Unschooling Food – Our Progress

I’ve been struggling with food lately, having a bit of a wobble about it in fact.  I find it very hard to juggle all this strewing I need to do in order to be an effective unschooler.

It’s easier (apart from the dinner battles) to dictate meals and restrict sugar intake but it didn’t really work for us: M has always had just a few meals that she appreciated but they seemed so limited (think pasta and pesto and fish fingers 5x a week!); and D was similar with her limitations – she would eat lovely balanced meals but very few of them.  But my biggest issue was how much they both revered chocolate and would place that above all other food!

So my plan is/was to place chocolate on the same plateau (pardon the pun) as other foods.  It’s been about 6 months or so since we began unschooling food and so far it’s been partially successful.  M’s diet is slowly expanding to include different kinds of meat, a couple of fruits, almond milk and other wonders.  D is the reason for the wobble: she must have eaten chocolate wafers for 90% of our recent French holiday (the other 10% was olives, phew).  When we got back from France her diet has been 90% Cadbury’s Flake and 10% Nutella on toast.  I had hoped we’d be out of the chocolate bingeing phase by now but it seems not.

I want the sausages to be totally in touch with their bodies’ needs.  I can teach them all there is to know about nutrition but if they want chocolate, they want chocolate.  I am not going to tell D not to eat so much chocolate as I think she’d probably want it even more.  I don’t want her to feel guilty about eating it either.  I’m trying to remove all emotion associated with food (except joy!) so that the sausages grow up without any dietary issues that so many people have.

As is the way with unschooling, you have to unpick a lot of your own issues for it to be really effective.  I’ve found it really helpful to mentally remove all guilt from my chocolate eating habits.  Strangely, I found it very easy!  I can now eat chocolate in front of the sausages at any time of day, rather than sneakily stuffing it in my gob after they’d gone to bed. 🙂  And now I feel less guilty about it, I actually eat less of it!  Recently, I went on a ‘cream binge’ and I must have got through 3 or 4 pots of it (poured over strawberries) in a fortnight until my appetite was satiated.  I like to think that my body was telling me this is what I needed so I went with it… and it felt good!

So I’ve been working on making other food more attractive: I’ve bought some brightly coloured party platters which I plan to leave out in the lounge for the girls to graze on; and I’ve been putting platters out near where they’re playing.   Over the past few months I’ve become quite lax about monkey platters, partly because I ran out of ideas and partly because I don’t seem to find the time to organise them.  So I’m trying to get myself and the girls enthused about their food again by providing them with a range of easily accessible food, that looks tempting to eat.

One of D’s major food issues is that she won’t readily try new foods.  I’ve been baking various goodies to tempt her into a bit of home made food (even chocolate based food!) but although she’s happy to help me bake, she won’t eat the finished result.  I hope that by putting various foods out that she might not necessarily ask for, she’ll get used to the sight and smell of them without any pressure to try.

I am confident that we’re on the right path, but when you wander down a road that not many travel on, I guess it’s only natural to have a wobble now and then.

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12 thoughts on “Unschooling Food – Our Progress

  1. Have you tried asking D about her chocolate consumption? Perhaps she’s concerned that the chocolate supply will dry up (she’s anticipating a wobble of the kind you’re having!) and wants to get as much as she can before then? Or maybe she is like me, and although she in theory wants to eat more healthily and even recognises her body’s need for a healthier diet, it is so much easier to just grab a bar of chocolate than anything else. Anyway she might be able to shed some light on it, and have ideas about how to expand her diet.

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    1. Her answer is along the lines of that she just can’t help herself! It may be a worry that the chocolate will soon disappear, you’re right, or it could be that it’s too easy to grab! If she’s similar to me, she’ll be eating it because it’s delicious and has no apparent affect on her health or weight :-D. Fingers crossed that the monkey platters steer her towards other readily available food – I’ve already set 2 platters out this morning so fingers crossed!

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      1. Ah, I fully recognise the just can’t help yourself problem. I can’t have packets of biscuits or ice cream in the house, because I will eat it all in one sitting. I’m hoping to slowly retrain myself out of that compulsive eating! Monkey platters would certainly help me, I am gradually getting into the habit of making more foods easy to snack on. Good luck!

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  2. Have you tried things like vegetable cakes,(there’s a great book called Red.Velvet And Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood) and chocolate avocado mousse – 2 ripe avocadoso, 3 tbsp cocoa powder 3 tbsp honey or agave syrup, 1tbsp cold water optional dash of cinnamon or vanilla, you blend it all together, chill and serve with ripe pears, cherries or berries.
    Maybe you could help her to see how to combine her favourite chocolate things with other stuff to discover new tastes without compromising on chocolate!
    Baking as marvellous alchemy. It could be fun. Though what May above says sounds good too.

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    1. Hello! Thanks for the suggestions – I’m making my way through Chocolate Covered Katie at the moment, she has similar recipes. I tried making brownies with courgettes in this week – she wouldn’t go near them. Suspicious sausage 🙂

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  3. I make ice cream for Matilda just by food processing a frozen banana …you can add frozen berries or cocoa powder too.
    We are sugar free at home and apart from the odd treat (dont want to ban any foods for same reasons as you) out of the house, but tilds always wants to eat junk food no matter what! Have you ever made chocolate with them? Maybe embracing it and making some raw chocolate would be fun- you literally just need cocao butter and cacao powder…it is very strong so no way they could eat much

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  4. Hi Lucy, I loved reading this post about unschooling food. It’s something we’re doing at the moment too! It’s lovely to find other people that believe in unschooling food – it’s such an emotive topic and you’re completely right about it being a road that not many travel on. As such it’s easy to have doubts, but unschooling food is incredibly important to me for many reasons.

    If you fancy it, you can read our posts about unschooling food here: http://www.home-ed-life.com/category/unschooling-deschooling-food/

    All the best to you!
    Johleen 🙂

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Johleen! I like your blog, I shall be keeping an eye on it 🙂 By the way, I run an HE Bloggers group on FB if you would like to join and post on there too?

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  5. I realize this is an old post, but thought I’d leave a note to say how much I enjoyed it all the same! This is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and was happy to see your approach! Hope all is well with chocolate consumption in your family!

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