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How to Get Your Picky Eaters to Try Healthy Foods

Expert tricks that really work -- even with super-picky eaters -- from The Sneaky Chef Missy Chase Lapine, a Parenting Mom Squad member:

Don't make a big deal about it. If you announce "We're going to try something new tonight," your child will just translate that as "This is going to be disgusting; prepare to hate it." Instead, just set the plate down and let your kid explore it for herself.

Make it fun. You've seen the cute pics: pancakes topped with smiley fruit faces, grilled cheese served in cookie-cutter shapes. Taking the time now and then to make healthy foods kid-friendly -- even just adding ketchup or making up a clever name ("magic beans," "power peas") -- is always a winner. So is anything dunkable: Offer a little warmed, oozy peanut butter or yogurt to dip her fruit into, or some ranch dressing to go with steamed vegetables.

Work with her. Incorporate the healthy stuff into dishes you know your child likes. If she loves pizza, try adding pineapple. Got a muffin fan? Make a batch with blueberries or grated zucchini or carrots. Chicken-nugget chomper? Bake them with whole-grain bread crumbs.

Talk it up. A kid couldn't care less about cholesterol or heart disease, but he will take notice if you tell him that doughnut won't give him enough energy to climb the jungle gym or keep up with his friend in the swimming pool.

Eat it yourself. If you won't touch anything green, why should they? But if they see you enjoying a big salad or a fish dish, they just may come around (well, eventually).

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