Picky eater

Expert advice on how to introduce more vegetables to your school-agers meals

Q: My nine-year-old son is a very picky eater. Whenever we try to get him to try something new, he gets anxious and upset. He will eat meat, but will not touch a piece of fruit (the smell of banana produces a gag reflex) and the only veggies he’ll eat are peas and corn. What should we do?

A: Two rules of parenting that come to mind here are: 1. Wait, and 2. Don’t let your child push your buttons. Check with your child’s doctor: If his growth is good and he is not often ill, then he probably is getting enough nutrients. Find those few healthy foods he eats and let him stick to them. Do not substitute junk food or drinks for fear of starvation. I can almost promise you that when your son is 16, he will empty the fridge at a rate you will not believe. Second, if he knows his eating habits are driving you crazy, this may keep the behaviour going. Finally, if his anxiety extends to all new things and situations, talk to your doctor about anxious behaviour in children.