how do you get your toddler eating veggies?

Natasha - posted on 07/19/2010 ( 34 moms have responded )

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my son is 16 months old and he will not eat his vegies...he only eats potato but it cant be mashed and steamed has to be fried to get the brown and crispy he will eat roasted pumpkin and carrot sometime but other than that no other vegies. every night his plate looks like mine full of meat and veg but still he was good at eating them when he was little but after he stopped lettling me feed him there were no more vegies been eaten.......... and i show him vegies are good and exagerate when i eat them it is yummy and that is so tastey help please

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[deleted account]

My son (17 months) much prefers not to eat veggies (exception of peas) so I dip them in little bit of ranch dressing. He LOVES them that way!!!

Kerry - posted on 07/30/2010

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i have a hard tiem getting my son to eat veggies also and what i started doing was i will still offer them with every meal openly but i also blend them up and hide them in his favorite stuff like pancakes for example i blend in apple sauce and purred mixed friut and if he eats spaghetti i blend in purred veggies with the sauce.. the best way to get kids eat stuff they dont like is to hide it in stuff they do like lol cuz if my son had his choice he would be surviving on mac & cheese, graham crackers, and hot dogs lol

Paige - posted on 07/25/2010

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My son LOVES veggies, So I'm not sure that this would work, but I put V8 in his Juice. He LOVES it!!! I usually do about 3 oz of V8 (or more!) and 2 oz of juice. He drinks 4 cuppies a day of this. Good luck :)

Denice - posted on 08/01/2010

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I sprinkle my daughters veggies with Parmesan cheese! It's healthy and she loves it!

Lisa - posted on 07/26/2010

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My 16mth old girl had been going through a really fussy phase - pretty much throwing everything off her tray unless I put in right in her mouth, and then still she would often spit it out. A week or so ago I figured out that she wanted the spoon, and since then she has been feeding herself most meals and eating everything and asking for more! Might be worth a shot?

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Dorsha - posted on 08/02/2010

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Okay, so what I have found.. And I have seen other moms who agree.. mix a little in foods they love.. Like I mix a lil Ham and brocolli in my sons Mac N Cheese, he devours it. Or we had meat loaf and put carrots and celery in it. He loved it

Jackie - posted on 07/31/2010

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I'm sorry Mums n Dads, I'm no help at all on this one, my daughter who is 16 mths old, EATS EVERYTHING!!, she especially loves veggies, her favourite is asparagus boiled then lightly fried in garlic butter.... Good luck!!!... x

Charity - posted on 07/30/2010

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I still feed my 17 month old veggies from a jar. She loves them. She eats regular carrots and green beans too. If you are trying to feed them to him from the jar and he still doesn't like them, you might try mixing them with his other baby food. Either mixing them on the same spoon or every other bite. That's one of the reasons we still feed her the baby food. She gets all the nutrients she needs and then we let her eat "big people" food when she is done. Don't give up though. This is the age where they start pushing buttons to see what they can get away with. It'll be ok. :)

Aneliese - posted on 07/30/2010

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Don't stress, both of my boys are the same, now at 3 and just about 5, they are still fussy, Mr nearly 5 has only JUST started to try veges. however Miss 17 months will eat anything.

Gretchen - posted on 07/28/2010

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Keep giving them to him, and trying them in all the ways the other moms have suggested, whole wheat pasta with a sauce made from pureed squash and carrots and spinach, etc.

Esther - posted on 07/28/2010

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I just read an article in the August edition of Parents magazine about substituting fruits with similar nutritional offerings so the kids still get what they need. The recipes seem easy and the pictures really make the food appealing. Best wishes! My dear one's food groups are hot dog, yogurt, cheese and blueberries right now. :)

Katie - posted on 07/28/2010

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Out pediatrician informed us that toddlers will go through a picky eating stage. He also said don't be surprised if the child loses a little weight during it. But don't worry because it is a phase and the child will grow out of it.

Just continue to offer healthy foods at regular intervals during the day.

I am contemplating offering veggies during snack time to get my girl to eat more veggies. She is great with fruit so that is good, at least she is getting vitamins and minerals that way.

Right now I feel, as long as she is eating something during meal time and I am offering her healthy food options throughout the day, she is doing fine.

Just because your son is not eating the veggies now, doesn't mean he will never eat them again.

Good luck!

Amy - posted on 07/26/2010

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my son is the same.. he hardly lets me feed him anymore likes feeding himself but uses his hands at the moment cant use a fork or spoon on his own yet, he puts it in his mouth if you put the food on it for him but cant pick the food up on the spoon yet. he wont eat veggies but he will when he lets me feed him dont think they like the feel of them because he wont eat pasta himself either or bananas? xx

Cora - posted on 07/26/2010

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I have the same problem so I have been giving her the baby food veggies mixed with fruit so it conceals the veggie part. Also I have tried giving graduate puffs with veggies. Possibly try juice with fruit and veggies? I may have to resort to that since my girl is the pickiest eater I have ever seen.

Paige - posted on 07/26/2010

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I don't do it to 'hide' them, He honestly just likes Juice that way. He prefers it over straight juice. He will eat Anything and everything I put on his plate, Just LOVES all food! I just look at it as a way for him to get extra servings he wasn't getting before :)

Melanie - posted on 07/26/2010

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I agree that "hiding" veggies is not the best, but my suggestion was just to get some veggies into him if he really wasn't eating any at all. I HAD to get some veg into my daughter as she was constipated if she didn't eat any. You could always "hide" some so he doesn't see them and put some on "view" which he can choose to eat or not!

Ruth Anne - posted on 07/25/2010

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We're spoiled rotten in this regard - out daughter loves her veggies and fruit. Frozen green beans and peas in the pod are her favorites when she's teething, but she loves steamed baby carrots, cooked frozen peas, corn, green beans, etc., and eats our veggies with us at dinner (broccoli, asparagus, whatever.) It does take a few times with a new introduction, but other than bell peppers we haven't found anything she flat out balks at. We have a harder time getting her to do enough grain/cereals/bread, but fruits and veg are great. Just keep at it! I think it may help that you're feeding the same veggies you're eating yourself. Processed baby food tastes kind of bland... I think our daughter likes the grown-up versions, maybe with a touch less seasoning, much more and is willing to eat more of them.

good luck!

Zahra - posted on 07/25/2010

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My son wont eat meat. I know exactly how you feel. Why feed it to him first and then let him take control maybe?

Holly - posted on 07/24/2010

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Sometimes its a texture thing also. My Daughter is 16 mos and will eat broccoli (without stems) spinach, peas, green beans, and avocado. Hates carrots, beans, and califlower. My Ped told me the same thing about subsituting fruit if she likes that better than veggies. I usually give her the fruit or veggies before the "meal", so she eats that first. Try fruit instead of veggies and try not to stress, it's a stage. :)

[deleted account]

Suggestions awesome.

I understand now as a grandmother, that food is a very big deal in every household at every age. Young spouses come together with different back grounds and opinions and Food Lady [moi] gets to figure out what works. Hit or miss regularly. After all four children were grown and out with their idiosyncrasies, meals became difficult again.

Hubby wanted to have 'enough' if a grown child just "might" stop in; could I make something light [after meal was nearly ready] or let's just eat cereal; or why do I always make weird things? [usually means vegetables], or why isn't dinner started [I am paralyzed b/c I want to think of something other than what you didn't tell me you had for lunch today, or something you will like that we have stock of ingredients for, that we haven't served recently].

We decided to write down 15 stock meals we each liked and we'd try to rotate them monthly. Better, but what's perfect?

BTW, our 16 m-o grandson is teething and refuses most offerings but crisp things. Hope those troublesome canines grow in and he regains some appetite. Isn't it strange to watch the newborn eat so well, then as the toddler having finicky taste buds? It's just the beginning of stating his own opinions. I used to commend myself for raising independent thinkers; then wondered where I went wrong ~ if they actually disagreed with me!

Have fun. It doesn't last long like this.
Grandy Tandy
FL

A'Lisa - posted on 07/23/2010

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I totally agree with the previous post on hiding vegetables--that just reinforces that they're gross and "bad!"

And one other thing I forgot to mention--we have a goofy broccoli tradition. We always say, "1, 2, 3...CHEERS!" and "toast" our broccoli "trees" before popping them into our mouths......it's silly but my girls love it and do it every time we eat broccoli.

Janet - posted on 07/23/2010

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I'm not really answering the original question, but if your son will eat fruit you may not need to sweat the veggies. I asked my pediatrician how much I need to worry about my child and veggies since she is eating fruit like a champ. My doctor assured me that a wide variety of fruit will provide the same nutrients as vegetables.



That being said, I do still offer her vegetables at every meal so she will be used to seeing them. She loves cucumber (despite having no teeth) and will tolerate carrots but just spits the rest of it out.



It may take up to 20 times of eating the same food before a child will eat it. Just keep offering whatever you are eating and who knows, maybe eventually he'll get it. I agree with previous poster about food battles. Do Not Engage.



Just to give you some encouragement, my son didn't like veggies either and now - at age 5 - he eats broccoli and asparagus like a champ! Just like everything else, this too shall pass try not to let it stress you out too much :)



ETA: I will offer a differing opinion on hiding vegetables. The idea is to get our children to like veggies and to treat them as a normal part of the eating process. By hiding them we are not letting our children be aware of how tasty they can be all by themselves and instead we're reinforcing the stigma that veggies = bad. It's probably a good workable solution as an interim if you are really concerned that he isn't eating enough, but I wouldn't make it a norm. Just a suggestion.

A'Lisa - posted on 07/23/2010

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My 1, 4, and 6 year old daughters all eat veggies very well. I have always served vegetables first and alone, so they eat them when they are hungry. As mentioned by someone earlier--they probably wouldn't choose veggies over mac and cheese, etc., so I just don't give them that choice.

To me, it's all about teaching them healthy lifelong habits--once they are used to eating veggies and have done that every day for years, then it will become habit when they're older and they realize they really do "like" the vegetables. We eat this way as a family, even though it sounds weird! :) (I'll probably stop when they're older.)

Also, remember that they have to be exposed to foods many times before they may like or try it, so don't give up! Mine have come around on a few things they'd refused to touch at first (cauliflower, lima beans). Every time they refused I casually asked them to just try it (they usually will), but if they didn't, then I let it go and tried again the next week. I never engage in food battles....that just makes them want to win and hate the food even more. :) Good luck!

Geneen - posted on 07/21/2010

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Eden is 13 mths and loves veggies all differt kinds including fruit and yoguart. The trick was that I started her off at 6 mths and now she is hooked. Pumkin, sweet pototes, carrots, brocoli, squash, she loves this stuff. Grapes, bananna, blue berries, strawberris, she is really into her fruit. I would say try the sweet veggies first like sweet pototes and squash. Baked them instead of boiling. This will pull out the natual sweetness and flavor of the veggie. God on line and check out recepies and Good Luck.

Jo-anne - posted on 07/20/2010

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Some great suggestions so far already.

My son can be quite fussy, particulary with green vegies. One way I've got around it is to offer different kinds of vegies. He doesn't like broccoli or cauliflower, but he doesn't mind peas as much. So try alternatives to see if you can find one your child likes. I've also recently just discovered that although he doesn't like cooked cauliflower, if I cut the outside of the cauliflower stem off he will eat the centre of the stem raw (he likes to crunch on it).

Sauces or gravy can sometimes work. My son likes dipping his carrots into gravy.

Something else I do is 'hide' vegies in meals. For example when I make bolognese sauce I grate carrot and finely dice celery and onion to add to the mince. By the time I add the tomato sauce, you can't even tell there are vegies in there.

I still always offer the same vegies on our plate, because as someone else mentioned, it can take quite a few times of seeing the food before they become used to it. But otherwise you might just have to get a bit creative.

Brittany - posted on 07/20/2010

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Try frozen veggies. My little girl likes to eat anything if its frozen. Its like a treat to them.

Melanie - posted on 07/20/2010

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Just had another idea! Cook his rice or pasta in the water you used to boil veg instead of plain water. When we wean babies at 6 months in Italy we boil some veg then use the water to make up instant baby food or to cook pasta or rice, because when you boil veg a lot of the nutrients come out into the water (obviously make sure the veggies are well washed). That way they get some of the nutrients without having to eat mouthfuls of veg. I know your son is past the weaning stage but you can still do the same thing. You can even puree some of the veg and add it to the water, he will hardly notice it on the cooked rice or pasta. Or puree the veg to make a pasta sauce, obviously with other ingredients.

Another thing in Italy we always dress veg with olive oil and parmesan which makes it much more yummy!

Carisa - posted on 07/20/2010

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Jessica Sienfeld has a book about hiding veggies in other foods. She makes up pureed veggies and mixes them in other foods (the one example I can remember is using pureed cauliflower in the batter for chicken nuggets) I have never read the book, but they have it a Kohls through their Kohls Cares for Kids program right now.

My daughter likes spaghetti, salsa, and manwhich. If he has been eating bland foods, he might like some spices.

Melanie - posted on 07/20/2010

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I don't know if this is any help but here in Italy the meals usually consist of a first course which is the carbs (pasta, rice) then the second course which is the protein (meat, fish, cheese) and veg. At my children's nursery they invert the courses so they serve first the veg, then the protein, then the carbs. The children eat the veg cos they are hungry. Then they have the rest. No child is going to choose cabbage over pasta, so don't give them the choice! I've started doing this at home and my two girls eat platefuls of veg.

Sarah-Anne - posted on 07/19/2010

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my daughter (16 months tomorrow) loves veggies... except sweet potatoes and squash. she loves trees (broccoli). she only eats green beans when in the yobaby complete meals yogurt. she loves corn if she gets to eat it off the cob. she only eats celery because the wonder pets eat celery. she likes carrots because our pet rabbit eats carrots. she tries to eat lettuce for the same reason, but i usually find it in little chewed up piles in her chair after i get her out. i just try to make it fun for her. i also don't cut up much of her food any more. she'd rather take bites out of stuff than have it in little bite-size cubes. she likes to dip stuff too. she'll eat anything if she can dip it in cheese, tomato sauce, sour cream, hummus, guacamole, salsa etc...

if your son likes cheese, let him dip steamed broccoli and cauliflower stems in some melted cheese.

he likes rstd pumpkin, so try roasting eggplant and red bell peppers, then blending to make babaganoush. let him dip pita bread or crackers or tortilla chips in it. the red peppers will make it sweet like fruit.

reduce apple juice/cider until it's syrupy and toss to coat roasted root veg (carrot, parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, etc). yes this is really sticky and makes a mess, but that is what makes it fun for toddlers.

it also can take 15 to 20 tries for a kid to "like" something. so just keep trying. it took my daughter three months of trying to finally drink milk. i'm still working on potatoes, and meats other than pork.

Jennifer - posted on 07/19/2010

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Hide them with other foods! For example, add some spaghetti sauce, peas and carrots in with a box of mac n cheese. Add some broccoli in with the rice. Or cut them so they "look pretty." You really have to be creative. My son is the same way towards fruits and veggies!

Judi - posted on 07/19/2010

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My daughter will eat canned green beans but still prefers the veggies from the jar (baby food) and I still give them to her for nutrients. Just keep trying and hopefully our kids will eat them one day.

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