The nutritional needs of children are not the same as nutritional needs for adults. The nutritional needs of babies from birth through the first year of life are pretty well covered by the formula they are fed and the introduction of foods as recommended by their pediatricians.
As children grow, they learn eating patterns and develop food choices by what they learn from their parents. They develop tastes for foods that are served at the family dinner table. You should never force a child to eat a food, but it is fair to insist that they at least taste the food. (“If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.”) This approach gives children the opportunity to adjust their food preferences to include healthy food choices.
Young children want to imitate their parents. If they see mommy and daddy eating vegetables and fruits and talking about how good these foods are, they will CHOOSE to eat those healthy foods.
My mother was a picky eater and “didn’t eat” a whole list of foods. I never knew it until I was grown. My mother and father simply did not make an issue of my mother disliking certain foods.
It’s important that portions are related to the level of activity. We’ve become a nation of fat children. Children need physical activity that corresponds to the calories in the food that they consume. So “how much” is just as important as “what” is eaten.
Try hard to limit “junk food” and “fast food.” Sit-down meals that have been prepared with the child’s nutritional needs in mind, served in the correct portion sizes, will teach the child to eat right from an early age and prevent weight problems and unhealthy food relationships in the future.