Photo: CNN

Parents play a critical role in the development of healthy eating habits for the entire family. According to Jill Castle, a registered dietitian, childhood nutrition expert and mother of four, there are four feeding styles, but only one that will encourage the development of a balanced diet.

A balanced diet has endless benefits from maintaining healthy body weight to preventing diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer. 

Parental Feeding Styles 

Authoritarian
A parent-centered style that includes controlling and restricting foods. Parents ask children eat all of their food or “take three more bites.” As a result, children are not able to identify their own hunger and fullness cues.

Permissive (and Neglectful) 
Parents create an environment where children can eat whatever they want and includes reward tactics. Sweets or favorite foods are used as rewards for eating the “healthy food”on their plates first or for doing well in school. This prevents the child from understanding the nutritional value of food.

Uninvolved (or Neglectful)
Failing to plan meals or not make that weekly grocery trip a priority causes children to worry about where their food will come from. This may lead to a child becoming insecure. 

Authoritative: 'Love with limits'
Castle defines the authoritative style as the "love with limits" style. Parents who engage with their children, while maintaining boundaries and structure create a home full of love and respect. 

"When you take away the pressure, the kids become a bit more adventurous and have a better relationship with food. They're not going to go the birthday party and have four cupcakes." Victoria Stein Feltman, a registered dietitian and co-founder of Apple to Zucchini, a healthy-eating resource for parents and families said in an interview with CNN.



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Sandee Gruner

Sandee Gruner is a full-time working mom with a love for writing and communications. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two children, where she enjoys spending time with her family, exploring local attractions and volunteering.

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