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Picky Eaters

Right at the top of the list of parental frustrations is the picky eater. We do everything we can to dress up and disguise healthy foods only to have our children reject, sometimes vehemently, what we put in front of them. But there are some things you can do to help your picky eater overcome his food aversions. First, remember that most kids get the nutrition they need regardless of their somewhat odd eating habits. Try keeping a food journal for a few weeks. You'll probably notice that, even though he doesn't eat "right" at any given time, your child gets enough of all of the major food groups.

Encourage Experimentation and Rewards

Forcing your child to sit at the table until he eats all his asparagus is not going to work. If it does, this tactic will make mealtimes unpleasant for everyone. Encourage your child to try new foods by offering small incentives and rewards.

Enlist your Child's Help

Kids tend not to care much about nutrition, but they do like to be consulted and feel important. At this age, they are old enough to understand they need to eat healthy to continue growing and develop. You can have him help you make a grocery list and shop for the items he thinks he may like. Ask him to pick out a meat, dairy, vegetable, and fruit for the meal.

When All Else fails, Cheat

If your child absolutely refuses to eat healthy foods, sneak them into his favorites. Put tuna in mac and cheese, puree vegetables and add them to spaghetti sauce, and serve sweet breads stuffed with bananas and fruit instead of cake. If your child is a seriously picky eater, consult your pediatrician for advice.