This isn't formal research, but I thought it applied to many of you parents who were struggling with how to help your sick children eat. As much as they try to fight you, they also need someone else to impose the consistency of meals and snacks.
A blog post from Psych Central really helps explain how and why kids not only need rules, but they come to like them. Here are a few pertinent quotes:
Kids feel more at ease and secure when they know who’s running the show.
[Kids] know they have a fair chance.
Kids have very few naturally occurring self control skills. Rules, however annoying, make a strong imprint over time inside their little brains. As an adult, they have the skills to start and establish other good habits besides the ones you taught them. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.