How do I get a 2 year old to eat green food?

Laura - posted on 06/13/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Hello all. I have a 2 year old son that won't eat anything green. I have tried to season the food, covering it with cheese, and everything else I can think of. I know that there are important nutrients in those green veggies, but I just don't know how to get him to eat them. Any help would be great!! Thanks,
Laura

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Bethanie - posted on 06/15/2010

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Try blending them into things. My son will eat raw spinach leaves if dipped in some dressing, but if I gave it to him just sauteed in a pan, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't touch it! I've also incorporated it into chili and tomato sauces simply blending it in the food processor with other veggies and then adding it in. You can't even tell it's there! Another good idea is to make a spinach pesto with spinach, basil (fresh), walnuts (or pine nuts), parmesan, a little lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper and olive oil and blend it until smooth in a food processor. I toss a little of this with some cooked pasta and my son loves it! You can add more parmesan and thin it with a little pasta water if it gets too thick. I find my son will eat almost anything if he has something to dip it in, it's mixed in with a favorite food or in a sauce. Before you spend the bucks (and extra sugar) on the V8 juices, make your own veggie and fruit blended drink! Just choose sweet fruits that will sweeten the drink enough without added sugar (like strawberries, bananas, blueberries, melon) and then add some veggies that will blend in well like spinach (remove any stems), carrots, beets, squash (with skin and seeds removed), etc. You could add some water in with it. This could easily be turned into a frozen treat my freezing it into those ice pop trays.

Carmen - posted on 06/14/2010

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hey angie, just found out the other day that it is not safe to eat mushrooms raw...here is some info: Hydrazines are toxins found in uncooked mushrooms. Cooking destroys them. The common button mushrooms sold in most markets, and portobello mushrooms contain hydrazines.The mycochitin composition of mushroom cell walls, as opposed to cellulose walls of plant cells, is difficult for humans to digest. Our stomachs resent indigestible items, and often forcibly reject them without further ado. The cooking process helps break down fungal cell walls, rendering mushroom flesh not only more readily digestible, but also releasing significant nutritional value contained within the cells.

Further, many mushrooms considered edible contain irritating or toxic components readily destroyed or eliminated by cooking.

...just thought it would be good to put this one up...

Christina - posted on 06/13/2010

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What kind of drinks does he get? My daughter drinks V-8 V-Fusion juices. It might sound weird, but drinking those will open up a whole new flavor pallet for him. Also, sometimes I mmix my daughters' veggies with mashed potatoes or somethign she really likes. She gets a little bit of everything when you mix them up.

Good luck! Oh, and if you get your son on V-8 juices, make sure you have him try every kind. It'll encourage him to try new things.

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Sarah - posted on 08/25/2010

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Hi ladies! As a mom of 4 young boys and a Registered Dietitian I understand the realities of healthy eating when it comes to kids and families. I recently wrote a series of articles on Back to School Nutrition plus other great nutrtion articles that I write for the Examiner. Check it out and if you like my articles, click on the subscribe button which will only alert you when I post a new article. I love Circle of Moms! ~ Sarah Hortman, RD http://www.examiner.com/nutrition-in-oma...
Please let me know what nutrition questions you have and I will be glad to help!
P.S. Food 'jags' are common in young children - just continue to offer a healthy variety of foods - whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean proteins, other protein sources like beans, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc and let her choose what to eat from those and how much she wants to eat - I hope that helps!

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For me, i'm the opposite. I don't try and hide or disguise the good. Just put exactly the same food on his plate as your eating. When your sitting down and he sees you eating the food, he'll start sooner or later. Right now my daughters favourite veg is brocoli, i split it up into tiny pieces that we call trees and she uses her hands to eat them. But she didn't always like it, it's all about small encouragements and big applause afterwards. Carrots i cut into strips, anything to make it interesting. Peas she eats one at a time making a pop sound with each one. To be honest the most effective thing is her watching us eat them and seeing exactly what she's eating because how else are they every going to know that they actually like it. Hope that helps a bit

Donna - posted on 07/23/2010

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They taste really good in a "real" fruit smoothie. We also drink a product called LiVE. Each scoop has 5 servings of raw organic veggies and its yummy. We drink it daily. www.mynuriche.com/healthybynature 715-392-7410

Christine - posted on 07/22/2010

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Setting an example is the first thing.. if you are eating vegetables, your child is more likely to eat vegetables.
Kids often immitate what they see around them.. so that's something to think about.

I know at about 18 months when my daughter started snacking.. I kept it to all healthy stuff.. peas, bananas, yogurt and such.. that set a foundation.. at 2.. we did a project, where I was teaching her about plants.. and I let her pick her own seeds to plant.. she chose peas..

We planted the peas, she cared for them, watered them.. they got flowers, and then the pea pods.. by then she was 2 1/2.. and we'd sit on the back porch.. picking the peas out of the pods and eating them together.. it was a fun daily afternoon ritual for us..

But I think her growing them made her more "into" them.. if you know what I mean.

It's summer still.. maybe go to your Home Depot or Walmart.. and get a vegetable or fruit plant.. and let him pick it out. and teach him to care for it.. he may enjoy picking a strawberry off a plant.. and eating it on his own.. than just being told to eat it..
Same thing with green stuff too.

Other things you can do.. is hide the vegetables in the food he does eat.. that may get the job done, but truth is.. it's teaching your child nothing..

Letting your child choose the vegetables that he'll eat, empowers him. Letting him choose between corn or spinach..
or what not..

let him help you cook it.. yes.. I know that sounds weird.. but my daughter has been in the kitchen with me since she was 18 months old.. on her step stool.. I'd put the vegetable in the pot.. I'd let her add the salt and pepper.. (I'd measure it and put it in her hand to put in.. ) and let her watch it cook.. (while I monitor her of course)..

but there was a sense of pride in eating something she cooked.

Canned vegetables usually taste like heck... fresh vegetables of frozen are your best option..

Make a game of it.. who can eat the most broccoli or something.. that can make it fun..

Dried fruit is good.. kinda has a candy taste to them.

The V-8 Juices are good.. sometimes a little high in sodium .. so monitor it or dilute it..

but set the example, educate your child, get them involved in their food, and make it fun.

You can make vegetable pictures.. cut broccoli in half.. so it lays flat.. like little trees.. a slice of yellow squash for the sun.. but you can make pictures with it and maybe make it more fun to eat too.

Main thing is.. set the example !

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I found out recently that to prevent illness and disease, that 7-13 servings of raw fruits and vegetables need to be consumed daily. I was shocked. My family was lucky if we were getting in one serving!! Then I found a way to easily bridge the gap between what my children eat and what they should be eating. I now have peace of mind that my family is on the road to optimal health and wellness. I love to share this information, but this is not the forum for it. If you would like more information feel free to message me.

Getting the right nutrition into children (adults too!) is tough. Best wishes to you. I know that you are on the right road. It all starts by asking questions!

Angela - posted on 07/18/2010

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My daughter loves the sun rype fruit plus veggies juice. All 100% juice with all different kinds of veggies. One thing about the V8 Fusion you have to watch out for - it is considered a ' fruit drink' not fruit juice. It is VERY high in sugar - I got caught with that one. The sun rype ones are way healthier and in my opinion, taste better as well. Also, don't know if it will work for you, but we have a plate of cut up veggies on the table with dip while I am coking dinner. Usually everyone is so hungry by 5 pm, they pick at that without thinking...and we tell our daughter to pretend she is a dinosaur and to eat the ' trees' ( broccoli ) with ' snow ' ( dip ) She has ALWAYS preferred her veggies raw. Good luck!!!

Lea - posted on 06/30/2010

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Make green his favorite color: green froggies, green tractors, etc. Thats why my son eats his veggies. Also, tell him that they are other things: celery slices=moons, broccoli=trees, sauted onions=circles ...the idea being he recognizes them as familiar things, not things with strange scary names that he can't say. Make pictures out of the veggies. Give him ranch dip.

Louise - posted on 06/30/2010

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I would try and hide them in Spagetti Bolognese diced finely or put into cottage pie again diced finely. Other than that make a pizza with him giving him green vegetables amongst other things to decorate his pizza with. Most children will eat raw sugar snap peas as they are sweet. If you are just worrid about the iron content then buy some Kindervital fromyour health food shop this has all the iron in it that children need and can be taken as a daily supplement. My daughter loves it as it tastes fruity. It also contains calcuim which is why my daughter has it because she will not drink milk or eat cheese.

Melanie - posted on 06/28/2010

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hide it in other foods. I put artichokes (amongst other things) into spaghetti sauce. I make a very thick and chunky sauce. Meat, mushrooms, olives and artichoke hearts or spinach, or zucchini, and mix it all up.
Also if you order pizza get it with light cheese and add spinach then cover it with extra cheese and place in the broiler until cheese melts. Maybe 3-5 minutes. Or you can take tiny peices of broccoli and do the same thing.
Puree it and mix it into soups or fruit smoothies.
Make juice mixes.

Angie - posted on 06/13/2010

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Try Frozen!! My 21 month old loves it!! Frozen green beans, corn, berries, brocolli! But my guy is kinda of odd he eats raw onions (he asks for them) and raw mushrooms (which is just wrong) But he loves them.

Laura - posted on 06/13/2010

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Thanks. I never thought of trying those juices for him. I will get him some on my next trip to the store!!

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