Should You Make Your Child Eat What’s On Their Plate?

How well dinnertime goes can mean all the difference to family wellness, but when your child is full or claims not to like something on the plate in front of him or her, what should you do? According to a new survey, nearly nine out of 10 parents admit to throwing away part of their child’s main meal, but would it be better for their wellbeing if you made them finish their dinner?

Wasting food isn’t good for the environment, nor does it teach your child good practise for the future, so why do 86% of parents throw away part of their child’s main meal, and two thirds admit to polishing off a bit of those leftovers before chucking the rest? This is according to the survey conducted by Mumsnet to launch Food February #FoodFeb, a month-long celebration of food and nutrition, and of the 1,000 plus parents that were polled, only 12% felt as though they could boast that their child eats everything on his or her plate.

And it’s not for a lack of trying, as many of the parents polled said they go to great lengths to cater to their children’s individual preferences. 40% of parents cut the crusts of their children’s sandwiches and 55% of parents admit that they end up cooking multiple meals to please various family members, which certainly doesn’t do your emotional wellness any good when your toddler turns up their little nose at the specialised, nutritious meal you’ve so lovingly prepared, and is a strain on your time, energy and kitchen resources.

So what can you do to reduce the amount of food that your family wastes? You could making an extra effort to entice your family to the dinner table with delicious, home-cooked meals, as three quarters of those surveyed said they made their family meals from scratch, but perhaps something a little bit more underhanded is in order. 48% of parents say they use bribery in trying to cajole their children into eating their vegetables, whilst 54% try to conceal vegetables in sauces. Should you be tricking or bribing your child into eating vegetables? Or is taking away treats in lieu of a clean plate the answer? Look online for more information.

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