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Healthy Living

Food Substitutions

Substitutions For Foods Your Child Will Not Eat

FruitVegetables, raw or cooked; if your child won’t eat fresh fruits, try dried fruits such as apricots, pears, raisins, cherries, mango, pineapple, and bananas, and gradually introduce fresh fruits; make pureed sauces for yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit and gradually introduce chunks of whole fruit; serve applesauce instead of whole fruit. If your child refuses citrus fruits, offer alternative sources of vitamin C (eg, strawberries, cantaloupe, vitamin C-enriched juices, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, watermelon, potatoes); try mixing fruits such as blueberries, chopped apples, and bananas in muffin, quick bread, and waffle batters.
Meat Fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, legumes (dried beans, chickpeas, and peas) and grains, and peanut butter; use chopped vegetable mixtures instead of ground meat or poultry to make pasta sauces, taco fillings; breads, crackers, and pasta made with iron-fortified flour.
MilkCheeses, yogurts, and other dairy foods made with cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk; soy- and rice-based substitutes for milk and cheese (ask your pediatrician whether your child should be taking supplements of vitamins B12 and D); canned fish with bones (salmon, sardines, herring) for calcium and vitamin D; good vegetable sources of calcium such as broccoli; safe exposure to sunlight for vitamin D.
VegetablesIf your child refuses green leafy vegetables, try dark-yellow and orange vegetables (carrots, squash, sweet potatoes) for vitamin A and folic acid, fruits and fruit juices for vitamin C, as well as folic acid; a child who turns down cooked vegetables may enjoy raw vegetable sticks and salads; offer low-sodium vegetable juice instead of fruit juice; children who balk at plain vegetables may enjoy Asian-style stir-fried vegetables; make pasta and taco sauces with finely chopped vegetables instead of, or in addition to, meat.
Whole-grain breadsHigh-fiber white bread; whole wheat and rye crackers; whole wheat pasta.

Last Updated
Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2011)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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