How do i get my son to eat veggies?

Elizabeth - posted on 09/25/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My son (3.5 yrs) refuses to eat meat or veggies. He likes alot of fruit, but his diet is mainly scrambled eggs, dairy (milk, cheese, cottage cheese on occassion) and carbs (pancakes, waffles, pasta, cereal). He does not eat typical toddler food - flat out refuses mac & cheese, burgers, nuggets, pizza, grilled cheese, pb & j, spaghettios, etc. He used to eat everything when he was starting out, but now, he has a very limited menu. I'm worried that he's not getting the nutrition he needs, even though he takes vitamins daily. What ideas have worked for you?

14 Comments

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Anna - posted on 09/26/2009

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Hi Elizabeth, you should look at clever recipe books where the vegetables are hidden within the food. I bought the Jessica Seinfeld cookbook 'Deceptively Delicious' it was very helpful. Also I bought a juicer and I pack my juices with carrot plus oranges, pineapple, beetroot, celery (you'll get to know what you child likes the taste of).



If you can get a juice into him a day that could settle your concerns, it did for me.



My kids 4 and 2.5yrs both eat fairly well now - they had tonsil and adenoid issues which hindered alot of their solid food intake - we're on the up and up now.



Good luck!



anna

[deleted account]

I too struggle to get my daughter to eat veggies so you are not alone! What I find frustrating is the books I've read say you must get them to eat green leafy veg and lots of beans and pulses, but at the same time they say you cannot force a child to eat. So I find myself just giving her foods she will eat. Some good advice I had was you should always serve a meal with a few veggies even if you know they won't eat them. That way they get to see that veggies form part of a balanced meal. Hopefully with time they will learn to accept them on the plate and even try them too. It's hard to cook veggies when you suspect they will just end up in the bin but I find it's easy to keep a bag of mixed frozen veg in the freezer, and they only take a few seconds to warm up in a pan or microwave. Also, if he's getting fruit you shouldn't worry too much as I think they can get most of the nutrients that way. Maybe worth supplementing with iron though... good luck, remember you are not the only mum who struggles with this

Andrea - posted on 09/26/2009

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Maybe he is having a hard time swallowing or chewing. Could be a medical reason or just a phase. My second child has issuess with tactile food and I blended everything until he was about 4. He is also my ADD child. He was also a gagger so any size piece not blended would make him gag. He eventually grew out of it and eats everything now. As long as he is getting fluid and protein I wouldn't be concerned unless he looses weight..Andi

Brittany - posted on 09/26/2009

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PS if you are really worried about vitamins and such, make sure he's taking a toddler vitamin! It'll just give you peace of mind he's getting all the iron and everything else he needs that he's missing from veggies and meats.

Brittany - posted on 09/26/2009

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I wouldn't worry about him not eating meat since a lot of children don't like meat and he seems to be getting a good amount of proteins through eggs and dairy. As for veggies, my son only likes the ones in soups and casseroles. I just make him ABC soup and strain out the veggies and pasta so he's not getting all the sodium. (he is a salt baby and I have to watch how much he's taking in) Isn't it funny how when they first start eating they can eat everything then one day get picky? My son did that. He ate everything for four months then WHAM picky to the point where he surpassed even me.

We also use the at least one bit rule which for you will be a bit easier since he's going on four and can understand you. We also let our son dunk at first to get him eating chicken again, but at the same time I didn't like him getting the added calories and no benefits. But it got him to eat it and we gradually used dips less and less and now he is dip free again.

He is getting older though so maybe he notices tastes he likes and doesn't like. Nuggets and mac and cheese are plain. I have never liked eating them. Maybe he just doesn't care for bland flavors. Maybe try out his pallet and see if he likes tangy or spicy or do sweet meals like sweet and sour chicken with pineapple, chicken and red bell peppers since they are sweeter. My son will eat anything that is spicy and has been that way since nine months which freaked out other parents because everyone thinks kinds need to eat bland things, but it's not always the case. Ethan would pull things off our plates and just try them and I wouldn't discourage him since it was a fuss free way to get him to try something new. We found out in that way that we couldn't go wrong with things that were full of flavor. Now or neighbors son who is seven months older prefers blander things. They are just little people and full of opinions. I love it! It's so exciting. Frustrating, but exciting!

I hope this helps some.

Amanda - posted on 09/25/2009

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Fruit/veggie(carrot,celery) smoothies! Try different ways to prepare the veggies my son doesn't like raw carrots but will eat steamed carrots.

[deleted account]

My son loves to eat frozen vegetables. He won't eat them cooked, but gobbles them up if I just pour them out of the freezer bag onto his plate.

Erin - posted on 09/25/2009

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If your son will eat pasta, try making a sauce with ground chicken or turkey which has a milder flavour and lots of veggies and blend it smooth if you need too. Also I give my kids Low sodium V8 juice as a soup with goldfish crackers and they love it.

Brandy - posted on 09/25/2009

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i also give my son something to dunk stuff in and he seems to realy enjoy it. if i put meat and vegies infront of my son he will eat all the vegies and leave the meat i think it has to do witht he fact that he was a late teether and couldnt eat the meat for a while so he got used to veggies and now loves them. when we go to grandmas he stands at the fridge asking for carrots.(raw baby carrots) he loves them good luck hope this helped

Chris - posted on 09/25/2009

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We have started a rule in our house that everyone (including the parents) have to try everything on their plate. They don't have to like it or eat, but they have to try it. Once everyone had tried the things on their plate, then they can have something else for dinner. But she has to choose from one of the left overs that are in the fridge. Mom's not going to fix something else.

We also give her the option of dipping her veggies in Ranch dressing and her meat in BBQ sauce or ketchup (depending on what the meat is). We also put cheese on most of her foods, melted cheese seems to make most things taste better. You said he likes pasta, does he like it with sauce? When you make spaghetti sauce, chop the veggies up really small. You can also put very small piece of veggies in his eggs, mix cheese in with it, he will never know they are there.

It's normal for kids to go through phases of being picky my daughter was doing that for awhile, now she seems to be back to eating everything given to her. The tasting everything rule really did seem to make a big difference. Because now she can't say she doesn't like something when she hasn't even tried it.

Also, we don't make a big deal about her not eating, we've found if we ignore her and make her realize that we are going to eat whether she does or not. And don't give into her. She eventually comes to the table when she's ready. Believe me she never goes without eating. We also tell her she can't have any thing else to eat until her night time snack which is around 7 PM. That makes her realize that it's going to be a while before she can have more to eat. It's a great motivational tool.

I also think peer pressure has a lot to do with it. When my daughter went through her picky phase she was around people at church all the time that are very picky eaters. But now that our schedules are very busy and we don't see them that much, things have gotten easier with her eating.

I hope these suggestions help.

Elene - posted on 09/25/2009

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i found with my son that if i gave him something to dunk in he would eat what ever i put in front of him....it gets messy but it get's them to eat.....i would not worry about his eating they go through time where they only eat certain thing or maybe just not want to eat at all...but he seams to be getting a good diet...as moms we will always worry but i would say if the dip doesn't work don't worry he will change his likes and dislikes 20 times before he is 10 lol that's why we go gray so early....

Nicole - posted on 09/25/2009

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There is a helpful cookbook that incorporates veggies into recipes for sweets. This is a great way to sneak it on him. Also, I've noticed with my kids, if they see me eat it they will too. Eat veggies and meats with him and undoubtedly he will ask for some and follow suit. Hope this helps!

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