To give a bit context: We are quite relaxed with food and eating. Our daughter (3 years old) is free to decide many things about eating. Most of the time she may decide what to eat (as long as she does not get too excessive with chocolate spread and the like), we would never force her to eat up and we'd like to not endorse, but at least tolerate experimenting with food, for we believe that it's kind of important to experience the world around you with all senses.
However, there are some restrictions:
- She will not get another of the same kind if she still has some
- She will not get more when she has already requested about 2 or 3 different foods
Anyway, we'd like to avoid wasting food, too. It's not that much of a problem with not eating up, since we can eat it up, but a bit more with the experimenting part. Generally speaking we have the rule, that if she experiments with the food she should eat up, for she usually leaves the food in a condition that nobody of us would like to eat it. Anyway, we still do not want to force her to eat up, hence we're kind of stuck to tell her (determined, but still calm), that we are angry about it, but there are no real consequences.
Sometimes it works giving her a bit of her food to experiment with and the rest will remain "untouched", but she can be very quick pouring her whole glass of milk in the bowl, at least rendering the milk undrinkeable.
Are there better strategies to avoid food waste while not forbidding experimeting with the food? How could we explain the whole matter to her, better?