Five Tips for Getting Picky Kids to Eat Fruits and Vegetables

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Is your child super-picky? It's sometimes tough to know whether cautious eaters, as I like to call them, are getting proper nutrition. Here are a few strategies that have worked for getting my toddler to eat her fruits and vegetables. Every kid is different, but some of these tips might just work for you, too.

1. Bake fruits or vegetables into quick bread or muffins. My daughter's favorite are apple-banana muffins.

2. Make a yummy casserole. My girl likes rice and cheese, so I make her a cheesy broccoli and brown rice casserole. She won't eat broccoli by itself, but doesn't seem to mind it in this dish.

3. Stir some pureed carrots or sweet potatoes into macaroni and cheese. The trick with this is to be careful not to change the color or the taste much. Orange or yellow veggies work best here.

4. Offer dried fruits. For example, some kids won't eat grapes, but like raisins. These are highly portable, too. (Caution - may be a choking hazard for young toddlers.)

5. This may sound strange, but try offering a single bite-sized bit of fruit on a dish by itself. My daughter seems to like for her food to be separated and neat-looking. When she eats the first piece of diced peach, I put down the second, and so on. She ends up eating more than she would have had I given her the entire serving at once.

I've also found that if you offer the fruit or vegetable at the beginning of a meal when your child is hungriest, as an "appetizer", he or she is much more likely to try it. Also, remember never to force your child to eat. It can take a lot of extra effort and creative thinking to get your kids to eat what's good for them. But hey, one day they might thank you for it.

Teresa Kolvek and her husband, Tony, are the proud parents of a beautiful and spirited toddler named Amelia. Visit Teresa's website at http://www.toddlerdish.com for great information, tips, and recipes for toddlers.

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