Parents prodding picky children to eat healthier will try just about anything.

That's partly because it's so difficult to know which attempt will pay off. And it sometimes feels as though the attempts you consider least likely to work pay the highest dividends.

This was the case with SnackerTracker, a simple scoreboard-style system intended to encourage children to track what they eat each day, with an emphasis on getting more produce, dairy and whole grains. SnackerTracker is available for $19.95 from

The product (intended for ages 2 to 8) is a magnetic dry erase board with different boxes for checking off the correct number of servings from the various food groups.

The idea is that as children eat, they check off each serving. And that's it. Which is why I expected my 3-year-old to use the SnackerTracker as a fancy doodle pad.

And at first, he did. But as my wife and I talked to him about being able to check off the healthy produce boxes, his interest grew. After about a month he was eating more produce, and with each bite asking, "Can I check off a vegetable?"

Frankly, if a dry erase board gets a kid to eat more vegetables, I'm willing to wallpaper the kitchen with it.