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USDA says you don't always need to feed your preschooler

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday said people should make one meal for the whole family, and not make separate, smaller meals for picky preschoolers.

And if a kid doesn't like the meal being served, USDA said it's fine if the kid eats nothing.

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"Offer the same foods for the whole family," USDA said over the weekend. "Don't be a 'short-order cook,' making a different meal for your preschooler."

"Your child will be okay even if they don't eat a meal now and then," it added.

The somewhat forward advice was the latest to appear on USDA's MyPlate website, a section devoted to advice about eating. The site is filled with advice, usually on how to ensure you're eating enough fruits and vegetables and cut calories.

The advice about letting kids skip a meal comes after a battle that's raged for the last few years about whether high school kids are getting enough to eat under a federal law dealing with nutritional guidelines for school lunches. Those guidelines call for calorie restrictions and more fruits and vegetables, although they are leading more and more kids to simply toss uneaten healthy food in the trash.

While MyPlate is focused on eating guidelines, it also seems increasingly aligned with First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative.

On Saturday, MyPlate emailed a message to followers saying that "regular physical activity can produce long term health benefits."

"Increase physical activity by picking activities you like and start by doing what you can, at least 10 minutes at a time," MyPlate said on October 11. "Every bit adds up, and the health benefits increase as you spend more time being active. The point is to get out there and move!"

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