5 TIPS FOR GETTING VEGETABLES INTO TODDLERS

  1. Try to recognise your insecurities and hang ups about new and different foods. It's so important that we recognise our own hang ups about food in order to appreciate how daunting a plateful of vibrant vegetables might be for a toddler.
  2. Never ask your toddler to eat, try or taste. Go back to basics and start at the very beginning having fun with discovering food and exploring the origin, shape, colour, texture or smell  - there are lots of different ways to experience veggies
  3. Children do not like unexpected surprises. Prepare children for what’s to come on their plate. You can do this by letting your child help you to get the meal ready, wash the vegetables for you, sing about the vegetables or maybe counting the pieces of chopped veg ready to be cooked.
  4.  Use simple picture books or wall charts about vegetables to look at and talk about with your child. How many do they know or recognise? Where do they grow? 
  5. Visit a fruit or vegetable farm, green grocers or local supermarket vegetable aisle. Point out all the different varieties of particular produce. Are there any you don’t recognize? Choose something new to take home and explore but do not talk about eating it!

HOW TO HIDE VEGETABLES IN FOOD FOR TODDLERS

Hiding vegetables is never a good idea, nor is it a long term solution as it can lead to mistrust about food and being tricked into eating something.

Toddlers need to learn about vegetables in their entire whole form early on so that they begin to accept them.

It is useful to be able to add extra veggies to a homemade pasta sauce or pureed veg into a smoothie – but our toddlers are not learning to enjoy the unique flavour of each individual vegetable and are not interacting or making connections with the actual vegetable.

TODDLER WILL NOT EAT VEGETABLES FAQS

What do you do when your toddler won’t eat vegetables?

Do not react or respond negatively in any way at all simply continue to offer a wide range of vegetables in different shapes and colours at every snack and meal time.

Should I force my toddler to eat vegetables?

We should never use force in relation to feeding our toddlers. Bribing is never a good idea either as it actually sets up the food in question to be demonised further. Forcing your toddler to eat their greens to get some chocolate puts even more dislike on the greens in question.

Be patient and continue to offer vegetables even if they are refused, it can take up to 15-20 offerings before your toddler begins to accept.

Why do toddlers hate vegetables?

As babies we are born with a preference for sweetness due to breast milk being sweet and babies need to learn to learn to like the bitter flavour of vegetables.

Vegetables can also require more chewing and a hungry toddler may be less inclined to chow down on fibre rich vegetables when simple carbohydrates can be consumed with ease and provide the necessary instant energy to fuel their play.