117 answers

2.5 Year Old Son Won't Eat Meat

Does anyone else have this problem? My son will NOT eat any meat except chicken nuggets or mini meatballs. Occasionally he will eat tofu. If I cut up chicken, he says "yucky." I try to hide it in his food and he picks it out. I have even made chicken nuggets from scratch (to be healthier) but he still won't eat them. I haven't tried to puree turkey or beef yet but it may come to that. On another note, he LOVES vegetables. He opens the freezer and pulls out peas and/or broccoli, so I guess I have it good on that side. However, I feel that he needs more protein. Any advice?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow....I can't believe so many people had the same experience as me!! So, here's what happened.......Last night I ground up some cooked chicken and mixed it in with some rice. He loved it. He likes to eat edamame as long as he can unpeel them himself. (You know how that is) I am going to try more beans and nuts like everyone suggested. He loves almonds and walnuts so that one should be easy. I also like the nut butter ideas. I used to eat a variety of nut butters myself so I'll try them on him. He drinks 1-2 sippy cups full of soy milk daily so I know he is getting protein there. I am not too worried now. I forgot to mention that I was vegetarian for 18 years so maybe he just doesn't like the taste - The same reason why I became one. I just want to make sure that he is healthy. Thank you so much for all of your advice!!

More Answers

T., I'm sure you will or have received a ton of responses on this saying the same thing--enjoy it! Meat is increasingly unsafe, and was never meant to be a big part of our diets, even before the environment became so toxic; it's much too difficult to digest, especially for little tykes, and our bodies just don't assimilate enough protien to make it worth the system stress. There are tons of alternate sources of protein. I suggest you look into the vegetarian cookbooks and other healthy M.-resources. He could be the influence to turn around the eating habits and general health of the whole family. Good luck~~

1 mom found this helpful

When my daughter was 2 she hated the smell of meat/meat products. She would cover her face, pinch her nose, and say it smells bad refusing to go into the kitchen. Later she was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Her body dose not like meats. Your son is a natural vegetarian, forget the meets, stop trying.

Buy vegetarian cookbooks, try the vegetarian meat products, lentils, beans, falafel, broccli, vitamins, go online, join one of the local chapters, change your house to a vegetarian house now while he is young, you will be healthier and life will be easier.

I am a mom who waited too long to change her whole family to vegetarian, my daughter is now 12, the sooner the better.

Try falafel out of the box. We lightly fry ours, as little oil as possible. Then we do burrito buffet or wrap buffet. The kids love it.

1 mom found this helpful

if he'll do tofu every so often, they have a super high protein, super firm tofu at trader joe's. not that expensive.

have you tried a chinese vegetarian restaurant? everything is tofu!! "orange chicken" is..tofu! it might be a good transition to meat.

beans and legumes also have a lot of protein.

i say, count your blessings! meat can be tough to chew and harder to digest. maybe his system isn't ready for it yet. have you tried fish? tilapia is very mild. my son loves tilapia and salmon and he's only 15 months. oh, i found my son likes slow cooked meat more. it's much more tender! try a crockpot recipe. it cooks the meat slower, so it's very tender and tasty.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello Tracy, I have found that all children have certain foods they either don't like, refuse to eat or may even have a food aversion (ate food when sick, threw it up and now thinks that particular food will make them sick). For my 1st I had to make all food Barbie pink yet would gag from tomatoes, my second was allergic to all milk protein, my only son thinks he's allergic to chocolate and my 5 y/o daughter has a food aversion to all pie. So, the best advice that has actually worked for us is that I present all food to all family members. Everyone gets everything; meat, veggies, pie, tomatoes in salad. They don't have to actually eat it all but when you consistantly present, in a possitive manner, they eventually eat it. Eventually being months to years but the goal is to educate children for life. This will also help decrease the debate about what they want and don't. As for protein, if he likes soy, I believe that it contains all of the essential amino acids needed to build brain cells and prevent protein deficiency. My children liked west soy vanilla. FYI my cousin refused to eat anything but PB&J's and milk for a half a year when he was 2-3 and he recently graduated MCL from UCSC biotech. minimal brain cell loss

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,

If, as I child, I had known I didn't have to eat meat, I wouldn't have. Instead, I spit my liver into my napkins and dropped it into the toilet. Of course, I felt horribly guilty about that but I simply could not swallow it.

When I was 23, I learned that I could be a vegetarian, living a good life without meat, and I've been a vegetarian ever since (although I do eat fish several times a year, simply for a boost of omega-3s). I am soon to be 68, was a marathon runner, and I'm still going strong. Not eating meat is a healthier diet.

So, I suggest you do what you can to learn about vegetarianism. Books by John Robbins, i.e., Diet for A New America, and others, are terrific, and explain the horrors of factory farming and the end result of technologically produced food. Laurel's Kitchen is a good introduction to recipes and how to eat a healthy vegetarian diet.

As far as I'm concerned, what you son is demanding is something that will get you and your whole family eating a very healthy diet. Good for him and good for you!

Best wishes, M.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Tracy, I have 11 year old twins and they are vegetarians, since they were babies they almost never like meat. I try to feed them meat,but i was not succesful. I try different things but nothing worked. I discuss it with their pediatrician and she advice me to feed them what they wanted not what i wanted to feed them. I follow what she said and i have the most healthy boy that you can ever know. my childrent hardly ever get sick and their doctor stated that they are not geting sick, because they do not eat unhealty things. FYI,children who are vegetarian do not eat a lot of candy as they will reach for a grape or carros before the candy.

My son at that age wouldn't eat any meat either. He is 3.5 now, and eats meat all the time. I just kept serveing it to him and try to get him to eat it. Then between 2.5 and 3 I started to tell him of all the animals he likes that eat meat (lions, tigers, sharks etc.) and asked him if he could eat like a lion (or whatever animal). That really started to get him to try it and figured out he like it. I can even get him to eat fish (grilled fish not fish sticks) and he likes it! I think your son too may just grow out of it, you'll be surprised all the changes he make in the next 6 months. In the mean time, try scrambled eggs, beans, yogurt, peanut butter, and even those chicken nuggets! Good luck, as long as you give lots of healthy eating options and keep offering meat to him, he'll be just fine.

I have the same problem with my son, he's 3 yrs old. Loves most fruits and veggies (not all) but LOVES peanut butter. He likes tofu too. Doc says he's healthy. Maybe peanut butter on celery would be good, if he likes it, that is. Thats my son's favorite snack. You can supplement other protein in his diet too like beans. Good luck.

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