toddlers wont eat vegies or fruit

Karen - posted on 12/07/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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hi i have a 20 month old daughter and a 33 month old son and neither of them will eat vegies. My son changes every night as to whether he will eat meat or pasta eg most nights i end up having to give them something else eg sandwich or yoghurt.

My son only eats watermelon and my daughter refuses to eat any fruit at all it always ends up in major temper tantrrums if i try to make them eat fruit of vegies. I REALLY NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE.

I want to break this cycle and get them eating vegies or find a way of hiding them in food they both have a RAE MEDICAL condition that affects their bowels and constantly end up in hospital for bowel wash outs it is very important that they eat high fibre foods, vegies and fruit.

If you have any ideas or recipes that i can hide the fruit and veg in or a way to get them to eat it normally then im all ears. Its hard to deal with 2 temper tantrums at once especially when my daughter is tipping her chair back and i grab her from falling and my son takes off from the table.

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Stifler's - posted on 12/08/2010

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I agree with Kathy, just don't buy anything else until they learn to eat real food. They will eat if they're hungry.

Alison - posted on 12/09/2010

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Add pureed squash or cauliflower to macaroni and cheese. Try raw cucumbers and maybe carrots. Also, try making faces and butterflies out of cut fruits and veggies. Offer them dips. Make them feel REALLY proud if they try something new, even (especially) if they don't like it. My kids love fruit smoothies (I use frozen fruit and vanilla soy milk).

I think you need to try to make meals that they may like as often as possible, but try not to give them any options that are not already on the table. You have gotten into a bad habit and your kids have become the boss around mealtimes. This is not good for anyone and needs to be turned around. Remember that your child will not die (although I don't know what their rare condition is) from missing one supper.

*Is it possible that you baby them a bit more than you should because of their condition?

Krista - posted on 12/09/2010

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Two words: Veggie puree. It can be added to nearly everything and it's a great way to hide the vegetables.

Amanda - posted on 12/08/2010

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If you dont mind a mess get your kids a little table set that they can eat at. They can go play and come back to the food when they want more. I found with all my kids they tend to snack on their meals for an hour or so before they decided they are done. Its easier to snack when you arent tied down being "froced" to eat.

[deleted account]

Do they eat anything at all? If you find they're preferring junk food or manufactured food you might have to just stop buying it for a while.

AS for the tantrums, maybe you'll have to put up with them - put the kids in a safe place (not a high chair).
Will they eat raw vegies? Perhaps you can take them to a market/greengrocer and have them select some fruit or vegies - my kids always liked raw beans (topped and taile and destringed) and carrots - I used to grate little piles of carrot on their PLASTIC plates.
Some kids hate being fed and would prefer to feed themselves.
Make sure there are no distractions at mealtimes (like TV)

Hope some of these suggestions work.

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Sarah - posted on 10/31/2011

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Well you could make a game of it that is what i do. Say something like if you eat three bites you get a sticker...Lets say 5 sticker counts for 10 min. later he can stay up...Or you can use the food in place of stickers but with stickers you can get more bites...You can also use this for behavior ex. ( If you eat all of your fruits and veggies today and be good you get a sticker!...:) hope this helped!:)
Or you can also make it fun ... ex. every 5 bites you take we can play a game ( don't over stem. him just give him maybe some fruits and chesse for snack and then 1 serving of veggies at dinner and lunch.. just not to many:)))

User - posted on 12/11/2010

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cook them and mash them up in everything you fix them! Hid them however you can, and have them drink things suck as diet V8 juice.

Karen - posted on 12/11/2010

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Kids are refusing to eat toast or cereal for breakfast so yet again the can just scream. I have organised some craft activities and imaginative play around the fruit and veggie theme and made it really fun so hopefully by incorporating this into theie play they will see how much baby doll etc. loves eating her veggies and is getting really strong.

Karen - posted on 12/11/2010

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than you everyone for your help. I going to keep putting the veggies and fruit in front of them at dinner as well as hiding it in their food so that way hopefully i will get some of it into them. My kids are stubborn like their dad. i made pasta with homemade spag sauce last night and put in zukini, peas,grated carrot,cheese, mushrooms all purreed or cut up very fine tasted the same to me but they just started screaming the house down my son refused to even try it and he normally loves spag so I let them down and now they are going to bed hungry i refuse to give them anything else

THANKYOU for the extra encouragement that i needed.

Dana - posted on 12/11/2010

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Ashley,you should check out the cookbook I mentioned. One quick and simple recipe from the book was for grilled cheese. First you cook sweet potato's, puree them, then mix 1/2 cup of the puree with 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, spread that between the two slices of buttered bread and cook. It says serves two, I think I got 3 sandwiches out of it. They were really good too! You can also use squash puree for this recipe. The cookbook has a ton of recipe's that call for different vegetable puree's hidden in foods that kids like. What's cool about it is she's tested which vege's taste best in what food and how much you need.
Here's a link
http://www.amazon.com/Deceptively-Delici...

Ashley - posted on 12/10/2010

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My son has the same problem. He loves fruits but will not touch any vegetable. He is 2, and I don't know how to get him to try them either. I give him the V8 fusion juice. That way atleast he gets the nutrients from vegetables. Until I figure out a way to get him to actually eat them. You might try that.

Kimberly - posted on 12/10/2010

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When you make hamburgers or meatloaf you can add a veggie puree before mixing. Fruit smoothies. I would warm a banana, mash it add some cinnamon and use it as a spread for his toast. Blueberry pancakes. Mix reguar mashed potatoes with some mashed sweet potato so the flavour isn't as strong. Try giving them frozen veggies straight out of the freezer. Finely chop broccoli and add it to rice. Apple slices with a tiny amount of cinnamon and sugar. I add spinach, carrots, zucchini and peppers to my spaghetti sauce. I just chop them small so they aren't noticed. Give them peanut butter to dip fruit in. My son hated his veggies but would always eat soup so I always made sure to give him soup with plenty of veggies added.

Even though you are sneaking fruits and veggies into their regualr meals I would always offer a plain option as well so they get used to seeing them on their plates. Hopefully they will eventually try them and you will not have to be sneaky anymore.

You could also give them empty plates at dinner and serve yourself. They will eventually want what you have and ask for some. Don't make it a big deal and just give them a scoop or whatever. Kids always seem to want what they can't have. Once you make them a meal I would not give them anything else to eat. They may be stubborn and not eat a few meals but they will not let themselves starve. The more often you give in the harder it will be to get them eating healthy.
Set a good example for your kids and make sure you are eating plenty of healthy foods too!

Sarah - posted on 12/10/2010

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What do they like to eat? My son was also very picky...his favorite thing was always bread. (He is now 16, and he still loves it better than anygthing!) There are plenty of recipies from sweet to savory whrer you can put fruits and veggies into bread. Pumpkin, applesauce, carrots, zuchini...even tomatoes and potatoes. I have also heard of grinding up veggies and adding them to pasta sauce or meatloaf (even mushrooms!) Soup is perhaps another option... It is not an easy thing, to be sure. I have 5 children ranging in age from 4-16 and talk about picky eaters...I had one mom tell me that their picky habits were my fault...but I cannot believe it is so. If they don't eat dinner, they get nothing until breakfast...imagine, if you will, how I felt when my mother pointed out how much my children love breakfast....sigh. It is sad but true that there is no way to "make" them eat what they will not, any more than there is an "off" switch for screaming in the mall. One can only do so much. So I continue to hope that exposure it key and somtime or other they will eventually eat what is put before them. So peas still go into the carbonara and carrots into the soup even though they are likely to be picked out. I know whole foods are best, but there are a lot of "high fiber" products out there. Would those help at all? Add bran to baked goods too and beans are supposd to be really good. My son once ate sweetened bean paste at a Chinese buffet...he thought it was chocolate..I did not correct his thought! So I guess my advice is to keep trying and let them see you and dad eating and enjoying fruits and veggies...frozen pops and smoothies you make yourself? Don't make it a battle and try to keep your cool. Best of luck to you and yours!

TJ - posted on 12/10/2010

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WOW.... sounds like yo need some fixing up to do with veggies and fruit...

The fruit, puree them and mix the puree with sugar free kool- aid and freeze them on popsicle sticks, they taste great and i have never had a small kid turn their nose up to them...

as far as the veggies go, same thing, if they will eat pasta llike spaghetti, make your sauce and mix in the pureed veggies, this to tastes really great, or you could try andgive them a varity of veggies with ranch dressing.. the possiblities are endless for trying to get kids to eat fruits and veggies.... good luck..

Krista - posted on 12/09/2010

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I'd just like to say that by the age of 2 a child's tastes have been developed and afterwards it's extremely hard to alter it.

Also, as a general rule, it takes kids about 10-15 times of trying something before they actually take a liking to it. For instance, I kept trying to get my son to eat bananas. He would take one bite and then refuse. Then, one day out of the blue, he asked for a banana and now loves them. The same went with oranges. Keep trying.

Laura - posted on 12/09/2010

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Alison makes a very good point: Even with digestive issues, your kids will not starve to death if they miss eating at a meal or two. You have become so stressed out at mealtimes that your kids have picked up on this and are stressed out too. Relax! Be the parent and take back control of mealtimes from your kids. Offer them a selection of healthy foods on their plate or tray. Let them eat what they want but don't force them. After the meal is over (you can set time limits if need be) take up the plates, put them down and dinner is done. Don't worry if they didn't touch anything; kids appetites do fluxuate with growth spurts, growth slow downs, teething or illness. That's it! It will not take very long for your kids to catch on to the "new" routine and to get hungry enough to start picking at what's presented to them. Kids are very adept at eating what their bodies need to grow and not over-doing it. As long as healthy food is presented consistantly, they will begin to eat when hungry.

In the meantime, some really good suggestions were given for healthy foods to offer them! If they are needing more fiber, pureed veggies and fruits can be added to just about anything. Whole grains/flours (assuming that they don't have celiac disease) should be used instead of white flour when baking. Limit the amount of sugar they eat, especially pre-packaged, proccessed foods with high fructose corn syrup. Sweeten things with organic cane sugar, honey (if they are older than a year), molasses or real maple syrup. There are some wonderful cookbooks out there, as mentioned, that have recipes for healthy foods. Use the internet, too! Lots of good recipes are out there. Finally, get creative with HOW you present the food. Food "sculpture" and art can be a fun way to get kids to eat healthier options. This can even be something that they can help with--making edible pictures from their food! Remember, set the expectations and limits with a mealtime structure, then work on making mealtimes less stressful by adding some fun to them. Hope this helps and good luck!

Erica - posted on 12/09/2010

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I agree with the moms who say the kids will eat what you give them..right now you are giving in and letting them have something else and they have figured this out. Dont give in and they will eat what you give them at some point.

Meadow - posted on 12/09/2010

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Replace bannanas ina recipe into Zuchini bread. Grate veggies into meats the same color. Hide cauliflower in Mac and Cheese. I place raw veggies on the table before dinner and tell my toddler to snack on that first. Alway eat veggies with your kids....it took us several months. We peel brussel sprouts and my daughter will eat them. We also put out two different types of veggies and tell her that she has to eat at least one veggie. You can also talk to your Ped about going to a food specialist for eating ideas, which with your kids tummy issues would help you alot. Good luck

Kathy - posted on 12/09/2010

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I saw on the "Rachel Ray Show", how she chopped the vegetable real fine and put it in foods kids liked, and she made different dishes using fruit and veggies and the children couldn't tell the different. Make smoothies using fresh or can fruit. Can they drink pedisure? Make milk shakes or smoothies with that.

Dana - posted on 12/09/2010

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Oh a GREAT cookbook that tackles these exact issues is Jessica Seinfield's Deceptively Delicious.
You can get it on Amazon for $6
It's Jerry Seinfields wife's cook book, it's a great cook book, I had/have the same issues with my son and I couldn't be happier with the cookbook- seriously!

[deleted account]

Pumpkin muffins are yummy and pretty nutritious. Fruit smoothies are a favorite in this house. If they resist that you could start w/ milkshakes, add a banana, and slowly start adding real frozen berries until they are drinking actual smoothies (you can still call them milkshakes). Raw veggies w/ dip (ranch or whatever) can be a hit. Cooked veggies w/ cheese sauce.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/08/2010

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Have you ever heard of fruit plus? It is gummies that are a full days serving of fruits and veggies. No artificial stuff, or sugar...even sweetened with fruit juice. They help build immunity also. They are not cheap, but worth it in my opinion. Or have you ever tried juicing? You can mask the flavor of veggies...or perhaps smoothies? Good luck!

Karen - posted on 12/08/2010

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thankyou for your help i do put it on their plates and try to get them to eat it but i dont know how to handle the 2 of them temper tantruming at the same time and then they still dont eat it if you have any advise on how to get them to eat it of their plates i would love to know

Amanda - posted on 12/07/2010

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http://www.amazon.com/Sneaky-Chef-Strate...



This receipe book its all about hiding veggies and fruits in food. I would never suggest hiding veggies or fruits to any mother, but in your case with medical issues go for it. But PLEASE offer the veggies and fruits on the plate as normal beside whatever food you hide veggies and fruits into, otherwise they will not learn good eatting habits for adulthood. You can also do smoothies, kids LOVE them.

Rachel - posted on 12/07/2010

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you can hide vegies in muffins... although personally I think that grose... also you can puree vegies and put them in pasta sauce.

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