Creative ways to work vegetables into a toddler’s meal

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 their 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 they eat their veggies. One way that you can try to get your toddler to sample different veggies is by incorporating them into their 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 their 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 them 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 their plate.

Cook them differently

Not many people get giddy when they’re faced with steamed cauliflower. Your toddler might be more inclined to eat their veggies if the veggies have been baked, stir-fried, roasted, or grilled. If your toddler has favorite styles, ask them if they want 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 them is by providing the tools that help them 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.
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