Many adults recall being forced by their parents to finish all the food on their plates when they were children. Nutrition and fitness expert Janet Bond Brill, PhD, RDN, FAND, LDN, warns that forcing children to consume food that they do not like or are not hungry for can lead to unhealthy eating habits. Instead, parents should focus on providing wholesome food and promoting good eating habits. Children need to be introduced to a variety of nutritious foods and taught how to prepare healthy meals. Parents also should teach children about intuitive eating—learning to listen to internal cues (feelings of hunger) rather than external ones (pressure from adults). Eating should not be a power struggle, and parents need to trust that their children will thrive by following their own natural instincts.

Visit Dr. Bond Brill’s website or purchase her latest book, Cholesterol Down.