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Keep the kids in on the menu planning

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March 16, 2011

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“No Whine With Dinner’’ authors and nutritionists Liz Weiss and Janice Bissex offer these tips for getting children to try new foods and eat a more healthful diet. Many ideas are contributed by parents who have practiced them on their own families.

Every time you shop, choose a new food. The authors call these “Try It’’ foods. The idea is that your children pick something out — perhaps an unknown fruit or vegetable — so they’re in on the planning.

Let children create fruit kebabs by threading bananas, kiwi, and pieces of melon on bamboo skewers.

While you prepare dinner, set down a plate of raw vegetables and something to dip them in, such as ranch dressing. Kids will snack when they are hungry.

Families who have a Community Supported Agriculture share, and who visit the farms, let children connect with the farmer who grew their food. Discovering what’s in the weekly delivery may encourage kids to try new vegetables.

Parents and children should plan the weekly menu together, agreeing in advance on what dishes you will serve. Post it on the fridge so everyone can see it, and eliminate the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?’’

Teenagers can plan, shop for, and prepare one meal each week. (The menu should be agreed upon in advance.) Set a budget and encourage teens to shop carefully and pay attention to prices.

JANE DORNBUSCH