DO NOT SAY THIS...
"Eat that for me."
"If you do not eat one more bite, I will be mad."
Phrases such as these teach children to eat for someone's approval and love. This can lead children to have unhealthy behaviors, attitudes and beliefs about food and themselves.
"You're such a big girl; you finished all your peas."
"Look at Jenny! She ate all of her bananas."
"You have to take one more bite before you leave the table."
Phrases such as these teach children to ignore fullness cues. It is better for children to stop eating when full or satisfied than when all of the food has been eaten.
"See, that didn't taste so bad, did it?"
This implies to children that they were wrong to refuse the food. This can lead to unhealthy attitudes about food or self.
"No dessert until you eat your vegetables."
Offering certain foods as a reward for finishing other foods makes those foods seem more desirable than others. For example, trying to get children to eat vegetables by offering dessert usually backfires. Children think there is something wrong with the vegetable if they are being rewarded with dessert.
"Stop crying and I will give you a cookie."
Getting a food treat when your child is upset teaches him to eat to feel better. This can lead to overeating.