Many of the foods your kid requests probably have a common ingredient: cheese. However, that isn't as bad it sounds. "An ounce of popular kinds of cheese provides about the same amount of bone-building calcium, protein, and phosphorous as a cup of milk," says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
So, go ahead and whip up that grilled cheese sandwich for lunch (again)--just be sure to cook with reduced-fat versions of your child's favorite cheeses to keep the recipe healthy.
Serve your kids a bowl of this soup before you bring out the rest of their dinner; they're more likely to try something new when they're at their hungriest. Sprinkle a little extra cheese on top to please your picky eater.
Originally published in the November 2009 issue of Parents magazine.