The Daily French Fry
Most little kids I know are fans of the french fry. What's not to love? There's a pile on my coffee table as I write this, as a matter of fact! When the Baker and Waters families go out to eat, all adults have an understanding: order table fries the very first thing.
So here's the deal. Our kids are not limited. They get to choose what they want to eat, and they get to choose how much of it, and when.
No, not "within reason," but absolutely.
Many parents are afraid that if they do that, their kids will only eat the one thing (french fries) until they make themselves sick and unhealthy and and and...
and so they restrict. They put adult-made rules on the amount, the frequency, or the place. They make french fry eating a precious commodity.
When kids are allowed to make their own choices about food, even food as delicious as french fries, they learn about themselves. They learn about how to monitor their own feelings. They can let go of the scarcity issues, rest assured that if they want more they can have more, and so let go of desperation that keeps us eating even when we don't really want more.
Ours are the kids who can leave Halloween candy for weeks, because they know they can always have access. Ours are the kids who will throw away a half-eaten popsicle, because they've had enough. How many adults can do that? Most of us were restricted, and we respond to that restriction.
Those fries, sitting on my coffee table, have been there for an hour. Since then, my kids have also had broccoli, rice, and chicken to eat. They occasionally snack on a fry, but it's clear to me they aren't very into them right now. Most kids I know, who have food restricted in some way, pounce on fast food french fries when they are available, and eat them until they are gone, regardless of their own hunger levels or real desire. We create a desire when we restrict. It's economic principle. It's human nature. It's totally, totally avoidable.