Q: My two-year-old son is a very picky eater. Do you have any advice to help increase the number of vegetables he will eat?
A: Dealing with a picky eater can be difficult for parents, but be patient. Continue to offer a variety of new foods, and avoid getting into power struggles. Some helpful hints include:
• Remember, your responsibility ends with the serving of nutritious foods. You cannot make your son eat. He must decide that for himself.
•Keep a regular schedule of meals and snacks. Don’t allow your son to make you a short-order cook.
• Avoid serving snacks close to mealtimes. New foods seem most attractive when a child is hungry.
• Place small “one or two bite” portions of the new food on your son’s plate—alongside more familiar foods—at each meal.
• Be patient. Make no comment whether or not your son eats the new food. After five or ten exposures, the food may not seem so “new.” Then he may decide to try it onhis own. If he does, begin serving the new food on a regular basis.
• Invite your son to help prepare meals. Children are more likely to eat foods that they’ve helped prepare.
• Be a good role model. Children notice what their parents eat. So, eat your vegetables and your son may, too!
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