Some toddlers love vegetables, while others need a little more convincing. If your toddler is among the resistant ones, rest assured that this is a normal stage of toddlerhood. Right now, getting your toddler to eat his veggies just takes a little extra work on your part.
Whether your toddler dislikes the taste or just the unfamiliarity of new vegetables, it’s still important that he eats his veggies. One way that you can try to get your toddler to sample different veggies is by incorporating them into his meals in fun and different ways. Here are some things to try to help your toddler get a little more comfortable with the veggies on his plate.
Try not to hide them completely
This is a tempting option, especially if you’ve grown desperate with your toddler’s vegetable resistance. But as easy as it is to mix veggies into a smoothie or puree, this doesn’t teach him healthy habits. In the long run, it’s better if you can get your toddler to eat vegetables as they are.
Start meals with veggies
If given the choice between a breadstick and a stick of asparagus, most children would reach for the breadstick. It’s likely that your toddler isn’t an exception. Try saving the more carbohydrate-heavy parts of the meal for after your toddler has eaten the veggies on his plate.
Cook them differently
Not many people get giddy when they’re faced with steamed cauliflower. Your toddler might be more inclined to eat his veggies if the veggies have been baked, stir-fried, roasted, or grilled. If your toddler has favorite styles, ask him if he wants to choose how the veggies get cooked. You can also play around with different flavoring and cooking styles; it’s entirely possible your toddler just has a more complex palate.
Add to something delicious
Peas in macaroni and cheese, vegetable lasagna, veggie frittatas, cauliflower gratin – these are just a few good options to choose from when mixing veggies with other kinds of tasty food. You could serve veggies to your toddler with some dip or sauce on the side, too.
Make fun shapes or stories
Any good chef can tell you that meals are all about presentation; vegetables don’t just have to come in piles. You can line your toddler’s veggies up, arrange them into different shapes, or arrange them so that they’re circling other foods on the plate.
Follow up with something sweet
One final piece of advice is to make sure there’s always a sweet-tasting option, like fruit or yogurt, for your toddler to choose from. This isn’t for variety as much as it is strategic. If your toddler finishes a meal on a sweet note, they’re likely to remember the bitter-tasting foods in a more positive light.
Your toddler is smart, curious, and probably a little headstrong. These certainly aren’t bad qualities, although they may get in the way of your well-intentioned dinner plans. The best way you can encourage Baby to explore the world around him is by providing the tools that help him flourish and grow – one of the most important being a balanced diet.
- “My toddler hates vegetables. What can I do?” KidsHealth. Nemours Foundation, 2016. Web.