Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.5 Meal Service, Seating, and Supervision

4.5.0 Prohibited Uses of Food

Caregivers/teachers should not force or bribe children to eat nor use food as a reward or punishment.
Children who are forced to eat or, for whom adults use food to modify behavior, come to view eating as a tug-of-war and are more likely to develop lasting food dislikes and unhealthy eating behaviors. Offering food as a reward or punishment places undue importance on food and may have negative effects on the child by promoting “clean the plate” responses that may lead to obesity or poor eating behavior (1-5).
All components of the meal should be offered at the same time, allowing children to select and enjoy all of the foods on the menu.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start. 2009. Head Start program performance standards. Rev. ed. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Start Program/Program Design and Management/Head Start Requirements/Head Start Requirements/45 CFR Chapter XIII/45 CFR Chap XIII_ENG.pdf.
  2. Kleinman, R. E., ed. 2009. Pediatric nutrition handbook. 6th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
  3. Murph, J. R., S. D. Palmer, D. Glassy, eds. 2005. Health in child care: A manual for health professionals. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
  4. Benjamin, S. E., ed. 2007. Making food healthy and safe for children: How to meet the national health and safety performance standards – Guidelines for out of home child care programs. 2nd ed. Chapel Hill, NC: National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants.
  5. Birch, L. L., J. O. Fisher, K. K. Davison. 2003. Learning to overeat: Maternal use of restrictive feeding practices promotes girls’ eating in the absence of hunger. Am J Clin Nutr 78:215-20.