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Stepson Won't Eat Vegetables

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: My seven-year-old stepson absolutely refuses to eat any vegetables, potatoes, or really anything other than meat or pizza. He says he can't stand the taste even after multiple seasonings and variations. How important is it to get him to change these habits, and if it is, how do I do it?

A: It is important for your stepson to change these habits and "habits" is the key word here. For his health -- physical and mental -- vegetables have to be an important part of his diet.

Seven-year-olds have not developed all their tastes yet, but they can get in the habit of liking vegetables through introduction of rules like "at least two bites." You might also add fresh or canned fruit to your meals. I encourage you and your partner along with everyone else in the family to discuss how important vegetables are and the rules that will govern meals. Besides the "at least one bite" rule, another rule might be that there will be no desserts, snacks, etc. for anyone who doesn't eat sufficiently at the meal. Going hungry for a while or even overnight usually works wonders for the appetite of a seven-year-old.

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Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


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