vegetarian toddler won't eat pulses - any ideas?(18 Posts)
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My 22 month old DD has gradually given up virtually all pulses over the last few months. She'll now only eat baked beans, hummus and lentil cakes. As I've got a 6 week old son now too, lentil cakes aren't getting made much! She also has eggs twice a week or so, and the soy veggie sausages once or twice. I am worried about her iron though. If she's not prepared to eat more pulses, do you think I should introduce some meat? I'm not keen as it would mean cooking separately for her to DP and I... Or any ideas of how to get more pulses in her? She used to have lentils and chickpeas in stews but won't hear of it now. She does eat well otherwise, and has lots of green veg and likes dried apricots!
Many thanks for any advice from anyone!
Give her meat.
Or just keep offering the lentils and pulses. Eventually she will eat them again if she's hungry enough.
My DD is veggie and doesn't eat many pulses tbh. She doesn't like meat so don't bother giving it to her. Luckily she eats alot of brocolli and eggs so just hope it's enough. She did have her iron tested once and was fine so wouldn't worry if she is generally eating well. Many kids, veggy or not have lowish iron according to a doc I know and it isn't a big issue as it usually catches up as they get older and eat more.
I'm not sure that you have anything to worry about. The eggs, apricots, green veg and the pulses that she does eat will all be good sources of iron, and if she seems well in herself then I really wouldn't worry. If you start noticing that she's becoming more lethargic (I believe that's a symptom of iron deficiency) then you can always get her checked out.
Though don't rely on any knowledge from health professionals - my HV referred DS to dietician as we are veggie - the dietician just laughed.
It sounds as though she's getting plenty of protein, and if she's eating lentils, dried apricots, leafy greens, peas etc, she'll be fine for iron. Perhaps give her a tiny bit of orange juice with an iron serving to help absorption and try to give calcium-rich foods at different times from the iron.
Please don't feel you have to give her meat if you don't want to! My 2 DD's (5 and 6) have been veggie from birth, me for 20 odd years, no special effort made to go lentil weaving and we're all perfectly healthy! A lot of breakfast cereals are fortified with iron and there are a brand of children's vitamins called 'Animal Parade' that you can give as an insurance dose if it makes you feel less worried. I have also been known to sneak a couple of spoonfuls of molasses onto bolognaise/lasagne type sauces to boost the iron content and it goes unnoticed. Hang in there!
It's important to really limit dairy intake too, if you're concerned about iron, as it dairy 'takes' iron from the body.
does she like soup? you can add all sorts of beans to thicken soups. butternut squash and cannellini bean is a fave of ours at the mo.
Thank you all for the reassurances and tips, I really appreciate it. I probably don't have anything to worry about by the sound of it (she's definitely not lethargic - I wouldn't mind a bit less energy in fact!) but I will limit her dairy a bit. I didn't know that about dairy and iron, and she's a complete milk/cheese fiend. Thanks again for the support.
i agree with dragonfruit, my ds is a veggie and blending up red lentils, cannellini beans etc and hiding them in soups and pasta sauces works well. sneaking parsley into things really helps iron intake too.
Oh, and butter beans in mash potato's a good one too!
How about quinoa and tofu if you want more sources of protein? We now regularly eat quinoa instead of rice/other grain, and mix in peas, red pepper, etc. All of the toddlers I know seem to be carb fiends, so maybe a grain protein source will go down better.
Tofu, either deep fried (which we get ready made at our local chinese shop) or soft tofu made into chocolate 'mousse' might also go down well, and my favorite toddler seem to like playing with tofu (squishing it between her hands to see it ooze out seems to be a special source of joy). Tofu also makes great burgers (as do many beans/red lentils: perhaps they might be more acceptable this way?)
Finally, if bean soups don't go down well, then next time you're making Indian-style 'daal' (with lentils of any kind), make it extra-watery, then scoop out the extra water and use as soup stock: I grew up in India, and 'daal-pani' (lentil water) was the standard first weaning food to get some extra protein into young babies.
Surya, do you have a recipe for making mousse from tofu?
You prob already know, but frsh orange helps the absorpsion of iron, so mabe a small drink of it after a particulary irony meal? Although not sure if it only works with iron tablets?
No not just with iron tablets. You need vitamin C to absorb calcium, so good idea to take a bit with an iron rich food. Cut out the dairy and you'll be iron-ful!
Just a thought - could it be that she's regressing a little because of new baby? She might be feeling like being babied a bit with the new arrival and maybe some of these foods are foods you introduced later? In which case lots of milk and cuddles might be as effective as the food you offer iyswim?
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