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Ask the Expert Archive

My 8 year old son is having intestine problems. His doctor says he needs to eat fiber, fruits and vegetables. He refuses to eat anything except nuggets, fries, pizza and sausage egg and cheese breakfast sandwhiches. What can I do? He will literally try to starve himself if it is given to him.

Your situation is challenging, but not impossible. As a first step, you might explain to your son that discomfort that he is having could be helped by including fruits and vegetables. Take him to the store and ask him to select one that he would be willing to try. Perhaps he would be interested in helping to prepare it as well. Serve fruits and vegetables with the foods he is familiar with. Also, it is important that he see you eating fruits and vegetables as well; include them at all meals so that they are regular items seen at meals. There are kid-friendly recipes on this site, which you can view here. They are great for kids, and many are ideal for kids to help prepare. Talk with other moms to see how they have handled similar situations in our mom to mom section. Finally, it does take time and perseverance. It is not likely that new fruits and vegetables will be immediately accepted the first time around. You may want to talk with your doctor about other possible options for his problems while you are working with your son to include fruits and vegetables at meals.

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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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