Like most households, every family member has a different palate. In fact, some pediatricians say food battles top the list of parental headaches. If you find yourself wrangling with your child over mealtime, here are a few strategies to help. Number 1: Be patient. Kids' tastes change over time. Just because he's rejecting tomatoes today doesn't mean he'll never eat them. Keep trying to reintroduce foods. Kids between the ages of 2 and 6 can be the most finicky according to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eventually, they'll move beyond this stage. Second: Institute the one polite bite rule. She has to take a little taste of food she says she doesn't like, and hopefully they'll grow on her. Also, be a role model. Doctors say fights over food often occur because kids want what mom or dad is having. So if they see you eating well, they'll follow your lead. And finally, empower your kids. Get them involved and invested in meals. Take them shopping. Let them plan a menu with you. Choose words that describe the sensory qualities of food like, "These strawberries are juicy," or "Isn't that corn sweet and crunchy?" The power of positive thinking may change your picky ears' mind.
If you're pregnant and a vegetarian, no worries. Here are five tips to help you plan ahead and meet your daily needs for protein and other key nutrients. Pick your protein. This nutrient is essential for your baby's organ and tissue growth. Choose small portions of beans, nuts, nut butters, quinoa, tofu, or soy milk at most meals. Milk yogurt and eggs are also high-quality protein options for vegetarians who eat dairy. Build up your iron. This mineral carries oxygen in the blood. Choose plant proteins like beans, tofu and soy milk. Other sources include fortified cereals and instant oats, potatoes, and whole wheat bread. Boost iron absorption by pairing them with foods rich in vitamin C including oranges and sweet peppers. Be aware of B12. This vitamin helps your baby's developing brain and nervous system. Sources include breakfast cereals, soy milk, and veggie burgers. And milk products and eggs also provide vitamin B12. Zero in on zinc. It supports a healthy immune system, and sources include beans, zinc-fortified breakfast cereals, wheat germ, and pumpkin seeds. Be sure to discuss the supplement with your doctor if you exclude dairy product and fish. And to create a customized pregnancy diet, find a registered dietitian at eatright.org. For more on pregnancy nutrition, check out parents.com.
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