Letting your children serve themselves

Children are born knowing how much to eat. You don’t need to tell them how much to eat. They will eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full, all on their own. Let them learn by serving themselves! Teach them to take a small amount at first. They can get more if they are still hungry.


Listen to your child. If they say they are full, don’t force them to eat more. When children are given large amounts of food or are encouraged to clean their plates, they cannot stop eating when their bodies tell them they are full. Over time, they may learn to ignore when their bodies tell them that they are full and eat more than they need to. By letting children serve themselves, it allows them to decide what to eat from the healthy options you provide and decide how much to eat.


A good rule of thumb: You decide what, when, and where foods are offered and let your children decide whether and how much to eat. If your child doesn’t want to eat when the rest of the family is eating, have them sit with the family while everyone else eats. Make the food they would have eaten during the meal available for later if they get hungry. 


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