T Nation

Toddlers and Veggies

Does anyone have any suggestions on way to encourage your toddler to eat his/her veggies? Up until recently my 2 yr. old little boy has not been a picky eater. Lately, he doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with vegetables. He loves fruits and meats but has to be talked into eating just a few bites of vegetables.

Suggestions?

Thanks

We show our son when we eat veggies and that coaxs him to at least try them. We also serve most of the them raw. He likes raw broccoli (he calls them trees) and cucumbers and carrots. He’s not much on steamed veggies, but he will eat them raw. He also will pick from salads too. I guess you have to find what he likes and how he likes them.

[quote]BigRagoo wrote:
We show our son when we eat veggies and that coaxs him to at least try them. We also serve most of the them raw. He likes raw broccoli (he calls them trees) and cucumbers and carrots. He’s not much on steamed veggies, but he will eat them raw. He also will pick from salads too. I guess you have to find what he likes and how he likes them.[/quote]

Yea, I ate a carrot yesterday to show him that Daddy liked it and he ate one but that was the only one. It’s good that your son likes them raw 'cause that the best way to eat them. I’ll try that with our son.

Thanks

Make what he likes. Encourage him to try things. Just make sure veggies are always available and you eat them yourself.

If he is not eating them today don’t worry about it because his tastes will change.

[quote]BigRagoo wrote:
He likes raw broccoli (he calls them trees) [/quote]

My daughters call them trees as well, but they prefer broccoli steamed.

We usually have two types of veggies on their plate, my youngest daughter is a picky eater and will decide she doesn’t like one each day. So we make her a deal, she can leave one on her plate as long as she eats the other.

But all I can say is try a variety, raw and cooked. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, especially since your kid is eating fruit. Tastes will change.

My almost 2 year old has gotten to this phase as well recently. I’ve tried to keep feeding him the veggies/fruits he likes but I’ll still give him the ones he doesn’t like too, hopefully this will work out since I know my parents did that to me and I love just about all kinds of vegetables now.

My kids love veggies and dip. Low fat sour cream and hidden valley ranch packaged dip.

[quote]Testy1 wrote:
My kids love veggies and dip. Low fat sour cream and hidden valley ranch packaged dip.[/quote]

Ya know, my son loves to dip things too. My only concern is him growing up being accustomed to dipping his healthy foods in high fat dipping sauces and dressings. I guess that raises a whole other question.

Is it really a good idea to allow your (not you specifically Testy1) kids to dip everything they eat in Ranch dressing (which is really high in fat) just to get them to eat their food?

This is quite normal during a child’s development as they begin to get a greater sense of self. Remember that they are a separate entity from yourself and have their own likes and dislikes. And the fact that fruit and candy doesn’t taste quite as delicious as broccolli and other vegtables doesn’t help.

Another problem is with parents feeding young children alot of sugary/fatty and processed foods while they are young. Remain away from grocery ilses and restaurants that serve that kind of food. And keep that junk out of your house, it’s not only good for your child but for yourself as well.

In addition, other family members may add to this chaos. Explain to your spouse, parents, and the other members of your family that you want them to restrict what they feed and offer your child.

If it’s available and your child is hungry, they will eat it, even if it’s only vegtables. Find out what vegtables they like. Use healthy dips and dressing etc, because even I am not the biggest fan when it comes to straight up veg, but vegtables make up a considerable amount of my food.

You could also use the Premack Principle - the opportunity to engage in a high probably response (dessert/TV) will reinforce a low probable response (eating your veggies). But this is based on the condition that they aren’t satiated fromt the rest of their meal first, and that watching TV/etc is more probable,… but working with a two year old in this manner may be quite difficult :slight_smile: But it can be easily done in 4-5yr olds.

Just see what you can do. Good luck!

Really great thread, as i’ve been worrying about this recently with a 3 month old at home.
(obviously not now…she’s happily having breast milk…)

I know kids LOVE to dip things and you know what i’ve found makes a great dipping sauce alternative:
cottage cheese.

Can easily be altered, blended and have spices added so it tastes very similar to non-healthy dipping sauces, plus you and the little bugger are getting more protein!

Sauces in general i’ve heard are a great way of sneaking veggies in.

It might look like pasta sauce, but are they really going to know the difference if you’ve blended in some spinach and carrots, etc?

[quote]sven33 wrote:
Really great thread, as i’ve been worrying about this recently with a 3 month old at home.
(obviously not now…she’s happily having breast milk…)

I know kids LOVE to dip things and you know what i’ve found makes a great dipping sauce alternative:
cottage cheese.

Can easily be altered, blended and have spices added so it tastes very similar to non-healthy dipping sauces, plus you and the little bugger are getting more protein!

Sauces in general i’ve heard are a great way of sneaking veggies in.

It might look like pasta sauce, but are they really going to know the difference if you’ve blended in some spinach and carrots, etc?[/quote]

Excellent Idea.

Try making a special sauce and putting it over some broccoli.

If they absolutely hate vegetables, fruit is the next best thing for kids to eat. They’ll often eat peaches, plums, red grapes, strawberries, or apricots in the summer. You can also make a palatable italian salad that I’m sure your kids would eat.

This is all great information. I mean I know kids are going to be picking during certain stages. I guess my real goal and desire is for my son to grow up with healthy eating habits instead of the eating habits that most kids today grow up with. I only wish that I knew growing up what I know now about nutrition. I might not be in the process of trying to repair my metabolism and losing weight.

I think for a child to have healthy eating habits growing up is a definite advantage in life, athletics, and in other areas.

I think ultimately, as a few people have pointed out, that it starts with the parents.

If the parents are healthy, active and have the house filled with healthy food…there’s a much greater chance that the kids will follow suit.

I’ve rarely seen athletic, healthy, in-shape parents with overweight inactive kids.

If the kids are fat…the parents almost always are too.

The thing i’m most terrified about is…
SCHOOL LUNCHES.

Truly an epidemic in this country and i would say the leading cause of our rising obesity rates.

It’s amazing. Schools are teaching math, history, literature and feeding them pizza and french fries every day?

Schools aren’t teaching them junk yet they’re feeding them junk.

It’s like putting video games and mtv in the library.

Anyway…my rant.

My son does not like raw veggies, but he pretty much loves them in SOUP form. That’s a thing to try.

Ahh the 2’s. Don’t miss the 2’s at all.

My son went thru the anti veggie phase about that time. Didn’t make a big deal of it but told him he had to eat and try different things. He would only eat the raw ones for a period, then only cooked. Finally we just put it on his plate every day whether he ate it or not. Eventually they come around.

He’s 12 now and will eat a head of lettuce by himself, along with all the milk and any meat laying around. Pretty lean kid and he’s almost as tall as me now.