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Pleasing Pickey Eaters

Ask most parents and they'll agree that it's difficult to get children to eat nutritious foods. Kids are interested in how good something tastes, not how good for them it is. Parents worry about making sure their kids get essential nutrients, like calcium and protein, in their diets. Sometimes it pays to be sneaky. Try these tips, which are bound to please even the pickiest eater. They offer a wide variety of simple ways to include live and active culture yogurt - a protein and calcium-rich food - in meals and snacks every day. They'll know it tastes good; you'll know it's good for them.

Try the old switcheroo. Use plain yogurt instead of sour cream to top a baked potato or your child's favorite Mexican dish like tacos or nachos. They taste similar and they'll never know the difference.

Go incognito. Make a delicious yogurt sundae with vanilla yogurt, fresh berries and serve it in a parfait glass or ice cream dish. Or serve fruit-flavored yogurt with lots of trimmings like cereal, berries, dried fruit, or finely chopped nuts.

Play hide-and-seek. Prepare tuna or chicken salad by substituting plain yogurt for one-third to one-half the mayonnaise you would normally use. Serve these light salads with whole grain crispy crackers or make sandwiches and cut them into fun shapes with cookie cutters.

Keep it a secret. For a sweet and healthy dessert, serve frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Nobody will detect the switch. Feeling really sneaky? Place a scoop of frozen yogurt between two graham crackers for a quick yogurt sandwich. Or fill a chocolate cookie piecrust with softened frozen yogurt, freeze again and enjoy a no-bake pie.

Put a lid on it. Whip up a batch of yogurt smoothies or shakes. Simply fill a blender with your child's favorite sliced fruit, plain or fruit-flavored yogurt, and ice; whir for a couple of minutes and pour into glasses with colorful straws. Some yummy combinations: peaches with tangerine - flavored yogurt or bananas with strawberry yogurt.

Conceal the evidence. Use plain yogurt as a base for vegetable and chip dips and add some zip with seasonings like garlic powder and dill weed, or chili powder and cumin. Mix the dip, chill and serve. The protein and calcium boost from the yogurt turns a dip with veggies into a mini-meal.

The big cover up. Top pancakes and waffles with fruit-flavored yogurt. Add a dollop of vanilla yogurt to pound cake. Or serve angel food cake spread in fruit-flavored yogurt.

Put on camouflage. Buy yogurt that comes in kid-friendly flavors and containers. With all the variety available, there's sure to be something to please your picky eater.