Toddler refuses to eat fruit

My toddler refuses to eat any kind of fruit. She gets most of her vitamin C from juice and I know she really shouldn't drink a lot of this -- and she has about eight ounces a day. Do you have any suggestions?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

It's not too often that I hear of kids not liking fruit! Besides Vitamin C, there are lots of other important vitamins and minerals and fiber in fruit that are important for her diet. But remember, fruits and vegetables are in the same food group because they provide the same nutrients. You didn't say that she isn't eating vegetables, so it may very well be that she is getting the Vitamin C and other nutrients she needs, only she is getting it from vegetables.

Some vegetables that are high in Vitamin C include broccoli, spinach, green peppers, sweet red peppers, and tomatoes. Is she eating any of these? If so, then cut back her juice to four ounces and depend on the vegetables for the rest. Sweet red peppers are one of the best vegetable sources of Vitamin C, plus they have a flavor most kids love. You can encourage her to eat them by providing something to dip it in...kids love to dip! Try some ranch dressing, or a combination of yogurt and peanut butter, or some guacamole.

To try and increase her fruit consumption, I suggest you continue to offer it to her, without forcing it on her. Try different and fun ways to serve it. This may require a little more work on your part to begin with, but if it gets her eating the fruit, then eventually she will eat it the fruit simply because she likes it.

For example, try making a face out of the fruit on a plate with a banana strip for a smile, some grape eyes, a strawberry nose etc. You can even get her involved in making them..and then of course you eat away the face! You can make a boat out of a melon wedge and put strawberry "people" in it.

You can also 'dip' fruit. Try a mixture of 1/2 cup light cream cheese, 1 jar of Earth's Best Apple and Apricots (or other fruit puree) and 1 tsp honey. Allow the cream cheese to soften to room temperature. Whisk together the fruit, cream cheese and honey. Serve as a dip for fresh apple slices, orange sections, banana wheels, kiwi slices and strawberries. (This also makes a good spread for bagels when chilled and firm.)

You may try making a milkshake or yogurt shake using fresh fruit. For example, in a blender, blend some milk, some frozen vanilla yogurt, fresh peach slices, a little orange juice, and some ripe banana. You can add fresh fruit to pancakes and muffins.

Try a fresh chilled fruit soup. There are plenty of recipes for them in several cookbooks. There are several great cookbooks available that have recipes for babies and toddlers. Look at your local bookstore or baby store. Some of them have some great recipes including fruit. In The Baby Cookbook by Karin Knight, there are offerings such as Raspberry Tofu Smoothie, Strawberry Heaven, Papaya Shake and Tropical Cooler...these sound good enough to entice any reluctant fruit eater! Good luck, and remember...you can enjoy the leftovers if there are any.

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