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free range food, and scheduled family members - Page 3

post #41 of 61
Thread Starter 

Pek...the thread has been helpful, some of the more recent stuff less so.

 

I did think of asking for the thread to be locked, I really did get what I needed out of it early on and intend to intiaite some changes. 

thumb.gif

 

I am going to try and be zen and not allow myself to become emmeshed in defending my views. Zen is not my forte, but I can try.

 

Namaste,

 

Kathy


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/12/12 at 4:36pm
post #42 of 61

I remember one moment growing up, and I laugh about it sometimes.  I was a latchkey kid, so my parents really didn't have much control over what I chose to eat during the week, and my dad had a sweet tooth as well.  We had a lot of cheap junk food in the house--store brand sandwich cookies and rock hard gingersnaps.  I loved them all.  So did everybody.  Days later, after grocery shopping my mother complained that we only left her 2 cookies!  My two thoughts were 1) I had no idea she wanted us to save her some cookies (we did leave 2!) and: 2) why she didn't just get on in there and eat them (they had been there *4 days!*)  My mother didn't complain too vocally, because my dad was just as "guilty" as we were.

 

I don't know why I wanted to respond, but I will say that there was most definitely a lack of communication beforehand.  Once we knew she wanted more cookies, I think we left her more.  

 

I think.  

 

The kids are capable of working this out.

post #43 of 61

I saw more than once on this thread the idea that if the older kids got x amount of junk food when they were 9, then it's ok for the 9 year old to get that much now. Do people *really* make things that equal? With years in between children?(years later, is what I mean...and how do you remember?) I can't imagine doing that! Things change, there is no way I'd handle things with #3 the way I did when #1 was that age.

post #44 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplerose View Post

I saw more than once on this thread the idea that if the older kids got x amount of junk food when they were 9, then it's ok for the 9 year old to get that much now. Do people *really* make things that equal? With years in between children?(years later, is what I mean...and how do you remember?) I can't imagine doing that! Things change, there is no way I'd handle things with #3 the way I did when #1 was that age.


Yeah, for real.  My older kids got to eat a lot more pizza and stuff than my youngest does... because we went gluten free (my husband, my older son and myself seem to need it for health reasons - nothing obvious with the other two kids, but you never know since both Dh and I have issues).  It's never going to happen.  *shrug*  Things change with time... nothing's every perfectly equal anyway.

post #45 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplerose View Post

I saw more than once on this thread the idea that if the older kids got x amount of junk food when they were 9, then it's ok for the 9 year old to get that much now. Do people *really* make things that equal? With years in between children?(years later, is what I mean...and how do you remember?) I can't imagine doing that! Things change, there is no way I'd handle things with #3 the way I did when #1 was that age.

In general?

 

No.  I try to make the best decisions I can based on the info I have, and I live mostly in the present.  

 

I try to treat people fairly and respectfully - but I do not strive for equal.  Striving for equal is exhausting, often places too much emphasis on the wrong things, and does not take into account individual needs.

 

I do think fair and equal can, occasionally, be related.  Sometimes things can be sufficiently unequal that they slip into unfair.  That might be what is going on here, but i have already started to have discussions that tweak things.  

 

Last night DD helped me make salsa.  She was not hungry, but asked if everyone would save her some for today.  Easy-peasy.  We just were not used to having these conversations very often before.

post #46 of 61

I am selfishly kind of glad the thread went on this long. Kathy, when you countered with the "it's not punishment it's a consequence" I had this big lightbulb moment around struggles I'm having with food and my kids.

 

(Err: disclaimer I read a lot of Unschooling literature and if you go by a textbook definition I think we qualify [certainly from the point of view of people coming from formal schooling] but culturally it seems like an add match for me in a variety of ways.)

 

My kids are 2 and 4 and they have just started figuring out how to "sneak" things. We have had an ongoing problem with them stealing sugar stuff out of the cupboards and then hiding to eat this. Up to now my approach has been: we eat at specific times (because I hate having to go get food every 15 minutes) and ask before you get things. I only say "no" it is for a good reason. This isn't working for the kids right now.

 

So reading about how you are thinking about this with your big kids is really useful. I decided to get the "problem" foods out of the house (the reason they are a problem is because we have serious problems with ants and you just can't drop sugar all over our house--it's not sanitary at all and we get swarms of ants for months) for a couple of years and I reorganized the cupboards so they can reach all the kid appropriate snacks.

 

I don't want to be the food police. I will only make food at the times when I'm going to make food but other than that if it is here you can eat it. That solves the dual purpose of: be careful what I buy.

 

Thanks for a useful thread. :)

post #47 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post

 

 

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.

 

Pros:

 

-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

 

 

Cons:

-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.

 

kathy


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/13/12 at 11:02am
post #48 of 61

It does help. Thank you. :)

post #49 of 61
I'm curious. What kind of things does everyone eat for the different meals? Do you make some kind of main dish which everyone helps themselves to, adding other items? Yes, I'm stuck in the 3 meals mentality.
post #50 of 61
Thread Starter 

Pek - I usually only cook one meal a day - supper. 

 

I do this to add variety to our diet,  to ensure one highly balanced meal is on order for the day, and to have a meal everyone sits down for.  No one has to eat it, but I have been known to encourage a taste when pickiness is rearing its head too much.  I have also tried to engage kids in food prep and gardening, which has helped the kids be interested in healthy food.  I do try to have a couple of suppers a week where people can build their own plate - like wraps, with such things as hummus, avocado, cheese, and varieties of veggies on the side.  They can put together their wrap as they see fit.   If they do not like the meal on offer, they can find themselves something else to eat (and clean up after themselves)

 

We do not eat meals - aside from supper.  We are grazers.

 

I am not sure what everyone ate today, as I did not keep track, but this is what I suspect from youngest DD:

 

-banana

-grapes

-carrots

-cashews

-numerous peanut butters on bread

-milk

-leftover quiche

She did not want the healthy supper I made (which was essentially a stir fry), so she skipped it.  Ds, the hollow leg, made pasta around 8:00 on with a red sauce and she had some of that.

 

I did do more food prep when they were younger (I.e I made the sandwiches when they were too young to wield a knife) but I have always tried to have lots of finger type foods around and easily accessible.  Even as babies, I skipped the spoon feeding, and went straight to easy finger foods (cheerios, cheese, diced fruit bits) which I placed on their trays and they could eat as much or as little as they saw fit.


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/14/12 at 8:21am
post #51 of 61
My kids know that if I buy a box of Klondike bars (or whatever), they each get X number of Klondike bars. Period. It doesn't matter who is home , or who is hungrier, or who has a growth spurt that week.

I don't have to police them.

They fuss about plenty of other things, but not about sharing food.
post #52 of 61
Thread Starter 

nm 

post #53 of 61

We have allergies in our house, so equal is not possible.

 

I mostly let them have what they want, except sweets.  At 5 and 7, how did you keep kids from eating way too much of that?  And becoming completely insane?  My oldest, especially, gets extremely crabby and growly (and bratty!)  Maybe not all kids do this.

 

Like today, dd1 wanted to go straight for the peppermints before anything else and she growled and grumped because I told her she needed food in her belly first.  Did your kids go through this?  They seem to be OK with the amounts we've negotiated, but if given their choice they would have ice cream, cookies and peppermints for breakfast.  (If they were better at "holding their sugar" I think I would be more lax on this.  DH, of course, will pin the blame for any behavior troubles straight on the sweets I let them have.)

 

Otherwise, they pretty much get to eat what and when they want, but I have to not keep expensive treats and snacks in the house or they eat those and none of the inexpensive, better-for-you stuff.  Some of the goodies are pretty expensive, too.  Not the peppermints, but some of the others, like dairy-free ice cream.

 

Because of "competing" allergies, I'd given up the idea of one-single-family-meal a long, long time ago.  

post #54 of 61
Equal is one thing, and unattainable. Fair is another.

For example, a child with a gluten allergy, who has siblings without the allergy, and all the junk food in the house contains gluten. Unfair.

Three children dividing 100 units of junk food versus 40 units of junk food when the older two are in school, has fairness in question. Though it may be working out. That was my point. Not to try to make sure that gram for gram they all got the same. That would be ridiculous! Just a general assessment of fairness.


Edited for typing.
post #55 of 61
Hmm the way we handle it in our house is -- most of the food in the house is available to eat any time of day (exceptions are things like the watermelon I am saving for a party later in the week). We don't really keep much in the way of traditional sweets in the house, although we do always have chocolate chips or a big bar of dark chocolate. DS is 3.5 years old. Sometimes he has a piece of chocolate when he wakes up in the morning. Sometimes he eats chocolate 3 times a day (but these are small bite-size pieces at least...) If we happen to have ice cream or something (rare), he sometimes has it for breakfast or dinner. For the most part though, the rest of his diet is really healthy & balanced, and eating sweets doesn't spoil his appetite or make him go crazy or anything. When he's hungry between meals, he usually grabs a piece of fruit or hummus or leftovers. DH or I prepare 3 meals a day. DS sometimes helps or asks for something specific, but most of the meals are just whatever I feel like preparing & feel is balanced & tasty. When there is a meal on the table, no one makes something different, but after the meal is over we might snack on other things. So I guess we are kind of semi-free-range? Compared to our friends I feel completely free-range (because we don't say things like, "No dessert until after dinner," or "You have to finish your vegetables,") but really, it's not a total free-for-all either, because we do often sit down together & eat the same meal, and I do expect DS to sit down with us & at least try what's on the table, and once in a while I will say he has already had many treats so I'd like him to eat something healthier instead of more chocolate (but I am usually willing to negotiate, it's more of a suggestion to him). He is also gluten-free, and I am strict about what we allow into the house -- no HFCS, nothing hydrogenated, no artificial colors or flavors, etc. Luckily he is a really great eater and likes almost anything, even "adult" types of food (tabasco sauce... blue cheese... sushi... etc.), and loves to try new things. I also think it helps that we don't have a lot of junk in the house. I feel that it would be hard to let him eat whatever he wants in any quantity, if the cabinets were filled with things I don't want him to eat much of. One of my tricks is to make healthy food that feels like a treat -- i.e. homemade popsicles made with just fruit & plain yogurt -- he can have popsicles for breakfast with no guilt on my part. And I do keep the chocolate and crackers and dried fruit in the top cabinets. Of course he can climb up there & get it, but the fridge and lower cabinets have the healthier choices so it's easier for him to grab fruit than junk. We talk a lot about how food makes us feel physically, mentally, etc. and which foods help us grow healthy & strong. I feel like I gently guide & set him up for healthy eating & it all just falls into place.
Edited by crunchy_mommy - 9/14/12 at 10:28am
post #56 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

 

 

I mostly let them have what they want, except sweets.  At 5 and 7, how did you keep kids from eating way too much of that?  And becoming completely insane?  My oldest, especially, gets extremely crabby and growly (and bratty!)  Maybe not all kids do this.

 

None of us seem to be affected, behaviourly, by sweets.

 

Still, sweets are not that good for us, so I limit the amount I buy or make.  You can't head for peppermints if they are not there.  I tend to buy the junk food, and if they eat it all at once - so be it.  It is the nutrition profile over days that matters, not individual days.  Does she recognise she gets crabby when she eats sugar?  My middle gets crabby if she does not eat enough - it has been a struggle to get her to realise this.  OTOH, DS feels ill if he eats too much grease (and meat) - so he does moderate his intake of those items.  It is almost easier when it is a physical effect rather than something more abstract like mood.

 

Good luck - she may need to learn that she cannot eat all the sweets she wants as it negatively affects her.  It is a bummer - but perhaps not awful in the long run.  My son probably eats the healthiest of all of us - and some of it is due to the fact that some unhealthy food makes him feel ill, if consumed in large quantities.  

 

Have you played around with things like stevia, honey, etc?  Maybe she can have treats, they just need to be different treats than other people eat.  

 

 

post #57 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Equal is one thing, and unattainable. Fair is another.
For example, a child with a gluten allergy, who has siblings without the allergy, and all the junk food in the house contains gluten. Unfair.
Three children dividing 100 units of junk food versus 40 units of junk food when the older two are in school, has fairness in question. Though it may be working out. That was my point. Not to try to make sure that gram for gram they all got the same. That would be ridiculous! Just a general assessment of fairness.
Edited for typing.

yeahthat.gif

 

This is pretty much the conclusion I am coming to.

 

Striving for equal, being the food police, placing too much emphasis on food?  No

 

Trying to make things more fair, encouraging consideration, and encouraging more communicating around food?  Yes

post #58 of 61
Quote:
 

I grew up in a big family so it was always understood that each kid would get one ice cream sandwich and then the box would be gone

 We have 6 children and this is pretty much how we do things.  If I see another child take "another" junk food item, I simply ask if everyone else has had at least one. If the answer is yes, that child is okay to eat the item.  If the answer is no, we come up with another solution.  

 

  I'm not sure punishing them by going to school is wise either.  Tough situation

post #59 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Equal is one thing, and unattainable. Fair is another.
For example, a child with a gluten allergy, who has siblings without the allergy, and all the junk food in the house contains gluten. Unfair.
Three children dividing 100 units of junk food versus 40 units of junk food when the older two are in school, has fairness in question. Though it may be working out. That was my point. Not to try to make sure that gram for gram they all got the same. That would be ridiculous! Just a general assessment of fairness.
Edited for typing.


I'm not sure if this was replying to my post, re: gluten, but I'm replying anyway.

 

Our situation is like this... we didn't realize we had gluten issues until DD was 5.  Up until then, we had been eating delicious artisan bread reasonably frequently... also pizza... also blah blah blah.  But because we now know, my 2 yr old won't get the opportunity to enjoy all those yummy things... because we've cut them out.  So basing the fairness on things that happened in the past is... not really gonna happen.

post #60 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post


I'm not sure if this was replying to my post, re: gluten, but I'm replying anyway.

Our situation is like this... we didn't realize we had gluten issues until DD was 5.  Up until then, we had been eating delicious artisan bread reasonably frequently... also pizza... also blah blah blah.  But because we now know, my 2 yr old won't get the opportunity to enjoy all those yummy things... because we've cut them out.  So basing the fairness on things that happened in the past is... not really gonna happen.

No. It was not replying to anyone regarding glutrn. I simply selected gluten for the example at random. Sorry for the confusion.
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