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My 3 year old daughter only eats vegetables!!

I'm worried that my daughter is not getting a well rounded diet. She seriously loves vegetables and once referred to broccoli as "beautiful". I have to force her to eat a few bites of meat or bread, and she will eat some fruit, too, but mostly fills up on green beans, baby carrots, broccoli, peas..... She take a multi-vitamin every morning. Do you think I am worrying for nothing? She looks great and has plenty of energy, but is on the small side. I know that protein is super important for growing kids. Any ideas or thoughts would be welcome.

Mon. Apr 24, 10:15am

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Protein: Milk? Yogurt? Pudding? Cheese? Nuts? Dry beans? Real butter on the veggies? She may be getting more protein than you think if she eats any of these. Kids don't need a ton of protein--that is, we're used to thinking of protein foods in serving sizes WAY bigger than an actual serving.

I wouldn't worry too much about her--really, energy and a healthy look are good guages for little kids. But make sure there are protein foods available. Give her hummus to dip her veggies in. Top her veggies with butter and some crushed almonds or peanuts. Sprinkle grated cheese on her broccoli. Make full-fat milk pudding for a snack(usually the recommendation is to cut full-fat milk around two years, but if she's eating mostly veggies she might need it). Also, be sure there's some fat going in. Real butter, part-fat chocolate milk, peanuts, cheese.

Monday, April 24, 2006, 10:26 AM

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Yes, I think you're worrying for nothing. As far as I can tell from all the kids in my family, this is perfectly normal for a kid that age. She's a lucky kid if she loves broccoli! Whatever you do, don't discourage THAT!! :-) And, as the last poster said, we are used to thinking of protein in larger-than-necessary servings. Make sure she gets her milk for calcium, and she'll get a lot of protein as well. Beans and a grain together will also give her a complete protein, with less fat than dairy.

Monday, April 24, 2006, 10:40 AM

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You could try Pediasure. I got some as a free sample once, although i didn't think my kids would like it. But they really loved it. Or you could even whip up some high protein milkshakes or smoothies, with fruit, if she will eat that. If you're really worried, talk to your pediatrician who might be able to give you more ideas.

It is not uncommon for children to go through periods during which they will only eat one thing, or one food group. Keep offering her a balanced diet and she will eventually branch out. Kids are very good at sensing what they need and eating accordingly, that is until we adults mess it all up by insisting they clear their plate and things like that. ha ha....

Monday, April 24, 2006, 10:45 AM

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Here's a link to a list of high protein veggetables.

If it doesn't work, go to www.nutritiondata.com and use their nutrient search tool (in the tools menu) to find the same list.

Link

Monday, April 24, 2006, 1:26 PM

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Milk is not necessary for a healthy child (other than nursing). Broccoli has tons of both calcium and protein. Honestly, don't top her food with butter and force feed her full fat milk. You should be glad to have a slender child. You are used to seeing all of the fat, overfed children at the playground. It is okay if your child is on the small side, she will grow eventually and when her body needs more energy (for growth) she will eat more. The worst thing you could do for her is try to speed her growth rate. Those who reach menarche earliest have the highest rates of breast cancer later in life. Let her eat all of the veggies she wants (you won't become malnourished eating veggies) and let her grow at her own pace.

Monday, April 24, 2006, 2:32 PM

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