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Baby won't eat meat

Updated on March 4, 2011

Baby refuses to eat meat

My 8 month old baby refuses eat or vegetables. He would only eat fruits, cereals and dairy products. He has developed wonderful until this age, reached all the milestones, has a little over the average weight and height for an eight months old baby, but would not eat meat or most of the vegetables available. The pediatrician and general medical advice for a developing baby on his second stage, regarding nutrition, is that the baby should consume at least three times a week some animal proteins, as they are required for his growing.

My vegetarian baby

How to get the baby to eat meat and veggies

Due to the fact that my son loves any type of fruits, mango and banana the most, I mashed the meat ( veal, chicken or turkey ) in his fruit purees but that was pointless, as I think he's got some sort of food type detector in his nose and turn his head only at the smell of my tricks.
But my baby won't eat meat and vegetables as well, maybe because vegetables are not so tasty as the fruits are. I tried different combinations but none of them worked.

A huge surprise was that, during one of our lunches together, I was eating some delicious grilled trout with rice, olive oil and oregano, and he become interested, so I offered a small piece of fish and he ate it. From that moment each time I serve him fish he won't say no and eat it.

Then I thought that maybe all the mixtures of meat and vegetables or meat and fruit or meat and cereals are not the best thing and I boiled some veal and cut it into small pieces and he ate the meat. Now, my baby won't eat meat with the same delight he eats fruits, but it's a start and I'm happy that he gets some animal protein in his system.

I plan on doing the same with veggies, maybe the baby will like it if they are served individual, in small pieces, because when foods are mashed the fibers are broken and the initial taste transforms.

During the time he was refusing to eat meat, I searched over google, and asked everyone how was able to give me an answer regarding why babies won't eat meat or vegetables. I was curious if, is it really so necessary for a baby' development ? Isn't it possible that a baby would be vegetarian right from the beginning, are there some health issues that may occur due to this lack of animal protein in a baby's diet ?

Do babies really need to eat meat?

Doctors say that animal protein is the best source for proteins during the growth of the baby in his first year of life, especially, but a lot of people's own experience in raising vegetarian babies has proven it's not that vital. There are other great and probably healthier ways to replace animal protein.

The nutrients a baby that won't eat meat can be found in a varieties of foods:

  • bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods (carbohydrates)
  • fruits and vegetables
  • milk and dairy foods
  • boiled eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein, including soya, pulses, nuts and seeds
A parent that decides to raise a vegetarian baby should check some nutrition charts to see what non-animal foods contain enough proteins, iron, calcium and other vitamins that are found in meat, dairy, fish.The parent should also consider the fact that this is a decision not made by the baby( unless the baby refuses meat or dairy or fish, totally ) and it is possible that when the baby will be older will see other kids eating meat, get curious and want to try and even enjoy meat, and all of your effort of calculating nutrients and mixing foods in a manner that they would be tasty and nourishing as well, would have been a total waste of time and energy.

Daily nutrient recommendations for a baby

The Food and Nutrition Information Center at the United States Department of Agriculture's website, advices that the daily nutrient intake for a 8 month old baby with a weight of 11 kg are:

Carbs: 101- 146 grams 
Proteins: 13 grams 
Fat: 25-35 grams
Water: 0.8 liters (Total water includes all water contained in food, beverages, and drinking water)
Iron: 11 mg

You may find the calculator to check what is the recommended daily intake of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for your baby here:

Based on the averages provided for my 8 month old baby, here is an example of what he should eat during a day:

5.00 a.m. Formula Milk ( 150 ml )

8.30 a.m. Breakfast : Mashed Apple( 200 grams ) and cereals : about 60 grams of carbs, some vitamins and minerals, no fat, 2 grams of proteins, 3 mg of iron

11.00 a.m. Formula Milk ( 150 ml )

12.30 p.m. Lunch : 50 grams of veal and mashed potatoes : 30 grams of carbs, 32 grams of fat, 7 grams of proteins, 1 mg of iron

15.30 p.m. Formula Milk ( 150 ml )

19.30 - 20.00 p.m. 200 grams Mango fruit and cereals : 34 grams of carbs, 1 gram protein, 0.6 grams of fat and a lot of vitamins and minerals.

21.00 p.m. Formula Milk ( 200 ml )

I also offer my baby some extra iron, and a lot of vitamins and minerals he gets from the rich formula.

Some ideas for a baby tasty lunch ?

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    • profile image

      carlu21 6 years ago daughter is 4 now and she never had any animal protein except for organic eggs..she is very healthy and very smart. she never had a ear infection. If you are giving your baby 100% organic and grass fed...your baby is ok.

    • mihaelaotp profile image

      Mihaela Buh 7 years ago from Romania

      Why is that Crystolite? I know beaf, turkey, chicken and fish are allowed. I wouldn't offer any meat as well but all my family insists the baby would eat meat

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      Babies at the age of 1 should not eat meat unless beaf. I prefer giving the vegetable at that age than meat.