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Parents’ role in healthy eating

If you worry that your child isn’t eating their vegetables, don’t. That’s because your role as a parent is to decide what foods to serve your family, and at what time. It’s up to your child to decide how much to eat, and whether to eat. This approach is called the “Division of Responsibility,” which was coined by renowned childhood eating specialist, Ellyn Satter.

This is often easier said that done, as our own childhood experience may have included the “clean your plate” mentality. Resist the urge to coax your children to eat more or choose certain foods. Letting your child decide how much to eat also prevents power struggles and takes the pressure off you.

Children naturally know how much they need to eat. Trust your child’s instinct to listen to their hunger and fullness cues, which prevents overeating. Children’s hunger tends to fluctuate depending on their activity level and whether they’re going through a growth spurt. Letting your child decide how much to eat also prevents power struggles.

In planning what to eat, consider some of their favourite foods without catering to all their whims and being a short order cook. Sit-down meals and snacks develop good eating habits in the long run.