Originally Posted by rightkindofme
Thanks for a useful thread. :)
Well, if you are going to give free-range eating a go, I will let you in on some pros and cons as I see it (and my family has eaten like this forever.) It was both a deliberate choice as a way to avoid food issues, and a natural extension of breastfeeding (so many ears ago) when they really did eat when they were hungry.
-It can cut way down on control issues. No one has to clean their plate, no goodies are kept from you - where you want them but cannot have them.
-My children do not and have never clamoured for food the way I did. They see it as sustenance (sometimes yummy sustenance!) They are reasonably lean, and it is not genetics.
-body integrity: you are hungry - you eat
-it does not teach delayed gratification. There are other life opportunities for this, though. Maybe food is not an area where we need delayed gratification - but maybe it is? I need to think about that more.
-as if evident from this thread, it does not teach food planning. I am not sure this is overly relevant for young families (food planning is not their job) but as kids move into adolescents it might be useful to learn that there are consequences to eating things when you want them.
-it can be messier. If you make food 3 times a day and eat 3 times a day, there is mess 3 times a day. If people make food and eat whenever, there is mess whenever. People can be taught to clean up after themselves though, but this takes time.
-people who free range might reach for the most convenient thing as opposed to a healthy thing. I do try to keep junk food at normal levels, and have quick, preferably mess free stuff to grab. DD is eating a healthy and yummy trail mix as we speak.
I have few regrets about letting the kids free range on food and the pros have definitely outweighed the cons. My kids really are quite devoid of food issues. It is not a perfect system though, and has some pitfall to think about/watch out for. HTH.
Edited by kathymuggle - 9/13/12 at 11:02am