Not a debate: NO Vegetables!!

Sarah - posted on 06/01/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My 20 month old daughter refuses to eat any vegetables. I was wondering a few things: Is this common with yall's kids? How detrimental is not eating vegetables? How concerned should I be? What are some tips to get her to eat some veggies!?!?! Thanks in advance :)



Edited to add: She LOVES fresh fruit!

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Jenny - posted on 06/01/2011

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Grow some. Even if it is just a little pepper plant in a container or some broccoli if you are short on space. Kids love to eat what they grow.

Kylie - posted on 06/02/2011

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Eat your veggies and let her see you enjoying them. Take her to the fresh produce shop and show her all the colours and tell her the names and get her to help you pick the veggies to buy. Grow a veggie garden. My 2 year old eats tomatoes and beans straight from the garden like they are treats. Be creative with the way you cook and present them. Try and get her helping in the kitchen, even if its mixing butter into the beans, spinning a salad, washing the veggies or mashing the already mashed spuds etc. I think when kids are involved with the process of growing, buying and cooking, the veggies have more appeal.

Aleks - posted on 06/01/2011

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Honestly.... I am not that crash hot on PLAIN BOILED vegetables, day in day out!!! Who is????

Don't get me wrong, I do like vegetables, plain, once in a while, and only certain ones... Mostly I dress my vegetables up... my kids rarely refuse any vegetable (they are 5.5 and 2 and a bit yrs old). They even eat (though not all the time) SALAD!!! Yep.... they eat salad (with dressing of course ), you know the green leaves that are nick-named "rabbit food".



Eating plain vegetables is extremely boring, even for us adults, and we have adjusted oursevles to them... so what do we expect our kids to do???



I, for example, cook curried peas and carrots. Asparagus with sauted tomatoes (with a hint of garlic). Most of us in my house like plain broccoli (tree as is known by my 2 yo), however, cauliflower is frequently poured over with cheese sauces (my girl is dairy intollerant so she gets it tossed in dairy free margarine - makes it taste nice and creamy). I've recently started to pure cauliflower and add that marg in it (I've learned the idea of pure from having my cauliflower served once like this in some shwanky restaurant!!!).

Green beans I like plain too, but the others prefer it done in similar fashion to asparagus. Things like mushrooms, carrots, peas, eggplant, zucchini, olives, red, green and yellow capsicums, spinach leaves etc all go well in a tomato pasta sauce (which we all love to bits). I also frequently roast vegetables such as potatoes, pumkin, sweet potato which are first marinated and some oil and herbs, garlic and spices. Baked beans is a good vegetable meal.



*Stir frying is another way of having vegetables dressed up with some sauce, which also opens up opportunity for using some high in iron chinese vegetables such as bok choy or puk choi, etc (all seriously cut up in small pieces so they cannot pick them out of the rest of the meal).

Same goes for all sorts of curries - adding carrots, cauliflower, sweet potato, zucchini, potato, peas, broccoli, etc* (edited to add)



Soups (another big one in my house) can be pured (and eaten quickly without much chewing which is also a biggie for many toddlers too busy with such time consuming things as needing to chew!). Many soups can be made with a whole bunch of vegetables, such as: leek, parsnip, turnip, celeriac, calabri, carrots then add whatever else all tossed in and boiled, with some herbs and spices added to taste, hey you can even add some meat in as well, for extra "stock flavour". Stick it in a bender...I bet the toddler won't know or recognise what is in that!



Anyway, this is my few cents worth... hope it helps :-)

Good luck.

Isobel - posted on 06/01/2011

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give her melted cheese or ranch dressing to dip it in...they'll eat anything if you give them something to dip it in :)

Jenni - posted on 06/02/2011

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My son is an ultra picky eater but he loves his veggies! At least most of them. They're usually the first thing he eats on his plate, especially cooked veggies. He's almost 3 yo and has come a long way in the variety of foods he eats.



I never forced. Just put at least one food he wouldn't eat on his plate with every meal. Try a food... if he refused, try again a month later. They come around eventually. I find the bigger of an issue you make out of it... the more they resist.



My SD isn't too fussy on veggies anymore (almost 4 yo) but when she was your daughter's age, she loved them! So they go through phases. I give her a multi-vitamin when she's here (not sure if her mom gives her one at home). Also, she listens really good and is eager to please. So a little conjuling (uh oh!) and encouragement helped. Although, that would NEVER work on my son, he's strong-willed.

I love Jenny's idea. We have a garden every year and even my SD will eat veggies straight from the garden. It encourages their love for veggies. ;) Plus veggies fresh from the garden taste 10x better than store bought.



In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to sneak a little into her foods. ;) Chop finely and add to speghetti, or in a wrap.



My son was at his peak in pickiness around 24 mo. It gets easier! Just don't force, rather encourage through example, making eating fun and offering her a wide variety of choices.

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23 Comments

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Krista - posted on 06/02/2011

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That pasta sauce is a simmering stew of LIES!!!

/channeling Buddy the Elf...

Minnie - posted on 06/02/2011

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Look at all you ladies 'lying' to your children, hiding veggies in yogurt, smoothies and muffins. For shame!

*wags finger*

[deleted account]

Have you tried spaghetti squash? The texture is very similar to angel hair pasta. Cut it in half, take all the seeds out, and roast the two halves face down for about an hour. Use a fork and run it through the "meat" of the squash and it comes up stringy like pasta! Serve it with butter and Parmesan or meat sauce (with carrots hidden in the sauce). So yummy...like you are eating real noodles.

Becky - posted on 06/02/2011

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My oldest is not a veggie fan either. Neither is his dad, unfortunately, which does not help matters! I hide them in stuff - I put broccoli in my manicotti along with the spinach. Dh says I could never get broccoli past him, but I do! :) I also find that my son is more likely to eat them if they're in something than just by themselves. He won't eat tomatoes, but if they're in pasta sauce, he's fine with them. The other day I made cous-cous with veggies in it, and to my surprise, he ate it all, including the veggies, and even ate leftovers the next day!
I bribed him to try a pea by telling him he could have a sip of my coke once. He ended up finishing up the peas off my plate. But now he won't eat peas again.
Spinach hides quite nicely in a fruit smoothy, and zucchini is great in a chocolate cake.
When I'm feeling like he's really lacking, I get the Fruit+Veggies juice (Sunrype) or V8 for him.
We're growing our first garden this summer and I am really hoping that if the kids get to pick the veggies with us, they'll want to eat them!

Michelle - posted on 06/01/2011

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My daughter doesnt really like fruit she'll have a little bit but not much but she loves veggies as long as she can eat them as finger food

Erin - posted on 06/01/2011

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It's normal. Most toddlers go through an aversion to veggies stage. Mine did. She would eat anything put in front of her, and then all of a sudden she started refusing specific things. Right now she is refusing to eat pasta, rice and most fruits. A few months ago it was veggies. In another month it will be something else. I just ride it out, continue to offer it in different ways, and she always reverts back to her good eating habits. She's nearly 2.5yo, and is just exerting the little bit of control she has over her day. I'm ok with that. I know there is a solid basis there and refuse to turn food into a battle.



I also agree with the PP. I don't particularly like plain veggies. So I generally serve them in a pasta, stir-fry, casserole or omelette. I also do a killer veggie bake. It's much more appetizing than dull old boiled/steamed veggies.

Mel - posted on 06/01/2011

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you can mix it into foods, muffins, mince and spaghetti etc or you can just do what I do my kids dont get anything else until the veges are eaten - trust me she will eat them eventually just serve them up every meal til they are gone. My daughter is now very quick to eat what I put in front of her because I serve the dessert on the table next to it, so she can see it. If she doesn't eat dinner quick enough she doesn't get dessert and she'd made to watch everyone else have thiers. Worked for us :) Of course there are still days she goes to bed hungry, but generally it works well

Jenny - posted on 06/01/2011

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MMm, one of my favourite things is grilled zucchini slices with parmesan cheese.

Stifler's - posted on 06/01/2011

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I think it's pretty common for kids to dislike vegetables. I wouldn't be concerned about that bit. Just add them to foods like grate zucchini into things and extra grated carrot and stuff and serve her some anyway and just tell her she only has to have one spoon or whatever. Apparently it can take 20 tries to get them to like things.

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It's normal, and my three year old is just getting to where she'll eat a bite of veggies with dinner every night. But she's always gotten them...she just didn't know it! It's easy to hide them.

Since she loves fresh fruit, I'd bet that she would like fruit smoothies. Put a cup or two of fresh or frozen frozen fruit, a cup of yogurt, a cup of juice and a cup of fresh or frozen veggies in a blender. Serve in a bowl like 'ice cream'. Works like a charm. =)

Pureed carrots are easy to hide in any kind of red sauce or meat dish. Squash or Zucchini puree are both easy to bake with...zucchini bread, squash muffins...recipes can be found easily online.

Jenny's advice of growing them is great. We have our very first garden this year and my daughter loves to help pick the beans. And now she'll eat them.

Books are great too. Today at the library storytime the librarian read a book called "Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli". My kid ASKED for broccoli tonight. =)

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Try making veggie soup! It was so accidental that when my son was 2 1/2 he tried veggie soup, and then loved it! (I cheat, I use canned Progesso soup-low sodium). Every now and then I can make a batch of homemade soup and it's gone instantly. My son is 6 now and he still fights over veggies every now and then, not as much as when he was 2, but it's normal.

ME - posted on 06/01/2011

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Puree them and mix them in vanilla or fruit yogurt (sweet potatoes, peas, green beans)...That works for my kids...or put carrot juice in their fruit juice or smoothies...I also put diced or pureed veggies into homemade pasta sauce...good luck...

Jenn - posted on 06/01/2011

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Sneaking some veggies in works, veggies and dip is always a hit here, some things you can throw a little cheese on like broccoli and cauliflower, involve them in the prep - even at a young age just letting them watch you, have them pass you things, etc.

Bonnie - posted on 06/01/2011

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I say it is normal. Both my boys have gone through these stages too. At least she is eating fruit which is very good. Maybe try hiding vegetables in her other foods.

Christina - posted on 06/01/2011

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Cook them until they are like mush and mix them in with her mashed potatoes. Also offer her fresh veggies with some ranch.

Sara - posted on 06/01/2011

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I sneak em. I cook carrots til they're soft then mush them up and add them into my spaghetti sauce. The kids can't even taste them. Whenever I can I mash up things and add them into food they already like. Cauliflower mashed up in potatoes can't be tasted either. Sneak em in when ever you can. Also buy the V-8 smoothie drinks. They have fruit and veggies in them but taste like a fruit drink so the kids don't even realize. One of my twins loves veggies, the other hates them. So I'm a sneak and get them in where I can.

Dana - posted on 06/01/2011

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My son is the same way, no veggies. I actually give him Apple and Eve juice boxes that are one serving each of veggies and fruit. That's eased my mind quite a bit at least.

Minnie - posted on 06/01/2011

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I've got one really picky eater and one pretty adventurous eater. I think it's pretty common, especially with the range of processed sugary, grain-based foods available; those stuff are addictive.

My solution to her eating more vegetables is to give her a very wide range to choose from and try all different sorts. I also serve them the way she likes them. Over time she's gradually warmed up to them- she's five now. I remember at nearly two her being very opposed to most foods. It was like she lived on applesauce and toast.

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