What Kind of Feeder Are You?

Fueling Healthy Kids: Module 1

a person and a girl eating food.

Feeder Quiz

Complete this simple 'Yes or No' quiz to find out what your feeding habits are. (Be sure to record which questions you answer 'Yes' to.)

  1. You are a component of the "Clean Your Plate" club.
  2. Dessert is included as part of a meal.
  3. "You may have dessert, but only If you finish your ___________."
  4. Your child/children determine(s) whether they choose to eat or not.
  5. Travel to multiple stores is necessary to accommodate specific, individual requests from your child/children.
  6. While "no" might be the first answer, your child can usually guilt you into a "yes."
  7. What to fix for dinner is usually determined on the spur of the moment.
  8. Snack access is unlimited and without regard to the time of day.
  9. You plate your child's food.
  10. Grocery store visits are inconsistent and irregular.
  11. Boundaries are created surrounding snack times and snack choices.
  12. Parents might skip meals regularly with disregard to the importance of food.

Quiz results: 

  • If you checked 'Yes' to 2 or more of questions 1, 3, & 9 - you might be a Helicopter Feeder.
  • If you checked 'Yes' to 2 or more of questions 5, 6, & 8 - you might be a Permissive Feeder.
  • If you checked 'Yes' to 2 or more of questions 7, 10, & 12 - you might be a Removed Feeder.
  • If you checked 'Yes' to 2 or more of questions 2, 4, & 11 - you might be a Thoughtful Feeder.

Click on the Feeder Type below for more information:

What is a Helicopter Feeder

A Helicopter Feeder refers to a controlling feeder that tries to control everything a child takes in. While it is important for parents to follow their roles in feeding, determining what, when and where, a controlling feeder does not honor the child's role in eating. By overriding a child's role to determine whether or not they eat and how much they eat you teach your child to ignore their natural satiety of fullness. This style of feeding tends to create stress at the table making it more difficult for your child to try new things or want to engage in family dinner. A controlling feeder will also deprive a child of the autonomy they desperately crave as they are learning to become more independent.

What is a Permissive Feeder

A Permissive Feeder (or indulgent feeder) is one who gives in to all of their children's desires. This is typically justified by comments like, "He is a growing boy," or, "She's so skinny it doesn't matter what she eats." Sometimes, parents are trying to win their children's praise out of personal guilt they feel for always being out of town for work or missing a ballgame, for example. Ultimately, this type of feeding does more harm than good. As an indulgent feeder, a parent is failing to abide by their roles in feeding children. A parent decides what, when and where. When a parent decides what - he or she is not expected to travel all over the city to accommodate everyone's first choice. When a parent decides when - he or she is at liberty to say "Kitchen is Closed," reserving snacking to designated times.

This style of feeding can result in a lack of essential vitamins and nutrients, as children are given full autonomy of what they want to eat while not being mature enough to make balanced decisions. It can also create an inability to establish designated meal and snack times, inhibiting the child's ability to establish fullness due to constant 'grazing.'

What is a Removed Feeder

A Removed Feeder is an uninvolved feeder; typically a parent that puts priorities on everything but food. Maybe this is from their own personal upbringing or views on their own intake of food. Dinner is rarely planned, the pantry and fridge is more commonly empty as a parent relies on last minute meal planning. The challenges with uninvolved feeding is the natural tendency and security children feel when they are on a routine. When they know breakfast, lunch and dinner times and locations, and can be dependent on regular snack availability. The inconsistency can create stress and uncertainty in children and can lead to overeating as they do not know the next meal time.

What is a Thoughtful Feeder

A Thoughtful Feeder, also known as a diplomatic feeder, assigns value to the importance of feeding children both a healthy diet — and in a method that promotes healthy food relationships. They follow the rules of division, providing planned meals they are not negotiable, a balance of nutrients, and regular meal and snack times. They honor a child's decision to not eat something on their plate without shame or frustration. They create a dinner table that is inviting and without judgement.

What's Next? 

Let's learn what a leading expert in the field of dietary nutrition says about the roles of parents and children at mealtime.