My post What happens when you let children eat what they want got a lot of attention, with many positive and some critical comments both on the blog and facebook. A few people commented that some modern food is intrinsically addictive and fundamentally ‘bad.’
But what I’d read in Kids, Carrots and Candy, is that after initially binging of the foods we’ve controlled and limited, our children will begin to intuitively feel what is right for their bodies, and that they’ll eat in a moderate and balanced way. That a child can be trusted to be in control, and allowing them that control is the very means that prevents them from developing food addiction.
I was really interested to read about the healthy options that people offer using sweetners that are more natural than refined sugar. I wondered if I should of just gone back to making my own healthy chocolate ice cream with avocados and bananas, and cake sweetened with maple syrup and coconut flour.
However I also know that my daughter loves real ice cream. My husband’s family are a big fan of desserts and real sugary substances. We live in Switzerland where bakeries give out chocolates to every shopper with kids, and we are in a multicultural city spending time with people making all sorts of different food choices. Just the other week a friend from my daughter’s ballet class ran up to her and gave her a pack of Haribo. Then a lady in the supermarket bumped into my daughter by accident and bought her a chocolate bar to cheer her up. It seems as if there are women everywhere with chocolate in their handbags in case they meet a crying child.
My daughter knows about the real stuff, and I can tell on her face when she wants it, that she’s thinking about it in that awkward moment when I hide away the chocolates we got given and hope she forgets about it. I didn’t want to do that anymore. What if I was making it even more appealing, by being secretive and controlling about it?
It feels like taking a big leap into the unknown to be ‘unschooling’ food or intuitive eating as it’s sometimes called.We’ve only been doing it for a couple of weeks, and my daughter’s still a big fan of chocolate for breakfast and lunch! By dinnertime she’s craving the more healthy stuff like apples, rice and veggies, which is a relief!
I keep asking myself if it will really work so I decided to read up on positive stories of people who have gone through this process with their children and come out the other side. So I’m sharing these resources and success stories for my own benefit too! I hope they inspire you as much as they’ve inspired me.
I’ll be adding links as I discover them so do drop back from time to time. And if you’ve written an unschooling blog post about food, let me know, I’d love to add it to the list!