anatomy of a feeding plan

The feeding plan I’m about to explain is really a feeding relationship.

In this relationship:

  • The parent outlines certain boundaries
  • The child is able to make independent decisions within those boundaries

In every relationship, each person has specific responsibilities.

In this relationship:

  • The parent makes the decisions about what food is served, when, and where
  • The child makes the decisions about whether to eat, and how much

Ellyn Satter, a highly acclaimed childhood dietitian has coined the term Division of Responsibility to describe these roles.

Imagine a line drawn between the decisions the parent gets to make and the decisions the child gets to make. Neither party is allowed to cross the line and make decisions for the other.

The foundation of this relationship is trust.

  • Children have to trust that their parent(s)
    • Will provide a variety of food choices
    • Will help them to learn to eat new foods
    • Will provide food at regular time intervals
    • Will create a pleasant and safe eating environment
  • Parents have to trust that their children
    • Will eat the amount that’s right for them
    • Will eat the type of food they need
    • Will learn to eat new foods
    • Will grow into the body type and size that’s right for them


Write down all the food that was offered to your child (and the time it was offered) in the past 24 hours. If you can’t remember, then record for the next 24 hours. This reflection will be reviewed after the next lecture.