I want to address the topic of grazing (defined as the child choosing when and how much to eat as they feel like it and not following a defined eating schedule). Since it wasn't the point of another thread it was mentioned in I thought it would be best discussed here in debates.
In this thread we're addressing eating habits in school aged children... not babies and toddlers.
This article is good I think. It pretty much reflects my take on nutrition and kids...
addressing the specific topic is this...
and then fromDr. Ayoob suggests keeping kids on a regular meal and snack schedule — three meals and two to three snacks per day is appropriate. Though grazing may work for you, he advises against letting your kids do it, because what they're eating may not be nutritionally complete and it may interfere with their appetite for meals.
more families are snacking or “grazing” instead of eating regular meals. Meals are more likely than snacks to follow healthy eating principles of balance, variety, and moderation.
I just don't see a problem with parents, parenting... and that includes with feeding their children. I see learning self-control, delayed-gratification and moderation as a good thing. Now, during the first year I nursed DD whenever she wanted it. As a toddler she is allowed to graze for the most part. She tells me when she's hungry and I get her something to eat. Now... it she's hungry and I'm fixing dinner right then I tell her, ok honey, I'm fixing dinner now and she says ok and gets herself in her booster seat and sits ready for me to bring the food over.
Right now the kids are following the 3 meals and a couple snacks a day thing. But with them going to school I can't see that they are actually eating what I send and not trading their healthy foods for junk or just throwing most of their food away. I am really looking forward to starting homeschool. I will be able to make sure my kids are eating good healthy hot meals daily and getting regular healthy yet tastey snacks in between. DS who is not a morning eater can start his first lesson for the day while DD is eating her breakfast and can take his breakfast as soon as his body is ready for it. The rest of the days meals and snacks can be scheduled out evenly with lessons and activities. The kids will love having unlimited access to ice cold filtered water throughout the day.