8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Force Your Children To Finish Everything On Their Plate

Do your kids throw tantrums when you ask them to finish everything on their plates? Well, we all know that kids are naturally picky eaters, and forcing them to eat makes them feel uncomfortable and especially guilty for not finishing their food. Although it’s completely fine to teach your kids not to waste food, it isn’t always beneficial to force a full plate on them. It can even result in negative consequences on their overall health and personality.

Read along to find out some of the main reasons why pressuring your kids into finishing off every last bite isn’t the best of the practices, even if your intentions are for their betterment.

1. Makes The Mealtime More Stressful

Makes The Mealtime More Stressful

Image: Shutterstock

Eating isn’t only about just getting full but also about enjoying the meal. When parents continuously keep telling their kids to not leave anything on their plate, they may feel more pressured, and forget about what they are eating and focus on how to finish it. This may cause them to hate the whole eating process and even say no to the desserts!

2. Makes Them Lack Decision-Making

When a kid knows how, what, and when to eat, they are more likely to be good at making eating decisions. Overfeeding them unintentionally, not giving them the freedom to choose, or not giving them the option to ask for more food might make them feel incapable of making healthy-eating decisions.

3. Makes Them Hate The Food

Makes Them Hate The Food

Image: Shutterstock

When the kids only have one sole purpose and that is to clean their plate like a mirror, it can get pretty hard for the parents to educate them about the nutritious benefits of the meal. Additionally, if children are constantly pressured to eat more food than they want, they may begin to develop negative feelings and attitudes towards food or mealtimes. This can lead to a lifelong struggle with food and eating disorders. And might also make them hate their favorite meals as well because too much of anything is just too much.

4. Makes Them Feel Bad About Themselves

Every parent at some point in life has told their children to finish their plates referring to the millions of people who aren’t grateful enough to afford and eat a single meal. Well, this comparison might be very effective in the short run but it doesn’t inculcate a healthy eating habit in kids at all. Kids instead of listening to their hunger cues, might start blaming themselves and feel guilty for not being able to finish everything on their plate. And this won’t either help the millions of people who go to sleep hungry or your kid, who goes to bed overfull.

5. Might Result In Overeating

Might Result In Overeating

Image: Shutterstock

Children’s stomachs are much smaller than adults and they naturally stop feeling hungry when they’ve had enough food for that meal. So, pushing them to keep eating even when they are already full can lead them to overeat or snacking in between meals which leads down a slippery slope toward obesity and other weight-related issues later in life.

6. Might Lead To More Food Wastage

Overfeeding your children against their will gives you an empty plate, but at what cost? Gradually, your kid will start throwing more tantrums and leaving more food day by day which will eventually lead to more food wastage. The amount of food you put on their plate will surely be left unattended by them and go directly into the dustbin in the end. So it’s better to serve less to avoid unwanted leftovers.

7. May Lead To More Health Problems

May Lead To More Health Problems

Image: Shutterstock

Forcing kids who don’t want any more food may increase risk factors associated with disordered eating patterns, like binge eating. It also might cause digestive problems if too much solid foods are consumed beyond one’s natural appetite level, leading to potential nutritional deficiencies. And the most instantaneous health problem is vomiting or constipation when overfed.

8. Teaches Them The Wrong Message

Your kids will start believing that quantity is better than quality if you continue to bug them to eat everything on their plate. They may start to negate the importance of balanced nutrition and focus on overeating a single food item to make their stomach full. And this will lead to a lack of appreciation for the quality and diversity of the foods they eat. And you know it, eating isn’t about it.

So the next time your little one says they are full and can’t eat more, just let them be. Not only this will help them regulate their eating habits but also lessen the unwanted tantrums you’d have to go through. Hopefully, the above-mentioned reasons will help you better understand your kids’ hunger cues. Let us know in the comment section, how did you respond to your kids occasionally leaving little amounts of food on their plates.

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.