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Any ideas on how to get my 16mth old daughter to eat any meat or vegies?

Hi Leanne, just wondering if you had any ideas on how to get m 16mth old daughter to eat any meat or vegies, l`ve tried to hide them or pureed them but its like she knows what l`ve done & dosn`t eat it , she also refuses to eat bread , l`ve tried wholemeal , multi grain & white but she just sucks the filling off & throws the bread away , its hard to know what to give her. lf you have any simple & easy foods / meals to try her with would be great. Thank you very much. Simone

Answer: Hi Simone, Yes, typically fussy eating hits around 14-18 months and it can really have you pulling your hair out! I have a six year old who is showing signs of coming out of it, but only glimpses. I still sneak stuff into all sorts of meals, makes it easier to go with it when I know he has been getting healthy food albeit disguised. Most healthcare professionals will say that as long as your little one is gaining weight at their usual rate and is happy and healthy, she won`t starve herself. But as a parent this can be of little comfort. Below is my checklist, some ideas may not be relevant and really I believe that involvement is the key to breaking down those natural barriers:
  1. Persisting with offering the healthy stuff even if it is rejected
  2. Sneaking in the good stuff where you can which makes avoiding the battles (no-one wins those ones) easier
  3. Getting them involved
  4. Offering a healthy supper down the line if dinner is rejected and your toddler complains of being hungry
  5. Trying to use the foods they do eat as a basis for making other food/meals that are more likely to be enjoyed. For example cream cheese on a bagel, pasta with bacon and a cream cheese base, bread and butter pudding made with calcium enriched milk such as soy or rice, try sweet potato chips etc.
  6. Swap lunch and dinner if that helps and make meal portions achievable (small but healthy).
  7. Check milk or other fluids aren’t interfering with their appetite.
  8. Remember that food rejection is a normal behaviour for most toddlers and preschoolers.
  9. Repeat the mantra "this like all things in infancy and childhood, will pass" and it will!
I have a tip sheet on fussy eating on Huggies that might have some pointers, but again I really think it would be best to get some help with this, the link is: Picky Eating Smoothies are a great way of adding food groups into a diet. You can add baby rice cereal for iron, ground nuts and seeds for fats and protein etc and so on. They are also a real treat for children as ice-blocks. Also I think the Jessica Seinfeld book using purees is a good idea, you may find that her recipes are good enough that your toddler wont be able to pick what`s in them; I reduce the sugar, use olive oil and don`t add salt, I also have a recipe book based on my fussy foodie. Don`t forget that the fruit your little one does eat will help with getting those healthy plant compounds to a degree. If you feel you really would like some help and also to check that she is getting all her needs, there are a few options you might like to consider. If you wanted to start out with the obvious you might like to see a naturopath, nutritionist or dietitian who specialises in children. They will be able to firstly review what your little one does eat and tell if there may be some nutritional issues to be addressed and if so, how they are best dealt with. Then advise you on fussy eating and what tips and tricks might help. So I hope that gives you some ideas, keep offering the good stuff. Think also laterally, don`t forget things like baby rice cereal added into meals it is a good source of iron, tapioc chips and vegetable chips are getting better, things like pulses are a good alternative to vegies and also foods like goji berries are packed full of nutrition. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 01 Jul 2009