Want Healthy Kids? Change Your Diet, Mom

In many households, parents get kids to eat their veggies using bribery or punishment tactics.

“If you eat your carrots, you get dessert.”

“If you don’t eat your carrots, you can kiss that birthday party goodbye.”

And while the struggle to get children on board with a healthy diet can be tough–especially when they live in a culture that’s addicted to sugar and saturated with messages about fast food–new research suggests it all starts with mom.

Encouragement more successful than punishment tactics

A Michigan State University study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed the eating habits of low-income families. The results found that moms who lead by example with healthy eating had kids with healthier diets. Sound obvious? The study also found that moms who persuaded and encouraged eating vegetables–not forcing, ordering or using punishment tactics–were more successful.

The findings highlighted other important habits about meal time, too. It appears that prohibiting a child from eating certain foods when others are enjoying them can lead to unhealthy eating habits. It’s also important to have regularity with meals and snacks and allow children the freedom to control how much they eat, researchers said.

As for those children who don’t seem to like anything?

“With picky eaters, it’s best to coax and encourage them to eat rather than yell at them,” said Sharon Hoerr, MSU professor of food science and human nutrition. “Other ways to get them interested in having a balanced diet is to take them to the grocery store or garden and help them select new foods to taste, as well as allow them to help cook at home.”

Hoerr notes that setting children up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits should not be based on rigid rules or restrictions, and that mothers play an important role in shaping how their children will perceive what tastes good.

“They’d be better off providing a healthy food environment, adopting balanced eating habits themselves and covertly controlling their children’s diet quality by not bringing less healthy foods into the house.”

Source: Science Daily

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on EatingDisorders.com.

All calls are private and confidential.

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW 800-568-9025Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?