What If a Child Refuses to Eat Certain Foods

The number of meals and relative food intake decreases during childhood. Therefore it is important to provide a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including meats (if applicable), fruits, and vegetables. Children should be encouraged but not necessarily forced to eat a variety of foods. Since many children avoid or refuse to eat vegetables, what should a concerned parent do? First, be sure that you and others at the table set a positive example. Second, a policy of taking "one bite" of every item on the plate may help a child overcome an aversion to a food over time. Furthermore, children may become more comfortable with a food if they participate in its preparation or serving. Perhaps even naming the dish after the child may increase interest.

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