MU Extension MU Extension       University of Missouri    ●    Columbia    ●    Kansas City       Rolla     ●    St. Louis - Food and Fitness


Quick Answers


My father made me clean my plate as I was growing up. Should I insist that my children do the same?

Never force a child to eat, nor withhold food as punishment. Serve children small portions of nourishing food, then trust them to decide when the have had enough to eat. Forcing children to eat or encouraging them to eat “just one more bite” interferes with their ability to regulate how much they eat. Insisting that children clean their plates can lead to obesity and will set up a power struggle. 


Review Making Mealtime Pleasant with Young Children for more information.



Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., Nutritional Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri Extension













Can't Find Your Question Here? Try Searching Our Quick Answer Knowledge Base

Last update: Monday, February 09, 2009



University of Missouri logo links to

Site Administrator: 
Copyright  ADA  Equal Opportunity

MissouriFamilies is produced by the College of Human Environmental Sciences,
Extension Division, University of Missouri-Columbia