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Child Nutrition and The Picky Eater


When family meals become battlegrounds, some parents end up boiling pasta five times a week or pureeing cauliflower into cheese sauce. But neither pandering nor trickery turn picky eaters into healthy adults.

If kids never see new foods on the table, they're unlikely to expand their mealtime repertoire. Children who discover beets in their brownies might feel betrayed and become less inclined to try new foods.

Parents can encourage healthy choices without bribes or battles. Here are some tips for parents hoping to teach their picky eaters healthy habits:

- Make meals for the family. Don't cook chicken nuggets for one child if the rest of the family wants pizza -; make it clear that family meals are meant for everyone. But picky eaters are part of the family, too, so include sides that appeal to choosy palates. Fresh fruit, like sliced apples or pears, with peanut butter or yogurt dip can be a good choice for kids.

- Consider giving kids a multivitamin. When toddlers refuse anything but bread and butter, they can miss out on key nutrients. Parents can rest a little easier knowing that a multivitamin gives their picky eater vitamins and minerals.

One company, Kidz-Med, now supplies an all-natural multivitamin especially formulated for young children. The chewable multivitamin tablets provide 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of 11 essential vitamins and minerals. The vitamins taste like fruit, so even picky eaters will take them.

- Don't force the issue. Forcing a child to eat broccoli or risk dessert can lead children to associate green vegetables with punishment. Keep broccoli on the table -; some kids need 50 exposures to a new food before they like it -; and eat plenty of vegetables yourself. Kids are more likely to try a new food if they see other people enjoying the dish.

Don't force children to clean their plates. Let kids learn to tell for themselves when they become full.

- Make meals pleasant. Engage your child in conversation unrelated to food. Make dinnertime a highlight of you -; and your child's -; day.

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