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How can I get my 16 month old daughter to eat meat and veggies?

Dr. Christine Wood, M.D


Q How can I get my 16 month old daughter to eat meat and veggies? She LOVES pasta of any kind. But WILL not eat meat. She will eat seafood and steak, but not chicken, pork chops, hamburger, cube steak. Once in a while she will eat peas and corn, but not anything else, ESPECIALLY brocolli! What can I do?

A This is always a tough age, because toddler's are often very phobic of new foods. You don't want to make feeding time a battlezone, and force them to eat, because you will probably be the loser. Your best bets are to try to sneak veggies in foods.

Buy a very fine grater and grate zucchini, carrots, jicama or whatever else you can think, of and mix it with the pasta. If she likes grilled cheese or quesadillas, melt it in with the cheese. Mix in grated veggies into your pancake batter or muffin batter. Make a healthy smoothie with soy protein powder or tofu (a great source of protein), yogurt, a bit of juice (you can even try carrot juice or some healthy vegetable juice) and some fresh fruits. Make healthy popsicles with fresh fruit and a bit of vegetable juice mixed in.

As far as the meat issue, I wouldn't worry too much.

Toddlers often do not like meat because of the texture. Use soy protein, tofu, yogurt, bean dips, or eggs for additional protein sources. If she likes soups, the meats in there are often less chewy and more palatable for them. Be a good role model and try to limit alot of processed food choices. Fruits have alot of vitamins and minerals, so if she is good with fruit for now, and not with veggies, that's good. If toddler's try a food several times, they may turn around and like it, so keep encouraging a bite of new foods if it is not a battle. These suggestions come from my book, How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It!

Christine Wood, MD

Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.

She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at

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kerry Jan 9, 2010 02:52:23 PM ET

My son is 16 months and still has blended food and sruggles with finger at wits end dnt no wat 2 do.

Amanda Mar 18, 2014 05:28:41 AM ET

My 16mos. old son will only eat veggies or some meats blended. sometimes i add apple sauce and he will eat it if i cut it up for finger foods. if he does not like the feel, then he will not eat it.

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