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My almost 3-year-old son is absolutely refusing to eat vegetables, meat and even fruit

Hi Leanne.
My almost 3-year-old son Ryan is absolutely refusing to eat vegetables, meat and even fruit. This has been happening for about 3months. I`ve exhausted every option in getting him to eat them but ive had no success.

He basically lives on cheese, pasta, sandwiches, yoghurt and sausages- very occasionally a chicken kebab.

I`m so concerned because he used to be so energetic and now he just wants to lay around and play instead of running around or outside on the swing or riding his bike while I`m out there.

He`s also very pale. I`m aware that there are iron supplements I can get for him to take but I`d rather he eat fruit, vegetables and meat.

Can you help us?

Answer: Hi There, If you are noticing a change in your preschooler it sounds like a good time to enlist the help of a health care professional. A deficiency in iron can be a bit of a vicious cycle; low iron status appears to affect appetite and fussy eating, and fussy eating of course can lead to nutrient issues. Rather than buying a supplement off the shelf, it is best to get a good picture of what is going on, iron, for example can easily be taken in excessive levels. If you wanted to start out with the obvious you might like to see a naturopath, nutritionist or dietitian who specialises in children. Ideally, try to find one that does a computerised diet analysis, this will give you a wonderful `snap-shot` of your preschoolers nutrition. 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. The sites below can direct you to a practitioner in your local area. You may need to call a couple to find someone you feel comfortable with. www.daa.asn.au www.nsa.asn.au www.atms.com.au One thing I have found helpful are smoothies, they 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. Another option is a feeding expert, the gals at No Fuss Feeding (website of the same name) are excellent with feeding issues, and it`s their specialty. Or in a similar vein an early childhood consultant who can help with behavioural tips. But I would leave these as a next option. Aussie: www.nofussfeeding.com.au NZ: www.paediatricfeedingdisordersclinic.co.nz/index.htm 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, 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