According to researchers at Michigan State University, those who eat a healthy diet at home set the best example for children who subconsciously monitor every mouthful, a leading daily has reported.
Scientists, who studied eating habits of low-income families, found that the mothers who want their children to eat well should adopt healthy eating habits themselves and encourage their children to eat decent foods.
Those that use force, rewards or punishments to encourage their children to eat vegetables were far less successful, it was found.
Lead researcher and nutrition expert Sharon Hoerr said: "Mothers should stop forcing or restricting their kids` eating.
"They`d be better off providing a healthy food environment, adopting balanced eating habits themselves and covertly controlling their children`s diet quality by not bringing less healthy foods into the house."
The study appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.