Here are common "food statements" parents often make to kids, how they are likely to translate them and more effective things to say, reports a website:

1. "See, your (sister, brother, cousin, friend) is eating it, why don't you?"

Translation: "He or she is a better eater than me."

A better thing to say would be, "I know you'll get there, sweetie. It takes time -- and many tastes -- to learn to like a new food."

2. "You used to like blueberries -- you are so picky!"

Translation: "Maybe I won't grow out of this picky-eating thing?"

A better thing to do: Don't highlight picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

3. "For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream!"

Translation: "I'm never getting ice cream again!"

A better thing to say would be, "We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half hour away. We'll have some one day this week for dessert."

4. "You didn't eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table."

Translation: "Mom or dad or empty plate (external signals) is a better judge of when I'm done eating than what I'm feeling inside."

A better thing to say: "Make sure you got enough to eat because the next meal won't be until (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time)."

5. "If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert."

Translation: "I can't wait until the day I don't have to eat my veggies -- and can go straight to dessert!"

A better thing to do: Instead of nagging and food rewarding, offer tasty vegetables often and model healthy eating.


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