83% of mums lie to their toddlers at dinnertime, study reveals

Frustrated mums admit to telling fibs in a bid to get their children eating fruit and vegetables


Dinnertime with toddlers can be a patience-testing experience at the best of times, so it’s little surprise that eight out of 10 mums resort to lying about food to encourage their child to eat healthily.


The study by Philips Avent questioned 3,000 mums and found that the biggest frustration at the dinner table was convincing toddlers to eat fruit and vegetables, which meant 83% had to get creative and start fibbing…

Admitting to at least two lies a day, 50% of harassed mums revealed that they find it most difficult when their little ones suddenly decide to stop eating foods they previously liked. While 40% admitted that wanting to eat whatever’s on mummy’s plate rather than theirs was irritating.

The most common lie was telling toddlers that eating fruit and veg would make them really strong like their favourite TV hero (65% admitted to using this line!) and that eating carrots will make them see in the dark. Others include Popeye strength found in spinach and that the ice cream van only plays music when it runs out of lollies!

However, while mums are lying through their teeth, four in 10 feel guilty about it and say they do it because they worry their children aren’t getting enough nutrients – which will explain why 41% try and hide unwanted food amongst something they do like!

“Parents looking for an easier time at the dinner table should remember that the best way to get them enjoying eating is to interact with them and get them interested,” Dr Gillian Harris, a child psychologist advises. “If the child is interested in what’s going on their plate and what they put in their mouth, parents are less likely to need to battle to get them to eat.”


If your toddler is a fussy eater come dinnertime, check out MFM’s guide to get your fussy child eating. Or take a look at our selection of fuss-free food to fend off mealtime battles.


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