19 mos old, low iron, refuses meat, eggs, beans, green veggies - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 01-06-2012, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it common for little girls to avoid meat, eggs, and beans like the plague? I searched for threads about picky eaters, and I don't really think she qualifies, but all she will eat are baked goods, peanut butter/nutella sandwiches, pastas, and most kinds of fruit. 

 

The problem is that she's been low in iron for several months. I'm not sure she still is, since she hasn't been tested in a while, but I don't like giving her the supplements, and I don't know what to do to get her to eat meat. She will eat chicken nuggets (yay), but that's the only "meat" she'll eat. I'm pretty sure the nutritional info did not include iron on the last bag I bought. 

 

Are there any real winning recipes out there that have worked for your non-meat-eaters? She LOVES spaghetti, but will only eat the pasta. 


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#2 of 12 Old 01-06-2012, 07:30 PM
 
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Does she eat enough otherwise? Low iron can cause a cycle with poor appetite. 

Otherwise, if you don't want to give any supplements, you should easily be able to find some fortified cereals or granola bars (I think it's Earth's Best makes a toddler cereal bar that is pretty soft & chewy), raisins are good, molasses (in gingerbread or whatever), also, believe it or not, Oreos, although that would be sort of a last resort. I'm sure other people have other ideas...Also, to maximize her absorption don't serve it with calcium, serve it with a vitamin c thing like orange juice.  

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#3 of 12 Old 01-06-2012, 08:16 PM
 
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I'm assuming she's not getting BM or formula any longer? 

 

At 19 mos, it's pretty common for them to go in fits and spurts with things they love then hate or hate then love.  Keep offering her those things.  I know it can get frustrating, but as time passes, she will most likely start trying the other things you're feeding her whether she ultimately likes them or not.  I seem to recall reading that they have to taste a food something like 5 times before they can like it - so just keep offering.  My 28 mo is a still a carb fiend, but he's definitely expanding his repertoire at this point (he likes cooked spinach!). 

 

Without meat, a good option is to make baked beans from scratch.  I like the honey-baked lentils recipe that floats around here (only like 4 ingredients), but I use (cooked) navy beans (and omit the water) instead of the lentils and add molasses (preferrably blackstrap, it has more iron - 15% of RDA for adults in 2 tsp).  Although in your case, I'd probably stick with the lentils, since they have more iron than the navy beans (although both have a good amount).  I also will sometimes replace the honey with maple syrup (still adding molasses).  I cook them until they're dry (not soupy) - each bean winds up coated with a sweet shell, and he can use his fingers on them.  My kiddo eats them up because they're sweet, but it'll be years before I tell him they're pretty good for him too. 

 

If she's willing to eat it, hummus or falafel either one is a good choice.  Yes, they're beans, but they don't look like beans, IYKWIM.  Spread some hummus on a piece of pita and see if she'll try it.  It's super easy (and cheap) to make at home if she will. 

 

Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are also good sources of iron.  Both can be used in various places you might otherwise add nuts - like in baked goods.  You can also grind them up and stir them into her PB - similar to nuts they'll grind into a bit of a powder and then if you keep going you can make "butter" out of them.  You might be able to find pumpkin seed (pepita) or sesame butter at a HFS (not sure about the pumpkin, but the sesame is widely used). 

 

If she absolutely won't touch anything not a baked good, I'd say gingerbread might be a good choice.  I just made one that used a good bit of blackstrap molasses, it was delicious, not too sweet, and it kept really well in a tupperware on the counter (for a week).  http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/print/black-sticky-gingerbread-recipe.html

 

We also drink molasses milk around here - heating up milk and stirring in molasses to taste.  We don't drink hot chocolate, so this is our warm milk drink of choice.  You can also replace sugar in recipes with sucanat (which is sugar that still has the molasses attached).  It will alter flavor and color, but will function just like white sugar in recipes. 

 

If she's addicted to PB, try mixing PB and molasses and see if she'll eat that on her sandwich.  There are also recipes for things like zucchini bread and pumpkin bread that use molasses and get you a serving of vegetables... I know I have a few floating around I can look for later. 

 

Also something like a baked steel-cut oatmeal made with molasses - really, molasses is one of the easiest sources of iron to "sneak" into food, IMO.  It's just a matter of where she'll accept it. 

 

Something I have discovered about my DS is that he will try just about anything if it's fresh (warm), just cooked and I'm feeding him off my plate.  In fact that's how I get him to eat creamed spinach - 1 bite for mommy, 1 bite for DS.  If I sit him down with his own plate of the same thing, he might eat a bite or two.  If I try to give it to him the next day (leftovers), he won't touch it, even if I warm it up. 

 

HTH


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#4 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Right - she's no longer breastfeeding. I do have supplements I could give her, but it stains her teeth so badly, and I figure she needs more than just the iron in iron-rich foods. She will drink molasses milk, we do that here, too. I make granola with molasses, and she's eating that now. She definitely has a good appetite. As a kid, I probably had low iron too, in fact I know I was anemic in my early teens. I ate plenty of meat and green veggies, so I never understood why that was the case.

 

Cristeen, I notice the same patterns with her. She is more likely to eat from my plate than her own, and more likely to eat something she's smelled cooking for a while. Just recently I bought her some toddler forks and spoons she really likes, and if I leave the room after serving her, she will eventually eat what is in front of her. But she still manages to pick out the meat and put it aside. 

 

For a while she would eat these little turkey sticks that Gerber makes (gross, I know), but now she refuses those, too. I think she eats more if we're at someone else's house and their kids are eating something. Someone babysat her for me a couple weeks ago and fed her part of a hot dog. 

 

She used to eat chicken if it was cooked in the crock pot with cream of mushroom soup, but the last few times I made it, she wouldn't touch it. In the past, sometimes I could force feed her one bite, and then she'd devour whatever was in front of her. That turned into a silly game for a while, but that doesn't work anymore. I'll keep at it with the 5th time's hopefully a charm rule.

 

I was just hoping some of you might have some dynamite recipes that kids can't resist. She's a chocoholic with a passion. If it's chocolate, she doesn't just taste it, she dives right in. 


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#5 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 11:47 AM
 
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If she likes chocolate you could do choc-tofu pudding (tofu is iron-rich)... take a block of extra-firm or silken tofu & blend it in the food processor with about 1/2c melted chocolate (chocolate chips work well) and 1/2c of peanut butter -- you can adjust the amounts a bit to suit her tastes -- until it's really smooth. Then refrigerate for a few hours & eat. To get her to eat more beans, there's a recipe for chocolate 'hummus' (use blackstrap molasses in place of the maple syrup for extra iron!) http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2011/09/hu-mousse-dessert-hummus.html And here's a recipe for black bean brownies http://happyherbivore.com/recipe/vegan-blackbean-brownies/ (sounds gross, I know, but I swear it isn't!!) -- that one is a vegan recipe since that's all I have on file but I know there are non-vegan versions too if you want to include eggs.

If you don't already, use whole wheat pasta rather than white. If you can get her to eat tomato sauce, cook it in a cast-iron pot... Some of the iron leeches into the sauce. You can use cast iron for all cooking but I believe it's only acidic foods that leech decent amounts of iron. Sometimes I put blackstrap molasses in my pasta sauce to sweeten it. Dried fruit like apricots have iron too.

Are you using Floradix as your iron supplement? I had problems with tooth-staining too, it can help to mix it into something or drink it with a straw.

Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron better so try to pair iron-rich foods with things like tomatoes, oranges, strawberries, pineapple, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, etc.

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#6 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 12:35 PM
 
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My toddler loves roasted chickpeas. Drain and pat dry cooked chickpeas (you can used canned), lightly coat with oil and seasings of choice (we usually do cajun seasoning), and bake on 400 mixing periodically. I forget how long. I just let them bake until they have a slight crunch. Baked cauliflower coated in a mixture of oil, mustard, lemon juice, dill weed, and nutritional yeast (also at 400, turning periodically) is a big hit here, too. We love brussel sprouts here, but my pickier child only likes them braised and seasoned with nutritional yeast and garlic. Flaxseed is a good source of iron. We mix it into a lot of foods or sprinkle it on top. Does she like oatmeal? My toddler doesn't care either way, but my DD and my roommate's toddler much prefer the taste of oatmeal with flaxseed mixed in. It also makes a good egg substitute in baking (one tablespoon flaxseed to 3 tablespoons warm water = 1 egg). I make mini vegan quiche type things with cashew cheese and sauteed greens, onion, and mushrooms. Everyone here loves them, even my anti green stuff roommate.

 

Oh, FYI, you'd be surprised how many pureed veggies you can get into pasta sauce before they catch on...

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#7 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Chocolate tofu pudding! That sounds awesome! She'd eat that in a hurry, esp if I told her no a couple times a day like I do with brownies. I have tasted black bean brownies before that were yummy. I can try that, too.

 

I have a multi vitamin with iron...the Flintstone type, and I have a liquid supplement that is clear but somehow managed to stain her teeth. It was a prescription one. I did give it to her daily for a month at a time, but got nervous about giving it for a long period of time because no one would give me real advice about it.

 

 

We've been through a lot of changes with insurance and doctors, and I'm still trying to sort it out. Her dad's insurance gave her a new primary doctor, but that person doesn't exist at the location they told me, and when I call the number it's an oncology office. Have to call them Monday. I'm trying to get her medicaid carrier switched b/c none of the offices around here that accept her dad's insurance will treat her simply because she's on medicaid or a particular form of medicaid. It's been a nightmare that is costing THEM money since our only option right now is to go to emergency rooms if something is really worth seeing a doc for. Her previous doctor won't see us anymore due to his anxiety issues and my reluctance to vaccinate DD.


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#8 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 01:15 PM
 
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Bummer! Why are these kiddos this unreasonable!!! Grrrr....

 

Mine was low on iron too (we did supplement her, but not as much as they asked me to; she wouldn't take it).

 

To keep her iron up:

 

Idea 1.

 

I make lentil pancakes for her.

 

Soak: black gram + brown rice, 1:2. Grind to fine batter consistency with salt to taste. Let ferment overnight (I place it in the oven, because the heat from cooking keeps it warm). When it rises to double (or thereabouts; you'll knowwww when it ferments; the appearance becomes fluffy and as soon as you insert a ladle and begin stirring, it'll go back down to normal size. Make thin pancakes and serve warm. With fruit jelly or eggplant spread or any chutney.

 

This is the basic recipe for a South Indian dish called dosa. The recipe calls for more rice, but I keep it to this ratio so that she gets more lentils.

 

Idea 1a.

 

Also, I add black beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, mung beans - whatever I fancy, adjusting the rice accordingly. For this specific dosa, it is important that there is black gram. It gives a slippery consistency to the batter and makes the dosa smoother. 1 cup black gram (urad dal in Indian stores) is sufficient even if you add 2 of the other beans in equal quantities (that is what I do these days).

 

Also, when I use mung beans, I sprout them. They're very easy to sprout and decreases the chances of indigestion.

 

Idea 1b.

 

There is also a South Indian recipe for a mung bean-only pancake. Soak, sprout (optional), grind with cumin+ginger+green chillies+salt (optional, but I would recommend leaving the cumin in), no fermentation required, make pancake immediately. 

 

Both batters will keep in the frig. for 3-4 days or even a week. If keeping for that long, be sure to keep 2 containers. One stock, one for use.

 

You could even make wraps with these pancakes as one of the moms (I forget who) on here does. She makes mung bean "tortillas".

 

Idea 2.

 

Did you try hummus?

 

Idea 3.

 

Cook lentils (any gram lentils will do) and add into soups/stews. She shouldn't (I hope, these little ones you never know!!!) be able to tell the difference. Baked goods? See http://www.livestrong.com/article/123087-cookies-toddlers/

 

Sneak a bean flour in, perhaps?

 

Their oatmeal cookies are yummmmyyyyy. I made the flour-less version.


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#9 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 09:00 PM
 
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You might consider trying Floradix then, you can get it OTC (at Whole Foods etc.) and it has a much lower iron content than the prescription supplements, but it's a more readily absorbable form, so you don't have to worry so much about overdose, constipation, etc. if those are your concerns. I'm not crazy about supplementing either though, TBH, though I do give DS a multivitamin now because he had a neurological issue and I thought it might help. Hopefully you can get your insurance/doc issues straightened out & have her tested again, but the Floradix might be something to try in a low dose in the meantime.

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#10 of 12 Old 01-08-2012, 10:01 PM
 
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My DS had low iron for a while too. And he is not really a great eater yet. I love all these ideas, I think a few of them might work for DS, and I'm going to try them.

 

DS also hates floradix. So I ended up juicing for him. He loves fresh juice, and he loves to help wash the veggies, and watch them go into the juicer. He gets really excited about being involved, and has a special cup and straw for his morning juice. He will drink pretty much any combo I make for him, but here is our 'iron' recipe.

 

Parsley

Spinach

Kale

Some kind of citrus, lemon, orange or whatever we have

Strawberries.

 

The citrus and the strawberries cut down the bitterness of the kale, and make it taste sweet. He literally gulps this down. And he is normally SUPER picky.


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#11 of 12 Old 01-08-2012, 10:23 PM
 
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Love the juicing idea- I am gonna try juicing to get more veggies into ds

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#12 of 12 Old 01-16-2012, 08:28 PM
 
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Frozen bananas in a blender with a few teaspoons/tablespoons of nut butter and raw cacao powder!  This is an amazing, decadent treat in our family.  And iron packed.

 

Also, raw brownie bites ---- process 1 c of walnuts and 1 cup of pitted dates in a Vitamix or blender.  Add a few teaspoons of raw cacao powder and roll into balls.  Refrigerate until cold.

 

Yellowdock tincture.

 

Also bone broths/soups made with parsley stems (rich in iron) and plenty of carrots (sweetens it up).  My todder will drink it out of a sippy cup like water.  And really, DD won't touch a veggie, but she'll eat anything in the Vitamix or in a soup. 

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