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How can I be sure my picky eater is getting the proper nutrients?
A child's limited likes can be nutritionally adequate if they encompass all the food groups. To be sure that your child is getting sufficient nutrients, watch to see if he's eating any one food group at the exclusion of others. For example, if at the end of several days you notice that he is filling up on carbohydrates while eating nothing with protein, make some adjustments to his diet by offering him protein-rich foods like cheese or yogurt. Use the Food Pyramid as a guide to help you properly assess your child's diet.
I feel like a short-order cook at dinnertime. How can I get my child to eat what I make?
Continue to offer your child new foods at dinnertime, but make sure that there is at least one thing on the table that you know your child will eat. Then offer a limited number of backup foods, like peanut butter or cereal, that don't require cooking or cleaning up and that kids can prepare themselves. Even preschoolers can get a jar of peanut butter from the kitchen and spread it on bread when they don't like dinner.
My toddler doesn't seem to eat enough compared to the rest of the family and I'm worried that his nutritional needs aren't being met. How can I encourage him to eat more?
Toddlers eat little relative to parental expectations. In fact, a serving size for them is only one-fourth to one-third of an adult serving size. Rather than focusing on getting your child to eat more, concentrate instead on serving him foods that are healthy. Everything he eats should count toward his daily nutritional requirement. Once you provide him with healthy foods, leave it to him to get the right amount of calories. Left to their own devices, kids will eat what they need.