My 4 year old refuses to eat meat. I don’t push her and respect her decision, but I am worried about her protein and iron levels, as she seems to be quite run down. I feed her as many iron rich veggies as I can, but I am at a loss as to what else I can give her to make sure she gets all her nutrients. she is great with fruit and vegetables, doesn’t eat a lot of junk. Any ideas?

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  • We’re vegetarian and don’t eat meat. We use a lot of lentils, beans and other protein rich veggies, cheese, egg, tempeh (=fermented soy) and other meat substitutes.

  • Cut up the meat into very small pieces and allow her to dip in tomato or bbq sauce. Hope this helps.

  • Maybe you could try vitamins until she eats enough iron and protein. Does she like pasta? Spaghetti bolognese is usually a hit with kids of all ages.

  • Is it a taste/texture issue or a moral issue? This might help you address any issues she may have and help with what you want/need to do about it.

  • If you’re concerned, you could always chat with an early childhood dietician – you are eligible to see them through your community health centre although there is likely a waiting list.

  • At this age, I would suggest discussing this with your GP/dietician/nutritionist.

  • You could use mince meat in casseroles, enchilada, lasagna etc. My youngest son wouldn’t (and still doesn’t really like) meat on its own but would eat it when in other things. It is also so much easier for little teeth to eat.

  • I’m going through something similar with my 3 year old. The only meat she will eat happily is sausages. Sometimes the occasional chicken nugget. I just keep offering it to her and try not to make a fuss

  • try him with one piece on his plate – no pressure.. Cut it up really tiny, maybe tenderise it so it is really easy to digest. Most kids eat most things if there isn’t a fuss in time I found. My kids always loved what I called ‘bits on a stick’ meat was marinated in honey soy and garlic, so tasted just like the veges on the sticks. Good luck!

  • ask your child health nurse what she suggest to try.

  • If you are worried that she doesn’t get enough protein or iron, you could add more nuts and seeds to her diet.

  • In this case, vitamin supplements could help. Mine really liked good quality chippolatta sausages at this age, and pan fried salmon. She also liked plain fried mince (quite yuk really, but she liked it). Hope this helps.

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