Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Your Toddler & Vegetables (ACTUAL Advice from Parents)

Edited with permission from CC.
    Like most moms, I struggle to get Toddler Picturesque to eat her veggies. She seems to love raw carrots, and sometimes frozen peas... but that's about it (right now anyway). So I sneak her veggies, usually by giving her a little fruit/veggie puree and/or a smoothie with spinach in it. Looking for advice, I turned to the many communities I'm a part of on Facebook and asked fellow parents for advice. There were some great ideas, so I thought I'd share it with you if you too are struggling to get your toddler to eat his/her vegetables.

Give veggies as a snack - Danielle says "I use to give them as snacks. Toddlers don't know that sweet/salty/savory are typically snack foods. Now at age 4 my son will eat a bowl of broccoli or lima beans as a snack because that is what he has always known."

Try juicing - Julie says "On top of them eating veggies they love juicing. It's never used as a meal but as an add on to ensure they get phytonutrients. Having a cleaner diet is a huge factor because they aren't craving or thinking about junk food. Veggies are a normal food for them."

Give veggies first during mealtime - Sarah says "I've always served them first at meal time. Tons of variety, prepared different ways."

Mix the veggies into another dish - Loretta suggests "Meatballs! I grind them up and put them in meatballs. My son is crazy about meatballs!"
   Jessica also says "yeah, i hide them too. i make him smoothies with spinach and he LOVES them!"
   And Julie says "I mix them into everything. Peas & carrots go into rice. Steamed broccoli goes into mac n cheese. Spinach goes into scrambled eggs. Etc."
   Mabel suggests "Make baked Parmesan zucchini sticks. They love to dip them in ketchup and they're crispy like French fries. Also baked Parmesan squash 'chips.' Crispy like potato chips, but way healthier. I also mix them into a lot of dishes. My kids love salsa too, so we use that as a dipping sauce."

Give out veggies at play dates - Stephanie says "Always keep offering. If you have play dates, try giving all the kids the item. They are like sponges and copy each other, especially at toddler age. What one does or tries the other does too."

If all else fails, know that every child is different, and just keep trying - Stephanie says "Keep giving until they try it. Their minds change day to day.... (literally ) with green beans I always tell my son 'you'll grow super long'... that didn't work. But with carrots... I told him, 'Bunnies eat carrots' and now he eats them like they're going out of style. He thinks he's cool like bugs bunny." 
    Rita also suggests "Keep offering, some days are more successful than others. On difficult days I dip the veggies in hummus, which he loves, and he usually winds up eating a lot more that way!"
    Justina mentions "The real answer: every child is different. Some kids will eat anything you put in front of them. Others won't and that's nothing you did. Just keep putting it on their plate and the hope is eventually they will try one they like. Or if they're like my three year old they'll try to push the plate off the table. "

What have you found works to get your little one to try vegetables?

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