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10 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Baby

10 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Baby

Help keep your infant healthy by following these dietary tips

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Before you feed your baby solid foods, remember what is safe and what is not.

Once your baby is able to eat solid foods, you want to give them the world. However, there are foods that are unsafe and unhealthy for their little bodies at such a young age.

Click here for Foods You Should Never Feed Your Baby and How to Prevent Picky Eating slideshow.

“Once it’s time to introduce solids, you can begin filling out your baby’s diet with a wide variety of complex nutrients and flavor profiles of real, wholesome—and preferably organic—foods they can touch, taste, and smell,” Alan Greene, MD and Pediatric Advisor for Plum Organics, told The Daily Meal. “Babies benefit from the exposure to new flavors and textures that solid foods provide. To ease the transition, you’ll ideally continue breast-feeding while your baby starts solid foods. As you introduce the first solids to your baby, there are a few foods you will want to avoid, but most are safe to enjoy!”

Your baby may be curious to try new things but you should definitely not feed them everything you eat. Exploring a variety of foods is important to set them up for healthy cravings down the line, but when it comes to feeding your baby, slow and steady wins the race. You should keep in mind this list of foods that pediatricians recommend avoiding until your baby turns one.

Berries and Citrus


Although fruits are encouraged for people at any age, strawberries and other berries contain a protein that is hard to digest by infants and early toddlers. Citrus fruits can be hurtful to the stomach as well. After he or she is a year old, this is a very healthy snack option. Just be sure to chop it into small pieces!

Bland Foods


“Feed babies the flavors you want them to learn to love,” Greene said. “While many doctors are catching up, there's still a misguided notion out there that babies need to start with simple, bland foods and build up to more complex flavors slowly, but new research shows us that bland food can be counterproductive and that choosing bright, complex flavors during pregnancy and the first 12 months can help babies develop an appreciation for foods that are good, and good for them.”


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.


10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child About Food

As parents, we all say things to encourage our kids to eat healthier. Yet, in our modern, food-centric environment, even well-intentioned comments can be translated into negatives that hinder eating.

So, here are 10 common "food statements" parents often say to kids, how kids are likely to translate them and more effective things to say and do.

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He/she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say: "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

Rationale: Instead of feelings of inferiority, you want to instill confidence that the child can and will like the food in their own time.

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't call attention to picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Rationale: Avoid labeling children as "picky" as this is a normal stage of development and the label tends to stick.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say: "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

Rationale: Children accept "no" much better when they know why they can't have something and when they will have it again.

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom/dad/empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

Rationale: When children are in charge of how much to eat, they learn how to effectively manage hunger (hint: sometimes, mistakes have to be made).

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.

Rationale: Research shows that children learn to prefer the reward food over the "have to eat" food.

6. "Good job!" (after eating more than usual)

Translation: "Mommy and daddy are proud of me when I eat more food or finish my plate."

A better thing to say: "You always do a good job eating when you listen to your tummy."

Rationale: Praising children for eating more food teaches them quantity is preferable to following one's appetite, which varies from meal to meal.

7. "Eat this, it's good for you."

Translation: "It tastes bad."

A better thing to say: "This tastes really good and is similar to X that you like."

Rationale: Studies show taste rules children's food preferences and they benefit from getting more information about a new item.

8. "If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie," or "If you don't stop doing that, you won't be getting ice cream tonight."

Translation: "Every time I'm good, I should get a treat!"

A better thing to do: Let them know ahead of time the consequence that will happen if they misbehave -- and leave food out of it.

Rationale: Think about the long-term effects of constantly rewarding with food. For example, in a 2003 study published in Eating Behaviors, adults who remembered food being used to reward and punish were more likely to binge eat and diet.

9. "We don't eat cake often because it is bad for you."

Translation: "I like everything that is bad for me (Bad = pleasure)."

A better thing to say: "Cake is not a food we eat all the time. We'll have some cake this weekend at Jake's birthday party."

Rationale: Labeling food as "good" and "bad" creates judgment around eating. Instead, teach children how all foods fit into a balanced diet based on frequency of eating.

10. "You don't like dinner? Want me to make you something else?"

Translation: "I never have to venture out with food because mom/dad will always make my favorites!"

A better thing to say: "We all get the same meal for dinner sometimes you get your favorite, and other nights someone else does."

Rationale: Eating meals together teaches children eating is a family affair and it encourages them to accept a wider variety of food over time.

Never underestimate the power your words have when it comes to children and food. If you are looking for positive and effective ways to feed your child at any stage of development, check out my book, Fearless Feeding, to get the support you need.

Any of these statements ring true with you?

This post originally appeared on Maryann's blog, Raise Healthy Eaters.