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How do I get my 4 year old twins to try cooked veggies. They like simple foods, not a lot of mixed or casseroles. They are not really eating any veggies but fried okra. They are very unwilling to try new foods. They like snacks, crackers, etc. They will eat fruits. Should I be concerned and what do I do. Not feed them until they will eat the veggies (not the crackers products.)? They do eat yogurt, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, but not much else. Thank for any advise.

Getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables can sometimes be a challenge. It is normal for four year old kids to like simple foods. To begin, try to make the experience of trying a fruit or vegetable positive and fun. If a child senses any excess anxiety on your part, s/he may dig his heels in. Start with a small bite on the plate with a favorite food, and encourage taking a taste. Meanwhile, while you are working with them to encourage them to try fruits and vegetables, you can feel comfortable that they are getting them in their diet by ‘hiding’ them in foods such as tomato sauce on spaghetti, in meatloaf, soups, smoothies, etc. Set a good example – if your twins see that the rest of the family (especially parents) are eating vegetables, they may be more likely to eat them as well. Take them along on your next trip to the grocery store and have them pick one vegetable they would like to try. Involving them in the preparation of vegetables also may get them interested. It could be as simple as washing or chopping something or as complex as trying a new recipe. Also, don’t forget that sometimes it takes 5-10 trials before your child learns to like something… encourage them to continually taste things because "taste buds have matured" and now they might like them. Lastly, you are not alone. See what other mothers have said about their similar challenges in our Mom2Mom section.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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