To raise healthy eaters, consider adopting the Division of Responsibility when feeding your children. The Division of Responsibility clearly separates and defines the mealtime responsibilities of both the parent and child. Parents are responsible for what, when, and where eating occurs. Children are always responsible for how much and whether to eat at all! It is an evidence-based approach developed by Ellyn Satter, MS, RDN, MSSW, an expert in child nutrition.
To implement the Division of Responsibility, use the following guidelines:
- Provide meals and snacks that are healthy and balanced at structured times
- Do not make special meals for picky eaters; instead, offer a balanced meal that combines foods they like and new flavors
- Resistance is normal; roll with it and avoid putting a lot of pressure on food or forcing a child to eat
- While the parent is ultimately responsible for what is served, involving children in meal planning and preparation can help pique interest
- Model healthy eating yourself – your children will learn from you
For more information, visit the Ellyn Satter Institute.