Say No To Force-Feeding

Taste the food.  Taste it!  Just a little bite!  You don’t know if you like it unless you try it, right?

How’s Your Appetite?

Force-feeding is counterproductive, says a U.K. study soon to be published in the journal, Appetite.  The researchers found that parents who pressured children to eat–especially if the child was a slow eater or picky– were less likely to succeed at getting their child to eat the food.  Says the study’s author, Claire Farrow, “if parents or caregivers override their children’s signals of hunger and fullness — as in pressuring the child to eat when not hungry– then often children struggle to regulate their appetite appropriately in the future.”  (source)

Let Your Child Decide

Farrow’s study, and others done in this arena, point toward trusting the child’s sense of hunger, as in, the child will eat when hungry and stop when full. According to Dr. Anne Eglash, a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Healtharticle, parents should, “… offer a range foods and snacks, and then sit back and let their children take the lead.”

Encourage… Sans Force

My two cents: empower child to try new foods (keep foods you want child to eat in the house at all times; prepare the food in a variety of ways).  Verbal or brute force (think: hitting child’s plate with your own fork) can surely backfire.


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