02/12/2013 05:31 pm ET

How To Avoid Making Meals A Power Struggle

For many families, sitting down for a meal together often means fighting over food -- what's on the menu, who's eating (or not eating) what and how much. But who wants that night after night? To avoid mealtime squabbles, try not to talk about food at the table. Merely serve the meal without comment. Of course, if your child is a picky eater, holding your tongue can require a lot of restraint. But your child will benefit in the long run if you don't harp on his eating habits throughout the meal. "It's your child's decision whether or not to eat, what to eat from what is being offered, and how much of it," says Nancy Hudson, a registered dietitian at the University of California at Berkeley.

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