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From: Bryanna (
Subject:         Re: Daughter won't eat meat... need help finding good veg food for her
Date: March 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm PST

In Reply to: Daughter won't eat meat... need help finding good veg food for her posted by Hrundle on March 18, 2010 at 8:41 am:

Don't apologize for writing here-- you are not an
"outsider"! In fact, congratulations for being so
open-minded and respectful of a young child's
decision on this! In fact, many young children do
not want to eat meat (I have known several, not my
own), but are eventually persuaded to eat it because
their parents don't want to go there for one reason
or another!

Here's some reliable nutrition info:

If she eats cheese and yogurt (and perhaps eggs),
and some beans, then she is probably getting enough
protein. If she will eat carrots, potatoes,
tomatoes and avocados, she's doing better than some
kids! Would she eat carrot sticks, for instance,
with a creamy but high-protein dip (tofu dips can be
indistinguishable from sour cream dips, but are
higher in protein)? Don't forget that fruit is also
a good thing.

Children her age often don't like mixed foods-- she
will most likely grow out of that. Also, children's
taste buds are stronger than adults', so foods that
we find pleasant often seem too strong for a child's
palate. This also changes with time if you continue
to offer opportunities to try new foods. Another
thing, some people are "super-tasters", which means
that they are sensitive to bitter flavors in green
vegetables. Even some adults have this problem.
Your daughter is probably just a kid with strong
taste buds, but you never know! I have posted an
article about this at the end of this post and it
has some ideas for making these foods taste better.

2 ways that some parents have found to get children
to eat new foods and more veggies are to let them
cook with you, and to start a small vegetable
garden. Kids usually like to eat what they make and
what they grow! A "garden" could be a few plants in
pots-- doesn't have to be anything big.

Also, you could see if she might be interested in
choosing a new vegetable, fruit, or vegetarian food
every week, or every time she goes shopping with
you. If she chooses it, she might be more likely to
actually try it and perhaps even like it!

BTW, if you google "picky vegetarian kids", you will
get a whole bunch of interesting hits! Also try
"vegetarian kids recipes", "vegetarian kids blogs",

Please email me ( for
more info and more specifics about recipes, etc, if
you wish! Good luck!

There are several books out there for parents of
vegetarian children which might be helpful. Your
library may be able to order some of them for you,
or amazon or ebay might have some used copies for
very little cost. Here are some titles:

Raising Vegetarian Children: A Guide to Good Health
and Family Harmony by Joanne Stepaniak, Vesanto

What, No Meat?!: What to Do When Your Kid Becomes a
Vegetarian by Debra Poneman and Emily Anderson-

Feeding the Healthy Vegetarian Family by Ken

Complete Idiot Guide To Being Vegetarian by S
Havala, RD

The Natural Lunchbox: Vegetarian Meals for School,
Work & Home

The Vegetarian Lunchbasket: Over 225 Easy, Low-Fat,
Nutritious Recipes for the Quality-Conscious Family
on the Go

Better Than Peanut Butter & Jelly: Quick Vegetarian
Meals Your Kids Will Love! Revised Edition

Kids Can Cook: Vegetarian Recipes

Salad People And More Real Recipes: A New Cookbook
for Preschoolers & Up By Mollie Katzen

Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for
Preschoolers and Up
By Mollie Katzen, Ann L. Henderson

The Jumbo Vegetarian Cookbook by Judi Gillies and
Jennifer Glossop – "If you are having trouble
finding new and exciting vegetarian dishes, this is
the book for you. Although The Jumbo Vegetarian
Cookbook is geared toward younger cooks, the food is
something the entire family will enjoy."

Honest Pretzels and 64 other Amazing Recipes for
Kids Ages 8 and Up by Mollie Katzen – "This book is
great to have around even if you and your family are
not strict vegetarians. It contains recipes for
basic sauces and everything from vegetarian
breakfast entrée's to dessert."

The PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) Vegetarian Cookbook by
Donna Klein – "Busy families do not have time to
slave away for hours cooking dinner. The ingredients
and prep work are simple and the meals are designed
to take no more than 30-minutes from start to
finish. Fast and delicious, what more could you ask


That article---
The Yuck Factor
by author Denise Knabe

Why is it that some of us love broccoli and others
shun it like the plague?

Some of us find the taste of broccoli revolting
because we may be genetically predisposed to be
“supertasters.” In addition, supertasters find
intolerably bitter the compound naringin in
grapefruit as well as the taste of caffeine and

Twenty-five percent of us are supertasters; 50
percent of us are medium tasters; and 25 percent of
us are nontasters. More females, Asians, Africans,
and South Americans have the bitter receptor gene,

Not only do supertasters have the TAS2R38 gene, but
they also have twice as many fungiform papillae on
their tongues (on whose sides taste receptors are
located), as does the average person. Texture of
food also plays a role in the supertaster’s adverse
reactions to foods that they perceive as “slimy” or
“spongy,” such as banana or mushroom. Dr. Linda
Bartoshuk of Yale University’s School of Medicine
puts it this way, “Supertasters live in a neon world
of taste, while nontasters are in a pastel world.”

Ironically, the bitter taste in cruciferous
vegetables such as broccoli can be traced to the
same chemicals thought to provide cancer protection.
Scientists have developed different types of
broccoli, such as broccolini, a cross between
broccoli and Chinese kale, which looks like
asparagus but tastes sweeter than broccoli.

According to a 2005 study by scientists at the
Kanagawa University in Japan, the “T2R gene
repertoire” plays an important role in avoiding
generally bitter, toxic, and harmful substances but
also reflects changes in environment which result in
species-specific food preferences during primate
evolution. In other words, monkeys, apes, and
chimpanzees are more likely to rely on their sense
of taste to determine whether or not something is
edible or toxic, whereas humans have a more
sophisticated sense of taste and are able to
comprehend that some bitter foods are nontoxic and

There is hope in the laboratory to help supertasters
enjoy healthy vegetables. In January 2003 a biotech
firm, Linguagen of New York, discovered natural
compounds that block bitter taste. Linda Bartoshuk
of Yale University, who studies taste perception,
believes this to be a study using good, solid
science. Linguagen scientist Richard McGregor adds
that these compounds will not mask spoiled or
poisonous substances while blocking bitter tastes,
because bad smells and sour tastes are conveyed to
the brain through a different set of receptors and
chemical messengers that warn us when food is

This provides hope for frazzled parents: we may yet
see our supertaster children munch happily on
health-giving and cancer-preventing cruciferous
vegetables such as the much-maligned broccoli.

Are You a Supertaster?

A test that determines the ability to perceive the
bitter taste of a compound called 6-n-
propylthiouracil (PROP) can determine which of us
are supertasters. The test results manifest in
varying degrees:

repulsively bitter to a supertaster

moderately bitter to a medium taster

not at all to a nontaster

Children also taste bitter more strongly than
adults, so this might explain why they are often
fussy eaters.

Solutions for Supertasters

Are there ways to overcome your child’s lack of
interest in a varied and nutritious diet? For
children who perceive foods as tasting revoltingly
bitter, there are several things to try:

Add a pinch of salt to an apple slice or grapefruit
segment to render it sweeter to someone who
perceives it as bitter.

Cook vegetables in lightly salted water.

See your healthcare professional for advice on
whether or not the supertaster in your family could
be zinc deficient and would benefit from zinc
supplementation. Zinc tablets may help to lessen a
perception of bitter taste.
Denise Knabe is a BC-based researcher and writer.

Source: alive #288, October 2006

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Follow Ups:

  • Thank you! by Hrundle on 3/19/10 (0)
  • PS by Bryanna on 3/18/10 (0)


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