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My partner
and I disagree about how to react to our children's food choices. He favors rules and restrictions, while I tend to encourage a more laissez faire approach. His biggies are restricting sugar and sweet foods, and enforcing 'rules' at the table like they must try one bite of everything. While I see the value of those rules, I worry that having rules about food at all is going to turn out to be a mistake. I would rather use the approach of us modelling good nutrition and eating habits and let the rest of the chips (ha! I said "chips") fall where they may.

I am collecting research studies to sway my (very science-oriented) partner to my point of view. I'd love suggestions, links, leads etc. to add to my arsenal. So far I have:

Development of Eating Behaviors Among Children and Adolescents which states, in part:

Quote:
Child-feeding practices that control what and how much children eat also can affect their food preferences. Child-feeding strategies that encourage children to consume a particular food increase children's dislike for that food.75-77 Many of the foods that parents encourage children to consume are the fruits and vegetables they would like to see consumed with greater frequency and in greater quantities. Hertzler78 noted that parents' feedback to children about eating vegetables was associated with children's preferences for fewer vegetables. Because parents tend to encourage children's consumption of fruits and vegetables and to limit foods high in energy, sugar, and fat, directive styles of child-feeding may negatively affect children's liking of these foods by teaching them to dislike the very foods we want them to consume and to prefer those that should be consumed in relatively limited quantities.
And a research study about childhood food rules that concludes:

Quote:
We do not know the long-term impact of food rules on eating habits, and many questions remain. A primary hypothesis generated from the present study is that using food to control behavior, either as a reward or punishment, may have an impact on maladaptive eating behaviors in adulthood. It is likely that most parents want to encourage healthy eating habits for their children.

While parents are responsible for their child's eating patterns, the rising rates of obesity and the existence of eating disorders can create confusion as to what are the appropriate actions for parents to take. On one hand, research suggests that withholding foods from children can lead to their increased desire and intake of those same foods (Fisher & Birch, 1999a, 1999b), but at the same time many parents are worried about obesity and may consequentially restrict access to unhealthy foods. Thus, despite concerns that depriving children of certain foods can lead to problematic eating, parents may feel that they have to control their children's food intake to ensure that they do not overeat unhealthy foods
And, finally, Restricting access to palatable foods affects children's behavioral response, food selection, and intake:

Quote:
Restricting access focuses children's attention on restricted foods, while increasing their desire to obtain and consume those foods. Restricting children's access to palatable foods is not an effective means of promoting moderate intake of palatable foods and may encourage the intake of foods that should be limited in the diet.
How do you think he might argue back? How can I prepare to defend my case? (We enjoy having educated debates on topics such as this, it's not a negative thing.
)
 

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Sounds like you're on the right track. From my point of view I don't want rules about food at all. I trust the human body to tell us when it's hungry and what it needs. As long as healthy foods are in the house (and not just TONS of junk...) I think that children make healthy choices. When my dd (nearly 2yr fwiw) asks for more ice cream, I give it to her. She also has no problem pushing the bowl away with some left when she's done.
We've never made it a big deal. She sometimes asks for a cookie before dinner. We give it to her. She often then sets the cookie down to eat broccoli


-Angela
 

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Just from my personal experience here are my thoughts. We plan to have lots of healthy food available, serve that food and obviously eat it ourselves. We normally don't keep sweets or junk food in the house so I don't see us starting to just because we have a child.

When I was growing up I had to try one bit of any food before I could say I didn't want it. I would then periodically have to try it again. I'm actually really glad this was the case - I didn't hate it at all because I knew I only had to take one tiny bite and if it was gross I didn't have to eat it. However, I (yes, even as an adult) have found some very yummy things. I'm always willing to try something new and every few years will re-try things I don't like. As an adult I've found that I absolutely love some things that I used to hate as a child.

Just my .02
 
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