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Ask the Expert Archive

I NEED HELP!!! My son wants nothing but junk food and its making me sick. I have tried all of kinds things and he just doesnt eat. He is already underweight and I am very frustrated because I dont want him to continue on this pattern.

Getting kids to eat healthfully, including fruits and vegetables can sometimes be a challenge. The first step is to limit the how available the ‘junk’ foods are in the home. Offer healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks, and encourage tasting. Keep in mind that it can take up to 10 tries before a child will get used to a new food. Try serving a new food with other familiar foods that he likes. Set a good example – if your child sees that the rest of the family (especially parents) are eating healthfully, he may be more likely to do so as well. Try letting him decide which fruits and vegetables he would like to eat (not if he is going to eat them). Take him along on your next trip to the grocery store and have him pick one vegetable or fruit he would like to try. Involving him in the preparation of a meal or snack also may get him interested. It could be as simple as chopping something or as complex as trying a new recipe. Some great suggestions and activities for getting kids involved are here on this site. See what other mothers suggest in our Mom2Mom section. If your son is losing weight, it is important that you consult your pediatrician. A registered dietitian can also help you with age-specific eating issues. Your pediatrician may be able to refer you, or you can locate one in your area at

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  1. I sympathize–getting kids to eat healthy food is a challenge. One thing I’ve found to work like a gem is this–you know how kids are always “starving” before dinner is ready? I cut up a plate of vegetables–raw broccoli, carrots, cucumber, celery and zucchini are all favorites–and serve them on a plate with a good ranch dressing (no MSG). My son gobbles them up before dinner even starts! Then if he doesn’t eat any of the vegetables at dinner, I don’t worry too much about it. This has worked for me time and time again. Start with a couple of vegetables he likes and expand from there. I hope this helps.

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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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