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No More Mealtime Battles!

When my daughter Madeline was 3, she ranked food by color, and there were certain hues, such as green, that she never touched. Her favorite was the white food group because it included vanilla ice cream, marshmallows, whipped cream, and white bread spread thickly with butter. Her finicky eating habits were frustrating -- and perfectly normal.

"Nearly forty percent of children age five and under are picky eaters -- meaning that there's little variety in their diet and it may seem like they eat only bananas for a month," says John Tedeschi, M.D., chair of the department of pediatrics at the Virtua West Jersey Health Systems, in Voorhees, New Jersey. "But this is a developmental stage they'll grow out of, typically by age eight or nine."

You don't have to wait that long. As a mom of six and a food editor who earns a living developing new recipes, I've gradually learned strategies that may help you stay sane and get your child to try (and maybe even like) foods he once turned down flat.

Rosemary Black is the author of The Kids' Holiday Baking Book (St. Martin's Press) and food editor at the New York Daily News.