deep medium brown because it makes the coconut crispy and delicious. We don't eat nightshades, but I imagine some finely minced red pepper would be delicious in them. I serve these with a simple dip made from mashed avocado, ev olive oil, organic living acv, salt, pepper, and lemon, sometimes a bit of garlic if there's none in the salmon cakes. 

I use a lot of fat. My pan is cast iron, and 10", which fits about 6 salmon cakes at a time, and I start with 4 heaping TBSP of fat, adding two or more between each batch. We love our fat! :D


post #10 of 10

Thanks so much! 

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