How do you make kids eat their veggies?

Susan - posted on 04/21/2010 ( 119 moms have responded )

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It's really hard for me to make my kids eat vegetables and I'm so worried about the required nutrients their growing bodies are missing :D Please help me! Thanks!

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Tina - posted on 04/22/2010

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Get this cookbook, Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. It has great recipes for meals with 'hidden' vegetables in them!

Julie - posted on 04/21/2010

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Keep offering vegetables, but don't make a big deal out of it if they refuse. It just makes them more stubborn. My daughter is 12 and I've noticed she has dropped some foods she used to eat, and now eats some she didn't before. My son also. I offer him something, and when he refuses, I ask him "Will you try it again when you are a little older?" and he says "yes I will." So then at a later date I offer it again. Just the other day he ate a new sandwich --tomato and cheese -- which he always strongly refused before. After he ate it, he said "that wasn't half bad!" He is 5. I also spray "I can't believe it's not butter" on the veggies and sprinkle a little salt. Makes it taste so much better. My older daughter goes for raw veggies now with ranch dressing, she used to only like cooked.

Kelly - posted on 05/05/2010

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i started by only making her eat one or two, then if she didn't like them next time i would let her dip them in something like ranch or cheese, if she liked then that way then from there on out she had to eat a few plain then she could dip them & i found that the more she had them plain the less dip she used

Cheryl - posted on 05/02/2010

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Hi! number one is "don't stress" they will survive on little vegies for the time been. one of my kids loved broccoli from a baby till 5 then she went of it till she was about 10 now she loves it again.she is now 15. Feed them more fruit if they are getting low on the veggie front. As kids they always helped out with meals so does make them more interested to eat them, cut them in different shapes.
Good Luck

Barbara - posted on 04/30/2010

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When I was young (a long, long time ago in a far away land...lol) I didn't have a choice. We ate what was put in front of us and if we didn't eat it all, we had it for breakfast cold.

Now later in a different land, far, far a way...with my now grown children...I asked them to try everything, if they really didn't like it, I wouldn't force the issue, however, I didn't stop making it. I never asked my kids what they wanted for dinner. They ate what I made and if they didn't they would be very hungry later. They learned after a couple times f being hungry to just eat. My philosophy was is I AM NOT A SHORT ORDER COOK, AND THIS IS NOT A RESTAURANT. You eat what I make!

Now my children are grown and in their 30's, and they eat about everything, including things I don't care for. Another trick I did was I would give them chop sticks and they learned to use them by eating things like peas.

My feeling as a single parent is this is what we have, if you don't like it, don't eat it, but realize this is what is for dinner. You may get hungry later, so decide how bad you don't like it.

I hope this was helpful..

Brightest Blessings and Warmest Regards,

Barbara.

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Brian - posted on 02/16/2014

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Preparation. Remember, to a child, food is about appearance and texture as much as it is about taste. Over cooked vegetables, canned vegetables can both yield something approximating mush, with little flavor. Remember that a little salt goes a long way. Butter and bacon fat can vastly change the flavor of they are tasting.
Juice and soup are good ways to sneak in vegetables. Just remember, children will often mimic adults. If you eat vegetables, it is likely they will want them as well.

Jen - posted on 02/26/2013

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Offer them, and sneak them in if you're worried about it. I got a juicer and I add veggie juice or cooked veggie puree to everything my son eats, even stuff like cake and cookies :)

[deleted account]

I don't 'make' my kids eat there veggies. I prepare them well! Don't boil the veggies. Grilling vegetables makes them taste better. Steaming is good, to. If they don't want to eat them, tell them to try one bite. Just one. If they don't like it, just try again a different day.

[deleted account]

Try making a chicken noodle soup - from scratch :)))

And when you're done with boiling the noodles/pasta in soup add the vegetables used for the broth to the soup&noodles - diced. It's yummy and even my husband is loving it!

Andrea - posted on 05/05/2010

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My son literally gags when he eats veggies... Even though I still put a little on his plate for him to try, we usually end up juicing mostly carrots alone, carrots&apples, kale&romaine&apple&lemon&ginger, or throw a variety of fruits in the blender w/pineapple juice for a smoothy.

Debi - posted on 05/05/2010

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I have found that if you invite the kids into the kitchen to help with preparation, you will be surprised at how their 'pickiness' changes. I have often asked for a suggestion as to how to prepare a certain veggie(give them a few options). I also try to bring the children with me when I grocery shop...especially when visiting produce stands.....If they're old enough to understand, maybe get them to study different vegetables; their vitamins, etc., making a bit of a game out of it.
All of the previous posts were excellent ideas....I'll pass those along to my children for future reference!!!

Kathy - posted on 05/03/2010

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Certain kids like certain vegetables. Like my daughter only eats carrots, celery with lettuce in salads, and only cucumbers with vinegar. She does not like any other vegetable. Now my 3 boys like every vegetable except brussel sprouts, radishes, and mushrooms. Maybe if you slice up celery and spread it with either peanut butter or cream cheese they may eat it. Or maybe carrots and dip. You could even put raisins on the top of the peanut butter celery sticks, I know my kids like it like that.
If all else fails, maybe look for foods with vegetables in them.

Renae - posted on 05/03/2010

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You can disguise any vegie into any dish your making good old spag bog grate carrot zuccini chopped up mushrooms or puree brocolli caulifour they have no idea its in there the trick is you put all that in there food but also dish up steamed vegie on the plate get them to try them but u need not force them to eat them cos u know its allready in there food but they get use to seeing them and trying them other thing is juicing friuts and veg together my kids love juices, there is a book by jerry seinfields wife has heaps of recipes with hidden veg including choc cake with beetroot and brocolli choc chip biscuits that are really nice.
Hope this helps

Nichole - posted on 05/03/2010

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You can alwayas do the vegiie purees snuck into foods they love...lasagna..green veggie puree...mashed potatoes..cauliflower puree..and you can add a white bean puree to almost anythign and they won't notice it. You can find the recipes for these hidden veggies online.

Sarah - posted on 05/02/2010

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Growing veges and picking and eating them straight from the garden is fantastic. Oliver didn't like strawberries until I grew some, now he loves them. Raw veges are better than cooked. Celery with cream cheese is a boat. Broccoli is a tree and Oliver is the dinosaur or girafee that is going to eat it. Games and make believe are wonderful

Kylie - posted on 05/02/2010

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i am having the same problem but i am in the process of making a plate with velcro stickie bits that i will stick the things i am serving for that night and as oscar eats each thing, he can pull it off and once all of the stickies are removed from the plate, it reveals the prize box picture which could mean dessert/activity with me/whatever. maybe you could try that too?

Colleen - posted on 04/30/2010

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I motivate the kids by giving dessert. It usually motivates them - even if they don't like it - and then the more they try the more they say "I really like that"

CJ - posted on 04/30/2010

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I don't have this problem as my daughter LOVES her veggies, however, the easiest way to get her to eat something she doesn't like (for example, she's very picky about meats) is make it cheesy, as she loves cheese. Also, my dad used to sneak veggies into our meals by cutting them very small and mixing them in with our food. Also, making them...fun...can help. Like slicing carrots and bell peppers into this slices and using a cookie cutter to cut them into fun shapes. Or taking fresh veggies and having ranch to dip them in, I know my friends son will eat almost anything if he can dip it in something. Or if they don't like ranch you can even make your own dip...like cottage cheese mixed with a package of leek soup mix (great on chips, not sure about with veggies) But don't force them to eat anything, or you may make them hate it more, or even dread mealtimes. My daughter is very finicky when it comes to eating meats, so I keep giving them to her ( experimenting with cooking them different ways and different meats), but I don't force her to eat them.Although I do insist she takes 1 bite to at least taste it. If she doesn't like it, I don't make her eat it, I just acknowledge she doesn't like it and try something else the next time. For example, she LOVES sausage, be it italian or breakfast. She's not big on hamburger and will very rarely eat it, and then only in very small portions...so I use sausage instead whenever I can. Also she like fried chicken, but isn't too big on grilled chicken (not really sure why here) but also love chicken that's been bbqed I think it may just be that there's more flavor. And even with other things, the way it's prepared seems to affect how much she likes it, like potatoes. she doesn't like them mashed or baked...but likes fries...and potato wedges. and carrots, my daughter likes them both raw(though since she's only 15 months it's harder for her to eat this way) and cooked...where as I only like mine cooked. And for some people it's that way with broccoli and other veggies too. Sorry, I think I started rambling a bit, but I hope it helps you.

[deleted account]

I have twin 18 month old girls. They both used to eat their veggies, up until about 2 months ago. Then one day, "R" stopped eating hers, and "C" stopped eating her meat. "R" loves potatoes, any kind as long as it is potatoes. I will put veggie on her fork, then cover it with mashed potatoes. "C" I will put meat on her fork then put the veggies in the front. This has worked wonderfully for me. Every child is different, as you can tell from my two. I would highly recommend, before giving them extra vitamins, to consult your pediatrician, and ask him/her what they would recommend.

Diana - posted on 04/30/2010

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I was a vegetable hater, so I vowed I would do things differently. First, I love the mini cans of veggies that the stores now carry. It gave my kids a choice, and choice is key at this age, (or at least with my kids!) Second, I talked about my struggles with eating them (though this won't work if you like them). It always gave them pleasure if they could one up me! Third, or this really ties into both, I had a TON of fresh stuff around, with dips or what ever, and then I made a big deal about how they must like them more than me, that I wish I liked them more, etc. I was really eating them more, but they didn't know that!
My daughter is now 21 and eats a TON of and vegetables (though it was a struggle at first) and my son 22, figured out what figured out he likes too and eats pretty healthy too.
Oh, and talk about choosing during the week from the color spectrum, that helped, and the whys behind it. When it comes to kids, they
A)Know what they like and don't like
B)Need to feel in control and need reasons that apply to them TODAY (saying that it will effect them in 10 years might as well be in a 100)

[deleted account]

my kids love veggies! thank God! with the few they don't like to eat alone, like spinach and mushrooms, i throw them on a homemade pizza and top it with mozzerella cheese. they know it's on there b/c they help make it, and they eat it anyways. we serve veggies with every meal, so i'd say keep offering it to them. the more pressure you put on them, they probably won't eat it. i'd also look into hiding some in food. spaghetti is a great meal to hide spinach, carrots, or squash in. you can hardly taste the difference! good luck!!!

Lee - posted on 04/30/2010

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Get a juicer. Fresh carrots and other veggies go quite well with fruits. Make them a smoothy... it generally tastes great, high in nutrition and they don't know the difference. I agree with the lady above that has her rule of you must try one bite before i agree that you don't have to eat it. It worked for my kids and now they eat their veggies cause they want to. V8 Splash is a great drink. It has veggies and fruits and you don't taste the veggies. Good luck!

Mira - posted on 04/29/2010

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I have always added shredded vegetables to meatloaf, meatballs, vegetarian meatloaf (which doesn't call for vegetables), sauces, and lasagna as well as any casseroles. I don't think this is lying, if the kids ask what is in the dish I will tell them. However if they don't ask, and eat it I did my part by giving them a healthy meal to eat and I am happy that they liked it. I cook a variety of all meals and I don't cater to what my children "might like" I cook what I want to eat and everyone eats that. It might seem selfish but I eat a wide variety of foods, and love to cook and bake. They eat way more well rounded meals this way. It is the same theory of feeding our babies what we eat instead of jar food. It gives them a better sense of what is good because everything is fresh.

Kyona - posted on 04/29/2010

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I have this book and its great. Some of the recipes my son wont eeat but it is a great book.

[deleted account]

I recommend getting a copy of "Deceptively Delicious," a cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld: http://www.deceptivelydelicious.com/site... The recipies call for prueed veggies to be mixed in. I still offer whole veggies, but I don't worry so much about the kids eating them. They will eventually. The recipies in the cook book are DELICIOUS! Event the brownies with spinach in them!!

Lisa - posted on 04/29/2010

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My mumhad the same problem with me as i didn't like the texture of a lot of veggies like broccoli and leek I still don't actually) veggie soup is the best way i've found, put in as many different veggies as you like then stickit all in a blender. I've even managed to get my husband to eat parsnips this way and because everything is kept in the pot, you're not losing any vitamins or minerals draining the veg. Hope that helps

Emma Jean - posted on 04/28/2010

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I can happily say that both my kids have always been crazy about their veggies. When my son was taking medication that made him eat less and I was worried about his nutrition, I bought him those boost drinks and made sure he took his vitamin. He is now 18 and over 6 foot and weighs around 230 so I don't think that he was hurt any As far as my little goes, he would rather have veggies and fruits than anything. I know that the only veggie that he won't eat is spinach so I just always make sure that we have at least one veggie at dinner and supper that he will eat. He loves broccoli and cauliflower, just steamed and buttered. You might try different things like veggies with some ranch dressing to dip them in. Or steaming them with just a small amount of butter or even cheese. Some kids just don't like the taste of veggies but if you dip it in something, then sometimes they will eat it because it hides a lot of flavor of just the plain veggie. Hope this helps.

Ana Paula - posted on 04/28/2010

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try boil or steam (better) cauliflowers until very tender then mix a little with mashed potates... ou some beetroot cooked and mashed mixed with black beans...carrot cake with chocolate tooping...vegetable soup with pasta...these are some ideas that work for my boys!

Suzette - posted on 04/28/2010

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Try making a yogurt/fruit shake and add spinach leaves, and fruit. Mix in blender, and serve.
plain yogurt, or flavored-fruit-few spinach leaves.
PS If they see the spinach and know it's good for them, beware-ha ha

Debbie - posted on 04/28/2010

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try to find a few veggies and fruits they like and give them those. My son loves carrots with ranch dressing he also loves cucumbers. Have you tried mixing veggies in with rice or pasta.

Veronica - posted on 04/28/2010

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Make it FUN...make a game of taking each bite. Like adults even children have dislikes. I simply tried to encourage trying all kinds of veggies often. My kids today eat almost all vegetables..even ones I don't care for :) Good Luck

Renee - posted on 04/28/2010

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There are some pretty sneaky ways to get the veggies in. You can cook and puree acorn or butternut squash, then blend it in with macaroni & cheese. You can roast cauliflower in the oven, then puree and blend with mashed potatoes and a little light cream cheese. You can make coleslaw using a package of taco seasoning instead of the typical creamy dressing. As long as it tastes good or tastes familiar, you can sneak anything in.

Heather - posted on 04/28/2010

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I haven't had the problem of kids not eating veggies, but the girls have always been involved with food. When we grocery shop we take our time smelling and feeling and talking about the different fruits and veggies in that section of the grocery store. We talk about which ones we would like to try and I make a point of always trying something new. The girls actively participate in picking out our menus. When it comes time to cook supper they help me in the kitchen. Pamper Chef has wonderful kids knives and the girls are able to help me wash and prep most veggies (my kids are three and four). In the spring we plant veggies in our back yard (which is only 25x25) and our backyard ends up being a buffet during play time. There are raspberries and strawberries, peas and cherry tomatoes to pick from. We have a bigger garden at a friends home and the girls have helped me plant the seeds, weed the rows, harvest our crops and prep our food...but the eating is the most fun. I don't really believe in hiding veggies in kids food...I never liked having the wool pulled over my eyes...but making my children participate and make their own decisions about what we eat has been a big sucess for us. My husband and I love meat, we are not vegitarians by any means, but our children prefer veg and fruit over carbs, sweets and meat.

Jane - posted on 04/28/2010

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im lucky my son eats most vegetables so the ones he dosnt eat i dont worry about
try cutting up small and put into things like lasagne and spaggetti bolognaise make soups with vegetables etc

[deleted account]

I love that book Deceptively Delicious and its full of great ideas - She even hides vegies in cupcakes and cookies :). My daughter also started shying away from her vegies which she loved so I cook them into her food and dont make a fuss if she does not eat those on her plate. If you take the fussing out then there is nothing to fight about :) they say pick your battles and then only those you know your going to win and meal time is not one of them. Also to make sure she is actually getting enough nutrition I put her on a multivitamen as toddles do have strange eating habits.

Jamie - posted on 04/28/2010

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My rule is no dessert (or something special) if all veggies are not gone. We haven't had too much issue though since our oldest has always liked veggies and really didn't like meat.

Emily - posted on 04/28/2010

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Susan, here are some things I have done that have helped my kids (now ages 14, 11 & 9) learn to eat healthier:

1. Have them eat one piece of raw vegetable before they have their desert. Start with a really small piece and gradually increase the size.

2. Chop greens (spinach, kale, etc.) up really finely and add them to meatballs or meat loaf, chicken or tuna salad, even baked breads and pizza. They won't be able to taste it. I started out by telling my kids it was just another spice like oregano and basil.

3. Feed them JuicePLUS+ (17 fruits & veggies in a capsule or gummy) every day.

When we eat healthy foods, the cells in our bodys learn (yes, every cell in your body has memory) to crave the foods they have been fed to fill their nutritional needs. So, it isn't just about too many calories and chemicals in food, it's about training every cell in our bodies to WANT fruits and veggies.

I hope this helps you and your family. Please call me or send me an email if you want to talk more about health and nutrition. Also, you can check out www.EmilyGreenfieldForJuicePLUS.com

Christine - posted on 04/28/2010

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disguise is the name of the game...kids...hell...my husband is the same way...I usually serve cooked vegies with the same base of butter, salt and pepper...sometimes I do the following: add Splenda to carmelize vegies, add ginger for oven roasting, mairnate them in a soy and lemon marinade I like, cook them on the stove-top after I just braised a meat product, add bacon grease instead of butter, add a butter and chive sauce, add a juice, like apple-orange-pineapple, add honey for oven-roasting...and then of course, there is the complete cover-ups...casseroles, baked with cheese, stuffed inside meat, souffles, pureed and added to meat or pasta as a sauce...well I am tapped...hope this helps...I'm 40 and have been cooking since 9, so I have learned a lot over the years...crap now I feel old...anywho...enjoy:)

Jennifer - posted on 04/28/2010

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My children are terrible when it comes to eating veggies. The only thing I can get them to eat is corn. So, I think I'm going to resort to some trickery and have picked up a copy of "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld from our local library. What they don't know won't hurt them!

Vanessa - posted on 04/28/2010

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Ya know, I had to realize "monkey do as monkey sees." When I got pregnant with my second child, I would walk around the house constantly eating raw veggies and berries and water bottles were everywhere!! And no kidding...my son started picking up the habbit.
If you have problems with water, some moms add that Crystal Lite stuff or slices of oranges, some ice cubes with berries in them, etc.
Cooked veggies, I add a little cheese or make it really small bites and even sometimes promisse for every 3rd or 4th bite he gets a bite of what HE wants, like bread or etc.
Soups, do a potage where u blend it all together, then u can add tons of veggies!!
I'm still learning with them too. lol

Renae - posted on 04/28/2010

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i just boil all the veggies that im having that night (and i eat every vegetable there is mostly greens) and then just blend/mash it and put it in to some of my fav recipes like lasagna or patties n even spag bol, my kids love it and dont even know! hope i helped!

Kerry - posted on 04/28/2010

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I have fed my kids a wde range of foods since they had their first pureed foods from sweet potato to celery, brockley to peppers, they all still eat a wide range in fact theres ot much they wont eat, the favourite part of dinner is the vege. My girl did go off of banana for a few weeks but is liking it again now, i dont push them but nor do i let them fuss over it or dictate xx

Dawn - posted on 04/28/2010

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My five year old quit eating veggies and fruit as soon as he came off baby food. He would rather go on to bed than to even try it. I did put him on Juice Plus gummy vitamins. That give him his daily supply of fruits and veggies. That gives me some peace of mind. We have tried everything and I don't change the way I cook to suit him. He just flat out refuses. He is a tough one. Any advice is welcome.

Keri - posted on 04/28/2010

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Here's what I have learned along the way:
1. Put veggies out "family style" with dinner. Serve yourself, but don't comment. If your children are like mine, they like things to be their idea. Soon, they ask, "What are you eating? Can I have some?" Making a big deal or forcing veggies can turn into a control issue.

2. My kids like corn and peas frozen (thawed).
3. Dressing and dips
4. Put fruits and veggies out for them to graze on, but don't make an issue.
5. veggies and tempura

When all else fails, my kids take Juice Plus, which is a whole food product in gummy form (it's a combo of 17 or so fruits and veg, w/ no added ingredients. They take out the water and sugar and add fiber, and it's a yummy gummy. They come separately in veg and fruit.)
Good luck, keep trying :)

Alexandra - posted on 04/28/2010

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my little boy ate veggies fine when he was a baby/ toddler but when he got to age 4 wanted to assert himself more and started to turn his nose up at veggies he had always eaten and refused to try new ones! so frustrating! I came up with the idea of a "try me book" a little notebook with names and pictures of fruit and veg he either hadn't tried or had decided he didn't like. I showed it to him and told him he could choose a few of these foods a week to try and find out if he liked them. when he had tried them he would get a sticker next to it and I would write down if he liked it! Ten stickers means a trip to the cinema! He was suddenly very keen to try all sorts of new veggies, no force feeding , hiding veg necessary :) it has worked like a dream I can now put a new food on his plate and he will try it for his sticker no problem! whats more things he said he liked can now just be given to him and he gobbles them up! we are planning on retrying the other foods when he is older and he is agreeable to that idea! Hooray!

Janette - posted on 04/27/2010

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I tell him that they are for his uncle, aunt, fairies, cows, pigs etc and he is not allowed to eat them!!! Nothing makes him shove stuff into his mouth than being told he can't have them. We used to make such a big deal about DO NOT EAT THAT FORKFUL!!! and would huff and sigh when he did. He was having so much fun making us frustrated, he forgot he was eating veges. There are a few he still won't eat but those I tell him he has to eat atleast one bite of or else no dessert. Be firm but don't make it too much of an issue, I find taking away dessert makes him eat more than making him sit there to eat cold veges. I like the vitamin post too. Have him have enough of those and you can relax a bit.

Also last night I made spagetti and grated a zucchinni (spelt wrong I am sure) into the sauce but that was more because my husband won't eat veges ha ha. Anyone got any ideas on how to make HIM eat them????

Nicole A. - posted on 04/27/2010

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make them fun. there are different cutting knives to shape things like carrots and celery. i remember (100 years ago lol) when in pre k, they gave us ants on a log.. it looked fun and harmless, tried it, liked it... still love it.. celery with peanut butter (there was no allergy issues back then) spread in the groove, and maybe 3 or 4 raisins on top..there are so many varieties, colors and textures- you just have to work on finding the right one...maybe stuffed tomatoes or peppers- a lil meat and cheese or breadcrumbs.. maybe if they helped prepare them, that could help.. i noticed cheese goes a loooooooooongggggg way.. melted cheese on broccoli, potatoes, peas, cauliflower- not bad.. there are recipes for 'mashed' potatoes, which is really mashed seasoned cauliflower...create fun dips for cucumbers, celery and carrots- usually most kids like ranch dressing. so try that.

Renea - posted on 04/27/2010

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I have learned to add veggies in the regular meals i'm already cooking. thin sliced carrots or squash in spagetti. Broccoli & carrots with cheese, pasta & chicken. Diced carrots in bread - you get the idea. And I found it rather interesting that my almost 4 year old refuses some whole veggies, but once pureed for the baby (10 mths) My oldest wants to eat everything the baby gets & says he loves it... Hummm I'm thinkin pureed veggie popcicles...

Christy - posted on 04/27/2010

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Have you heard about Juice Plus? Its a way for your child to get 17 fruits and veggies in a gummy form. they are yummy! And they get such variety that is hard to get when its not the right season or its just too expensive! Check it out! www.bodycravejuiceplus.com Any questions let me know!

Jennifer - posted on 04/27/2010

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I keep offering veggies on a daily basis and I make fresh veggies with ranch dip avaliable at all times..but...when I really want to make sure they are getting their veggies I trick them.

I chop fresh spinach up very fine and mix it into the meat when I make meatloaf or burgers. When I make spaghetti or any other tomato based dinner, I use V8 juice instead of tomato sauce. I use a bit of melted velveeta over broccoli and they usually love that. I will cook cauliflower and mash it and mix them into mashed potatoes. I will do the same with carrots. I will cook them and mash them and add them to meat dishes. I have even added mashed carrots to brownies and cake. They never know the difference and neither does my hubby.

Melanie - posted on 04/27/2010

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Try offering RAW veg like carrot,celery,cucumber,capsicum and even broccoli..(my 18mnth old loves it.) You can GRATE your veg and add them to ANY dish and your child/children will be completely oblivious! ;)

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