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12/12/11 4:11 P

I admire modern families that are trying to introduce more healthy foods in their children's diets - we should have been doing this a long time ago.

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12/4/11 5:12 P

kids are definitely eating more chicken and turkey then in the past...I think that is a good thing :)

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11/9/11 4:33 A

I haven't heard of that book, but will try it out...thanks for sharing.

SANFORMRN SparkPoints: (0)
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11/7/11 12:14 P

I love the cookbook deceptively delicious. Yummy comfort food made with veggie purees and the kids don't even know! I do tell them so they know veggies can taste good.

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11/6/11 6:07 P

great discussion and suggestions...I, for one, appreciate the insite you all have is great to share success as well as failure as we try to do what is best for our families and selves! Anyone out there with more to share?

9/18/11 1:26 A

We established house rules:

If it comes in individual wrapped servings, I don't buy it.
No eating out at any chain restaurant - one exception:
The only fast food is subway - not the subs, just the salads. Not more than 1xa week.
Snacks are raw vegetables and fresh fruit. help yourself but nothing at least an hour before dinner.
treats are just that: treats. Treats happen rarely - not daily!
Ice cream is for Tuesdays when Baskin Robins has $1 kid scoops if that is your "treat" for the week - no more gallons in the freezer!
If there is no value (ie potato chips/crackers) I don't buy it - exception: wasa crackers - the kids love cheeses like brie).
We all eat the same thing at dinner and we eat dinner at the table.
If a kid is home then we both (or all) cook. That might mean the little one (since she was 3) has been putting together the salads - yes - even using knives!).
We have emergency meals - ones where no one wants to cook - for those night we might have a baked potato, leftovers, one loves ravioli filled with cheese with a sauce of garlic, evoo and butter and topped with fresh parm. We count out pastas - 6=a serving. Still want more - have salad or soup.
Serve salad or soup with every dinner. (super easy soup - sautee veggies in a little evoo, add any or no meat from another meal, add in low sodium chicken broth and a pinck of herbs de provance and papper, then add salt to taste. You can even add left over plain pasta or beans.
Teach your kids to drink plain tea. Try lots of different ones - one of mine loves mint the other chai. They make a nice change from water in a sigg bottle for school lunch.

One of my kids was in the 90th percentile for height weight up until 2nd year of high school when he suddenly lost a lot of weight and got shoulders too. He is about 140 and 6ft and very athletic - does hip hop and break dancing and is going to do gymnastics. he has always loved running, tennis and fencing.

My other was in the 5th for height and weight until she turned 6. Now she is in the middle. She also spends a lot of time in sports and enjoys running, golf and dance. So those with underweight kids - don't sweat it - very few kids are underweight by the time 2nd grade rolls around. Her ped thinks we should feed dd more to keep up with what she burns but I let dd decide how much she wants. If she is average ht wt then I don't see a problem.

One of the big changes in MYSELF has been to learn to be active with my kids. This means I've had to relearn to ride a bike and make promises O keep (we will go roller skating on Saturday will be mentioned on Monday so the excitement of seeing mom potentially fall builds :P). or we will meet friends on a 12 mile ride for breakfast. Basically stuff i can't back out of. :D

BIGMOMMA989 SparkPoints: (0)
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9/15/11 7:32 A

I have an extremely picky husband and 9 year old daughter. My husband grew up allergic to most everything. He was very limited on what he could eat, mostly being what others can't: peanut butter, eggs, cereal with milk, and pizza. This is what he still eats at 39. All three of our girls ate fruits and veggies until they were about two. So here is what I do. I make things they like as healthy as I can. Instead of going to Mcdonalds for nuggets and fries we have it at home baked. I also make sure to have yogurt they will eat on hand along with the very few fruits and vegetables they will eat. I am teaching them to cook and let them help pick out recipes we can try. Good luck to you all!! I am the Queen of shorthand cooking, but with today's economy that is changing, so I talk to my kids about it so they know it's important to choose healthy things over junk. I also tell them the time of choice is running out! LOL now I just need to follow through. I think that is the hardest part!!

JILLY814 Posts: 976
9/14/11 7:45 P

Try and find some veggies that your kids like. My daughter likes broccoli and tomatoes so she gets them almost every day. I try and expand on that. It takes about 20 times of offering a child food in order for them to like it.

If they claim they don't like anything try the "sneaky chef" by seinfeld. It is reciped that "hide" veggies.

AHWOLF SparkPoints: (11,416)
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9/6/11 10:57 A

That is a good point - if the food is not there (e.g. junk food,) the kids can't eat it even if they would have liked to. The second part is getting them itnerested in healthier foods - which I find really challenging.

ANDREADAV SparkPoints: (0)
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9/4/11 9:27 P

I have 2 boys that are fincky eaters but we also have the added trouble that all 3 of us have seeral dietary restrictions that makes eating more difficult. My younger one definitely is my healthier eater and checks all the labels to make sure he isn' t cheating. I am having severe difficulties with my older son since when dad was around and even now with my parents th have chips and candy and sodas all out in plain sight which makes things harder for me. I am trying to work with my parents to have them put away the jun food where the boys can't find it and that seems o be helping a little.

AHWOLF SparkPoints: (11,416)
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9/1/11 3:26 P

Great points...I think to some extent you are lucky that the kids will try and eat what the adults are having...Our son would cry he doesn't like something and not be willing to try it. Sometimes, with coaxing, he will try a food, but if he doesn't like it he won't eat it...

TMR0011 SparkPoints: (0)
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8/30/11 11:36 A

" would rather shove "healthy" food down your child's throat with them kicking and screaming....

Than feed them something they actually LIKE? "

I was raised in a home with limited means. Not poor but we where on a strict budget. My mother was an RN not a short order cook. She made dinner and that is what was served and that is what you got. Sometimes I liked the food (most of the time) other times I didn't. On liver and onion nights I ate 2 bites of liver and a whole LOT of salad and side dish. She always had salad. They never forced me to eat but she sure as heck wasn't cooking something special just b/c I didn't like what she served.

I've done the same with my daughter (now 2.5) I started her on pureed steamed veggies at 4 months gradually increasing the variety and textures as she got older... when she was able to eat cut up foods she started getting what my husband and I were eating for dinner. I didn't give her any of the processed foods on purpose...

Sometimes she eats all of her dinner, sometimes she doesn't touch the veggies, other times she eats all her veggies and doesn't touch her meat... every day is different. I don't force her to eat but I don't cook her a different meal either or cater our households menu to her.

I don't know if it was luck or the way we started her eating...... I also don't keep alot of snack food or processed food in the house.

She can always choose a snack from a healthy selection I give her.

BABYGIRLLOVE1 SparkPoints: (0)
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8/28/11 8:57 P

I dont have a problem with my child eating healthy foods right now . My daughter is 17 months and she loves vegetables carrots broccoli string beans corn peas ect and she is crazy for fruits. The only suggestion i have is to Mix veggies with eggs make an omelet or quiche. Make home made pizza and involve your kids in helping to chose the toppings.Make muffins with fruit and some with veggies.

AHWOLF SparkPoints: (11,416)
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8/19/11 2:22 P

Excellent article...I wonder to what degree this applies to Balance Bars and similar nutrition bars...:(

ALTHW2 SparkPoints: (0)
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4/12/11 10:39 A

I agree. If the cabinet is full of junk food, most kids will want to eat it. But I have found, if you put something healthy like fruit or a bowl of broccoli and yogurt ranch dip on the table after school, they will eat that too. I think it is important to make healthy choices as convenient and flavorful as we can. Otherwise, of course kids will choose less healthy snacks and foods.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,404
4/9/11 3:54 P

reposting Zorbs link...

Good stuff under
"Here are 10 ways you may be unintentionally teaching your kids NOT to eat dinner. "

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,404
4/9/11 3:27 P

"Sometimes a PB&J is much better than nothing at all. Even if it's on (GASP!) white bread."

Why so defensive?

LOSING100SLOWLY SparkPoints: (0)
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4/9/11 1:32 P

Well I can just tell you've never had a child FALL OFF the growth charts while refusing to eat your "healthy" food.

Sometimes a PB&J is much better than nothing at all. Even if it's on (GASP!) white bread.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,404
4/9/11 10:29 A

If it is an hour before dinner, you don't give them a snack, no matter how big of a fuss they make.

If they did not eat dinner and want to eat dessert, you don't give them dessert.


That's what I meant when I said
"You HAVE to stand strong and not give in to "the aggravation/crying/etc."

LOSING100SLOWLY SparkPoints: (0)
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4/9/11 1:49 A

So what exactly do you do when your child doesn't like anything that you made for dinner?

You said:

"You HAVE to stand strong and not give in to "the aggravation/crying/etc." "

So if you don't give in, what do you do?

There are two options:

A) They go hungry (which is not healthy)
B) They eat something else that they actually like

I prefer B. But my child is underweight.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,404
4/8/11 7:08 P

" would rather shove "healthy" food down your child's throat with them kicking and screaming.... "

Not at all...
no one said anything about "shoving" ANYTHING down a child's throat.

LOSING100SLOWLY SparkPoints: (0)
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4/8/11 3:17 P

P.S. - I know. My parents forced me to eat things I didn't like, and clean my plate. Once I was old enough to buy the food I DID like, I binged on it. And gained 120 pounds.

Think it really works???

LOSING100SLOWLY SparkPoints: (0)
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4/8/11 3:16 P would rather shove "healthy" food down your child's throat with them kicking and screaming....

Than feed them something they actually LIKE?

Forcing them to eat healthy isn't going to teach them healthy habits. It's only going to make them hate food.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,404
4/8/11 3:10 P

Well, that's part of what parenting is all about.

You HAVE to stand strong and not give in to "the aggravation/crying/etc."

If you don't, it escalates... and having teens behave that way is a whole lot worse!

Correcting bad habits/behavior is WAY easier when they are young....

AHWOLF SparkPoints: (11,416)
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4/8/11 2:46 P

Also, even though they may not starve, they sure don't go it worth the aggravation/crying/etc. just in order to try and get them to eat a 'healthy' food?

LOSING100SLOWLY SparkPoints: (0)
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4/8/11 2:24 P

Well, think of it this way. Is there a food that you hate? That you WILL NOT eat? Even as an adult?

What if that was all you were allowed to eat?

What would you do?

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,404
4/8/11 11:40 A

They won't starve.
They will eat when they get hungry.

LOSING100SLOWLY SparkPoints: (0)
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4/8/11 1:29 A

My question: what if you do everything you can to teach them about healthy food, but they still refuse to eat anything you make?

Do you just let them starve?

AHWOLF SparkPoints: (11,416)
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4/7/11 9:14 P

Thank you for all the constructive suggestions...hopefully we'll hear from more people!

JTANDLM98 Posts: 345
3/17/11 3:29 P

I've enjoyed reading this thread and agree with the things shared here. I think the key is educating our kids as they get older. To Lynn, my 9-year old son is the same way, he would rather eat 3 bowls of cereal than anything else. But he also learned about the food pyramid in school and I have re-visited and re-emphasized that at home. Since he was 5 I've worked with him and let him use the website. Kids think its more fun if its electronic. Now he has a desire to eat healthy and wants to see his food pyramid balanced out. He's also a label reader now and helps me at the grocery store, and is on a crusade, warning all his friends and cousins not to eat hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup!

My four-year-old has been a little harder nut to crack. But we never let them have anything else to eat. They have to eat what served or go hungry. It broke my heart at first but after the first four times or so now he loves spinach lasagna and a few other things. I envy those whose children seem to be natural veggie eaters. Mine are not (I was not either). But keep putting the choices out there and educate your children on healthy eating, and hopefully it will take root!

DNLSMOM SparkPoints: (0)
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3/16/11 3:51 P

My kids love fruits and veggies.(thank goodness) The best advice I can give is to lead by example. If my kids see me eat something, they want to try it. I try to keep a full fruit bowl and stocked cupboard for snack time. that is what my parents did and we always loved healthy food!

LYNNLY09 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/16/11 3:20 P

I have gotten rid of all the unhealthy snacks we had in the house and I have been making healthy suppers. My problem is my 9 year old refuses to try anything I make for supper! Do I make her sit at the table until she at least tries it? If I let her she would live on Cheerios and chicken noodle soup! She also doesn't understand portion control. She will eat 3 bowls of cereal and still want more!

3/15/11 9:53 P

ZORBS13, I want to thank you for the link that you posted here...I'm sending copies out to my daughters emoticon for their sons.

SILVASHAN Posts: 273
3/15/11 7:31 P

love all this info. great post

LNPHAP SparkPoints: (10,760)
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3/14/11 8:07 P

For those of you with infants.. I just bought a book called "I can eat a Rainbow".. it's a cute board book that talks about fruit and vegetables and all the colours. It encourages you to eat every colour of the rainbow everyday! (and teaches colours too!) Example.. Berries with breakfast, pear for snack, lettuce with lunch, carrots for afternoon snack, cauliflower with dinner, and a banana in dessert.. It's a great idea, and I may try this for myself too!!

LENKA763 Posts: 2,395
3/11/11 1:09 P

I let my kids choose the vegetables they would like in their soup,or on pizza...they always make very good choices.

I make my own, crust,lately bread, buns ..etc.

Along with homemade soups, stews, I add veggies to meatloaf , meatballs and make my own chicken and fish sticks ( zucchini are very good too)
we buy our eggs from farm , and in the summer we grown our own tomatoes, peppers, lettuce ..etc.

the kids love to see it grow, helps me water the plants and usually are the first to go have a taste.

It worked really good even with the daycare kids, I had for while..their moms were amazed how much more willing the kids were to try new veggie if they grow it.

I do cook and bake with my kids( they are still to little to do much),but building their own pizza is a favorite here.

Edited by: LENKA763 at: 3/11/2011 (13:18)
PICKLEDGINGER2 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/11/11 7:26 A

Like your healthy snacks (and so would my 7 year old grandson).

Apple slices and cheese or salsa works well, too.

3/10/11 12:28 P

I'm doing what my parents did. They didn't keep unhealthy foods in the house, and we only ate packaged foods on road trips, etc, so I kind of got it in my head that chips, etc were for road trips and parties. Also, being a kid and a bottomless pit, I had to eat something, right? So I learned to like fruits and vegetables because that was what was offered. They never restricted my diet, though. I am taking the same approach with my three year old, and it seems to be working. She'd rather have a cup of fresh blueberries than a cookie (as would I, honestly). When we do bake, I'm teaching her that baking is for giving. We use healthy substitutions and also give a lot away. I shop at the perimeter of the super market so there's not a whole lot of unhealthy food in my house. I also let her pick what fruits and veggies to buy (also a great time for a lesson in counting). I find that if she picks them out, she is more likely to eat them. I pack fresh fruit or cut up fresh veggies for the ride home from daycare with me because she's always hungry at that point and will eat anything.

Some favorite snacks:
Raw veggies with dip (light ranch, hummus, guacamole, etc)
Light string cheese
Air popped popcorn
Fresh fruit, unadorned
Apples with peanut putter

I also make my own chicken nuggets. I reserve the ends of my loaves of bread and make my own seasoned bread crumbs, dip diced chicken breasts in egg white, coat them with the crumbs and bake. This also works really well for vegetables. Sometimes it's just easier to make healthy versions of the foods they like than trying to convince them to eat healthy foods they do not know, like grating vegetables and adding them to meatloaf, burgers, soups and sauces. When I do make new items, I always make sure they're very colorful so she's more likely to eat them.

Truth be told, I wish I ate as well as my daughter!

I have learned (at least with my kid) that she will eat anything rolled up in a corn or whole wheat tortilla or whole wheat bread, folded into a "taco" or on a stick!

Also, out of sight, out of mind. If you do keep anything unhealthy in the house, keep it out of sight. Since the hubby's chips or pretzels (when he does get them) are in the cupboard and ice cream is in the freezer, out of the line of sight, a bag of chips or pretzels often goes stale in out house, and ice cream will sit in the freezer for several months.

Depending on how old your kids are, Sesame Street Happy, Healthy Monsters is great. It teaches them about nutrition and exercise and has a fun workout. Great for rainy days when she gets restless.

P.S. My pediatrician said never to force food on her. Not sure if this would work for pickier kids, but seems to work for my kid. I don't have a two bite rule or anything like that. Some days she'll eat some things and some days she won't, and that's ok with me. After all, I'm an adult, and I don't make myself eat anything.

Edited by: LKISINSATIABLE at: 3/10/2011 (12:40)
AMO219 Posts: 34
3/10/11 12:08 P

My kids are 11 & 12. It's up to me to keep encouraging them to eat healthy & make good choices. I stock the house with plenty of fruits & veggies & lead by example.

PICKLEDGINGER2 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/10/11 8:31 A

Excellent point and so true. It takes the mystery out of the food. Fun to take a cooking course with them, too.

3/10/11 8:25 A

Encourage your kids to help with preparing and choosing the food. If they help make it they will probably be more likely to try it!

PICKLEDGINGER2 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/10/11 4:49 A

My grandson prefers his veggies raw, and just loves a plate of assorted raw ones.

3/7/11 4:52 P

When they were little, we had the "5 x 5" rule, which is also the rule my mom used with me.

After trying 5 bites of a new food, prepared in 5 different ways or occasions, if we STILL did not like it, we never had to eat it again.

As an adult, the only veggies I've been exposed to I will NOT eat are lima beans and beets. I will eat garbanzo beans in limited amounts, but I can't STAND hummus.

With my kids, it's a texture thing, and they prefer a lot of their veggies raw, esp. carrots.

3/7/11 4:45 P

We use the 90/10 rule in my house. If they eat healthy food 90% of the time, I won't begrudge the 10% they don't.

I got rid of white bread and tortillas, stock up on fresh fruits and veggies that are in season, and try to cook healthy. I also keep stuff like lean lunch meats, yogurt, nuts, etc. handy for snacks. My kids, like a lot of kids, are generally pretty lazy - so they'd rather more often eat the healthy meals I cook than get up and make themselves something else. In fact, I have to keep a sacrificial bag of groceries handy when I walk in the door so I can put stuff away in peace. It usually has 2 low-sugar chocolate milks, a couple Gala or Fuji apples, a couple bananas and a package of CA rolls or unagi. They turn into caveteens when that bag walks in: I find one in one corner stuffing sushi in his mouth, chopsticks tossed aside because they slow him down too much... and the other with milk in one hand and a banana in the other trying to manipulate his DSi and not spill anything.

That said, if there's junk in the house, those two will ferret it out eventually. With two growing teen boys, a diabetic with HBP and kidney problems and me (trying to lose weight), I've really had to minimize the junk I let come in the door.

KRIS4CRAIG Posts: 112
2/27/11 11:34 P

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! I agree with the poster who said to remove the unhealthy options in your home and replace them with healthy foods. If your kids aren't used to eating this way, it will take time.
I do not agree that we need to hide healthy foods. Kids need to know what they're eating, where it came from, how it got to their plate and what it does to their body!
Whenever I make something new, I make sure and have a few foods they like on their plate as well. I also insist that they try some. It's a bit of a game in our house. My 3 year old tells people all the time that she's great at trying new foods and she will try just about anything! If your kids are older you could make a game of it, like on Survivor when they have to eat gross stuff! haha If they don't like it the first time, I don't just quit giving it to them. Sometimes it takes many, many tries but very often, in the end, they like it!
You could also try planting a mini indoor garden. My kids wouldn't eat green beans until we planted some! Then they were eating them right off the plant and still love it when they turn up on their plate.
Kids often are hesitant about foods that are unfamiliar to them however, if it shows up on their plate a time and time again, eventually, it will no longer be unfamiliar and they'll give it a better try.
Just keep trying! You're making important choices for your kids that will effect their long term health. Good job taking that responsibility seriously!

CSIENK Posts: 6,721
2/22/11 12:02 P

Interesting link from the first poster who responded, but I get the feeling you're looking for more concrete examples. You've gotten some great suggestions... the one or two bite example is something we call the "No Thank You Helping" at our house. (As in, "No thank you, I don't want that.") From the time they were old enough to refuse food, my children learned they had to try at least a large tablespoon sized portion of whatever it was they thought they might not like. Sometimes they were surprised to discover they actually liked it and asked for more. Also, you can grate veggies and add them to a lot of things; spaghetti sauce was mentioned, also lasagne, quiche, even sloppy joes. Just grate up some zucchini or carrots, or stir in a little spinach. When they come home from school, offer healthy snacks: fruit or veggies... cheese and crackers, etc. And keep making them try new things. Often it takes more than one try to discover you like something.
Good luck! emoticon

IZZYS_MOM Posts: 100
2/22/11 10:55 A

The biggest thing you can do to improve their health is take out the unhealthy options in your household. Your kids will complain at first, but they will eat if they are hungry! Don't talk about it too much, like don't warn them that you're going to stop buying unhealthy food. Start slow - first cut chips, then ice cream, then highly processed food, soda, etc. Replace those foods with nuts, fruit, etc. Set a good example by modeling good snacking habits.

As a teacher, I see the hot lunch programs and snack carts out at lunch and I can promise that most kids do not eat healthy. Start packing healthy lunches and do not send your children with money TO school - give it to them at other times. Your child will have no choice but to eat the healthy and fulfilling lunch you have packed for them.

Start casually talking about nutrition and food with them. Start doing active family stuff.

Good luck!

2/21/11 9:00 P

My husband and I are actually going through the same thing. We decided yesterday to start trying to make the kids eat healthier. We are going to try the one or two bite rule: Take one or two bites of something that is new, or eat a little of the vegetable that is familiar to you, and you get dessert. We had huge, massive meltdown. First, we starved them until dinner and then put food in front of them. To be fair, I think some days we will all need to eat food they like, but perhaps make the chicken nuggets at home so they are healthier. And everyone sit at the table together and eat the same thing, which is really hard for us because my husband and I often don't agree on what we want to eat. We'll see how it goes! Keep me posted on your adventure.
Recipes that work: make spaghetti sauce and put in all sorts of vegetables, just cut them up really little so they don't know. Zucchini bread or berry muffins work for us (sometimes). Best of luck!

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (196,622)
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2/21/11 8:30 P

AHWOLF SparkPoints: (11,416)
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2/21/11 5:40 P

Does anyone out there have tips to encourage children to eat healthy? Do you have recipes for tasty foods that kids will actually try? Would love to hear about successful experiences.

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