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If baby refuses to eat meat, will she suffer from iron deficiency?
Q: My baby refuses to eat all meat including red meat, chicken and seafood. Should I be concerned about iron deficiency or other nutrient problems?
Mary Houston
A: Refusal to eat meat, particularly beef, is very common in the toddler years, Mary, and nothing to worry about. Sometimes the smell is what causes the child to refuse tasting the foods, and meat has a very obvious odor when cooked. Dental changes, like molars coming in, can make it harder to chew. Whatever the case, meat is not a required part of anyone’s meal. Toddlers will often eat legumes like baked beans or cheese-based dishes, which provide plenty of protein.

Protein malnutrition is very rare in the United States, Mary, so relax. Your daughter will be asking for meat soon enough. You can also give her a children’s multivitamin with iron every few days – no high potency vitamins, please! – but check with your pediatrician first to see if it is even necessary.