This is my suggestion:
Add a toggle in the options to select whether food is required for resting or not. If the player selects that it is required, either the amount of food required per rest or the amount of food available in the world (or both) could change depending on the difficulty or as a separate option.
This would let people who want to manage resources do so and those who don’t want to manage resources avoid it. It would also use a system they already created and so hopefully would not be as much work.