Expert explains: 4 sentences parents shouldn’t say while eating

We still know some sentences from our own childhood. “If you don’t eat up, the weather will be bad tomorrow” for example. Ordinary phrases like these can be repeated often enough, but they can influence the behavior of our children and should therefore be viewed with caution. Parents should better not say these four sentences to their children.

A few sentences are said regularly between parents and children to encourage the offspring to eat up. Of course, this is never meant in a bad way. Moms and dads simply want to teach their kids how to handle food sustainably, where as little as possible should be thrown away and healthy food is eaten. But in some cases, statements can do more harm than good. Nutrition expert Jennifer Anderson explains on CNBC Make it which phrases often used in everyday family life can lead to unhealthy behavior in children.

According to nutrition experts, it is better not to use these sentences

If you eat up, there’s another ice cream

Luring the offspring with a delicious dessert when the broccoli is spurned or the spinach is not to be eaten can lead to unhealthy eating behavior in your child in the long run. In this way, it learns that healthy food only triggers a craving for food when compared to the unhealthy alternative. The sentence does not motivate people to consume healthy food, but gives the impression that they are inedible and have to be helped with sugar.

How to do it better: Yes, many of us have learned not to play with food. But it can certainly help children to be more open to an unpopular vegetable. Perhaps the broccoli will become a forest, the Jägersoße is the earth and the mashed potatoes are the blooming rapeseed fields – or the broccoli will become a microphone into which people sing before it can be eaten. Playing with food makes it an experience. Your child learns what something looks like, tastes, smells or sounds like when a pea is crushed. According to studies, this can also take away the fear of new foods.

Alternatively, it can help to simply let your child decide for themselves. This strengthens one’s own decision-making ability and makes it better in the future to express one’s own opinion. For example with a: “You can eat the broccoli when you’re ready.”

If you’re calm, you can have a biscuit

Here the child is also bribed with something sweet, if it conforms to our wishes. This can lead to remembering sugary snacks as a reward. A behavior that with regularity harmful can be.

How to do it better: Create other stimuli, like with: “If you’re quiet, we can play one of your favorite games tonight” – you also spend a good time together and your child realizes that activities can be a reward. You can eat biscuits whenever your child feels like it – and not just on special occasions.

One more bite before you can say no

Has your child tasted the food and loudly protested that they didn’t want to continue eating? This is a good thing because your child already knows what they like and dislike and how to express it. It is important that you also hear this opinion and do not force it to give the unpopular food another chance. Your child shouldn’t learn that his:her “no” has no powerwhen it just doesn’t feel like something. This can lead to problems later with saying no in general.

The same applies if it is “already totally voooll”. If it gets hungry later, remember: It is a learning process for the little one. Knowing when he:she is still hungry or full is a measure that your child is allowed to find out for themselves.

How to do it better: Focus on your child politely turning down food when they’re full or don’t like the food. For example like this: “We say ‘No thanks’ when we don’t want to eat something anymore” – the right behavior is the more important insight here.

It would make me happy if you eat a little more

your child should not learning that food is there to make you happy – or can make you sad or disappointed if you undereat. Most of the time, the parents want the child enough nutrients consumes and that is of course important. But you can communicate better in other ways even making healthy eating exciting.

How to do it better:“Carrots are high in vitamin A, which is good for your eyes and helps you see better” – that sounds much more exciting for small children who often dream of being a superhero anyway. Let your:e little:n learn what healthy eating means for your own body. This creates an incentive to eat healthier and be more open to new foods.

Sources used: CNBC Make it,, the british psychological society


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