Google+ Authentic Parenting: Forget Three Meals a Day (rerun)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Forget Three Meals a Day (rerun)

As my daughter ate a small hotel package of butter this morning, I had to repeat to myself in my head what I read in the "The Paleo Diet" (L. Cordain): You can only eat so much pure butter until you had enough... Maybe this rule doesn't apply to my little girl, must be genetic, her daddy has the same condition.

So I said to myself: "Relax, just remember that most of the time, she is asking for fruit, fresh juice, bread or nuts." She even eats the occasional raw carrot between meals. She hardly ever asks for cookies, nor will she overeat on chips. That's the power of radical unschooling for you.

I must admit, there was a time when I was convinced my daughter was only going to eat healthy things and would never get chips, peanuts, cookies, pie, cake, ice cream and what not. That time is long gone. By choice!

When I first started reading up on radical unschooling, I found a blog post about food. Radical unschooling basically means you hand your children the right tool kit and trust them to make the right decisions for themselves in all aspects of life. Food is one of those things.
Basically it comes to this where food is concerned: let them have it, tell them about the nutritional value of each food and then allow them to make their own choices. Now with a 20 month old, you can imagine there's not a great deal of explaining about the nutritional value of food, but we do leave her to decide. She can have whatever is around (with a few exception such as raw meat/fish/seafood and non-edible stuff, of course) and surprise, surprise! She hardly asks for cookies or chips.

When my daughter gets hungry, she'll go to the kitchen and point out what she wants, either from the fridge or the kitchen cabinets. She'll have a bit of chocolate when we're having some. She eats potato chips when we're out and about and they're on the table. But given the choice, 3 times out of 4 she'll pick an apple instead of a cookie.

If you are still worried: You are doing the grocery shopping, not them. Maybe you should reconsider your own diet if you are worried about what your children might or might not be eating. Make sure you have the healthy food options right there for them to consume. Think about it: if you are worried about your child eating something you eat, then why are you having it?

I really believe that, given the choice on a regular basis, even this small, children can make the right decisions for themselves. Same goes for the amount of food they eat.

For Flying Spaghettimonsters' sake, stop pushing your kids into a three full meals a day schedule! Be a hobbit, will you! It's not even right for us! Let them eat when they're hungry and eat until they're full!
If they're happy and healthy, there's no need to be worried if your child doesn't eat a full serving at dinner. Food should be fun, not a cause of stress. They are much more in touch with their body then we are.

Our parents' mania of three meals/ finish your plate etc pushed us completely out of touch with our body's needs and makes us overeat, eat the wrong things and go hungry between meals.
Next to eating the wrong food, not listening to our bodies' needs is one of the main reasons so many people are obese in Western society.

Trust your kids! We trust our pets to eat the right amount of food and let them fast if they so desire, so why would we force feed our children?

Three meals a day is a practical thing, not a health choice. It's so much easier to have scheduled eating for schools/employer. It is also easier on the designated cook. It is not better for your body.

Read on:
Unschooling and food
Radical unschoolers network
Baby led weaning

Until next time!
Leave a comment...



  1. Great post! And, wonderful to hear as we've finally made the decision to truly open up our cabinets to our little one. At 24 months, he appears to be running a bit rampant with the sweets, but I take comfort in the fact that he still loves an apple, and still asks me to peel the occasional carrot!

  2. Hi anarchist mom,
    If food freedom is completely new to your child, you might notice some sweets gone wild for a little while. Don't intervene. This behavior is just part of his adaptation to freedom. Once he realizes that those sweets are there and he can have them whenever he wants, he'll go back to eating healthy things in no time.
    My daughter has truly had 'all access' ever since she was about 18 months and she's very balanced in what she eats.
    Oh and don't be afraid of food interest boosts, where they seem to be eating only one thing for an extended period of time. These phases do pass and they're just part of their development.
    If you have any questions about food liberty, let me know.

  3. Super post butter never did baby Krishna any harm :) butter sourced consciously is a good food x

  4. Super post butter never did baby Krishna any harm :) butter sourced consciously is a good food x


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