Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Sam | 2010/03/10


Fussy eater

Dear Doc

My daughter is 14 months old. She is healthy, but possibly slightly underweight. She drinks about 500ml of NAN 3 a day, and about 100ml of rooibos tea / juice a day.

She has pronutro with full cream milk for breakfast. My problem is that she refuses to eat vegetables most days. I try to give her some veggies for lunch and supper, but end up giving her fruit instead as she spits out the veggies. Should I be concerned that she is getting too much fruit, and not enough veggies, or should I not stress about it and hope that she takes to veggies eventually one day?

Many thanks

Expert's Reply



In your own words your little daughter is healthy. Many children of this age refuse to eat vegetables.Do not worry about this. She seems to have a reasonable diet.

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user comments


Posted by: Purple | 2010/03/10

She will start to eat veggies one day. Do you know any toddlers or young children who love vegetables?

There are still ways to get them in for example grating carrots into spaghetti bolognaise, pureeing tomatoes into sauces and so on.

Most children still like the sweeter vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin/butternut, corn/mielies so those are usually a good standby.

Another way children respond to veggies is to give them raw with a dip, so give broccolli trees and plain yoghurt, carrot sticks with hummus.

Aim to give three to five portions of fruit and veg per day. A portion being the size of the eaters palm.
You can do this by giving sliced banana on her pronutro, strawberries with her morning snack, mango or peach with her lunch (and carrot grated in), dried mango strips with her afternoon snack, and a pizza with tomato paste on the base and bacon and pineapple topping.
Don''t panic if every meal or every day is not perfectlly balanced - aim at balancing her meals over a week.
One cup of diluted fruit juice can also be counted as a fruit.
Another occassional treat to get veggies down is to give those spinach and feta balls you buy at woolworths.

Don''t worry, when children reach about 5 they are so much easier to reason with and get motivated into eating veggies with a star chart.
My son has always eaten a lot of veggies in comparison to other children, though personally I didn''t think he was having veggies often enough until my friends shared their experiences.
Still now he loves broccolli.
Chopped up cucumber is also often enjoyed by children, as well as cherry tomatos.
Steaming vegetables can also make them tastier than if they are boiled, and their colour is better.
Grating into sauces is a very good standby though.

something else that can work is to make pictures out of the food - so make a flower out of a patty pan, a stick of cucumber as the stem.

Also remember that from about 12 - 15 months all children appear to be fussy eaters until you realise that they aren''t growing quite as fast as the last 6 months of their first year, so they actually need less.

Don''t stress about what your child eats too much. So long as she doesn''t have easy access to sweets, chips and biscuits and is mostly drinking water, then put a plate of healthy food in front of her and let her dig in with her fingers (newspaper under the high chair is very helpful). If she hasn''t eaten after ten minutes, take the plate away and let her play, offer it again half an hour later. Don''t get upset with her for not eating - if she is hungry, she will eat.

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