Picky Eaters: Are They Getting the Proper Nutrients?

My one-year-old son has suddenly changed from a child who eats everything to an extremely picky eater. He even refuses his once favorite foods! Thankfully, he eats fruits, vegetables and yogurt, but he won't eat most meats. Lately all he wants is whole-wheat toast with cream cheese. How can I be sure that he is getting the nutrients he needs?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Your son's behavior is very normal for his age. Toddlers are typically wary of new foods. They also go on food "jags" where they seemingly eat only one thing.

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, look to see if he is eating any one food group at the exclusion of another. For example, if, at the end of several days, you notice that he is filling up on bread while eating nothing with protein, make some adjustments to his diet. Since he doesn't like meat, try offering him other sources of protein, like cheese or yogurt.

Use the Food Pyramid as a guide. It will help you learn about the different food groups so you can properly assess your child's diet. And remember: The more familiar a food is and the more your child sees you eating it, the more acceptable it will become. Continue to offer your child his favorite foods along with the not-so-favorite ones, and eventually he will come to eat what the rest of the family is eating.

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