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If your child is anything like my two year old, getting him or her to eat any food that doesn't belong to the food group known as sweets is a bit like trying to dissuade said child from hanging the cat upside down by its tail. In other words you have heard racy tales about it being possible, you just couldn't imagine doing it yourself. Our main concern as parents is to have healthy happy children. To keep mine happy has sometimes meant, that once or twice my son has gone to bed after a nutritious dinner of smarties (the red one is carbohydrate, the blue one is protein, etc), instead of the three vegetables I have been told is mandatory, if I want to prevent him suffering from scurvy for all eternity. Sometimes itÆs alright to let them eat æjunkÆ, after all, how often do we eat greasy takeaways, we just need to make sure that the good food outnumbers the bad.

Here are a few tips that may prevent dinnertime being transformed into a battle of the wills between yourself and your offspring, Remember they are younger and have more time on their side.

Keep it Simple
Present your toddler with four different vegetables, and he will spend all his dinner time playing with them and trying to see which colour the cat prefers. Green peas and orange carrots are fine. Sweet Potatoes, corn, pumpkin and green peppers all together are too distracting.

Feed him his vegetables first
Have them ready five minutes before the rest of the food, and let your toddler start on them before having to decide between his favorite dish of fish fingers and a plate of vegetables.

Limit food between meals
This may sound obvious but do not let your child snack for at least an hour before dinner. Kids have tiny tummies, and if they aren't all that hungry are they going to eat the brussell sprouts or the macaroni cheese? Kids don't think health (that's your job), they think taste.

Make it kid friendly
Try not to feed them things you know they hate, rather substitute other vegetables where possible.

Blend or Mash
When all else fails blend or mash the vegetables so that the ones they point blank refuse to eat are disguised by the ones they like. It was the only way my son would eat vegetables for six months!

Most important of all is relax. You are a mom not a god and sometimes your child just won't eat his vegetables and short of giving them to him or her intravenously there is little you can do. Just make sure you wipe the chocolate stains off their mouths if your mother in law is popping round for breakfast.