How do you get veggies into toddlers?(27 Posts)
Your winning meals/recipes please.
18mo eats fish fingers, toast, sandwiches, pasta, yoghurt and fruit.
No matter how many times we try, disguise, mash, flavour - she rejects roasted veg, veg soup, veg to dip into hummus or anything else (she just eats the pot of hummus), grated veg, veg hidden in sarnies, mashed potato etc etc - help!!
This has been going on for months and I'm despairing at her poor unbalanced diet
Roast a load of veggies and tomatoes with garlic and herbs. Then blend with pasatta til you have a thick pasta sauce. You can use it in spag Bol or just mixed with pasta with cheese sprinkled on top.
Carrot and courgette muffins are nice.
Do you have a juicer? You can make up juices, carrot and orange etc
Do you make your own burgers? Sauté off some onion add to mince with grated carrot and grated apple and the usual bread crumbs, egg maybe done fresh herbs and season. Serve as you would a burger.
Recipe works fir meat balls too and with beef chicken pork or turkey or lamb mince (or chicken breast in a blender)
Pasta sauce good idea - will try that this week. She has a habit of fishing out any non-sauce coated bits of pasta so not sure how much we'd get in but will persevere. Have tried this with roasted peppers, butternut and tomatoes thinking they are friendly flavours but never blended right down, and she's fussy about lumps. Thank you will try that!
And yes, have a juicer, will try some carrots in fruit juice - could just work!
I make mince based dishes pretty much half mince and half grated veg. Works great with spag Bol, lasagne and shepherds pie. Also pasta sauce made with puréed veg and cream cheese.
I put carrot into any tomato-y thing - you can't tell it's there and also makes it go further cheaply.
Pancakes/fritters with spinach, grated carrot, sweetcorn etc mixed into the batter. It can sometimes help if you make the batter quite thick and use self-raising flour so they puff up a bit. You can also sprinkle grated cheese on top to melt (if she likes cheese) or make smiley faces with cheese/ketchup etc.
The rawer the vegetables and fruit, the better, I find. You said you'd tried dippers (presumably raw) into houmous, but does that include peppers? Thise were Dd"s first food, and they are brilliant, versatile and vitamin- packed (if expensive).
Do you eat with her? Not doing so was a mistake we made with DS. DD was eating witj her eyes long before she got any food!
Also, how much milk is she having? Youcan check "norms" with other parents or your HV. Letting DS fill up on milk was another of our mistakes!
Lastly, how active is she? If you can add any more walking/physical play to her day, that could boost her appetite (just to finish off with something we got right, so you don't think me a complete incompetent, offering advice! )
The blender is your friend
Curried parsnip and ginger, lentil, butternut squash carrot and ginger, beetrot, lentil soups etc, blended til smooth. Gradually increase lumps as and when.
try it raw before the meal when you are cooking, you try 1st then offer it to her.
I wouldn't give up with just putting veg on her plate tbh, don't make a big deal if she doesn't eat it and don't in any way make veg out to being any different to the other foods on her plate.
Will she eat things like chopped up avocado or beetroot?
One of my dds favourite dinners at this age was a plate with very small portions of hummus, avocado, beetroot, grated carrot, tuna/ham and a breadstick/cracker.
Thanks so much, everyone - these are great ideas that I just hadn't thought of. Some serious meal planning is starting tomorrow!
Yes - it was raw dippers - we tried carrot, peppers, carrot, celery so far. I eat with her half the time, but not consistently. Will be hard with an 11 day old too now, but I need to crack this!
Thanks again, really helpful tips.
Baked beans. They are a staple in this house.
DD1 went through a funny veg refusing stage but is back onto them now at 4, dd2 is too lazy to pick peas and sweetcorn out of mashed potato
What about cottage pie?
What I find works is getting them to cook it with you. cutting up the veg etc. They will happily cook it, then reject it for what seems like several meals. but keep on going, and they get it. As long is there is no urging to eat. Just celebrate their cooking of it.
Chopping carrots...then saute in water and butter
Chopping broccoli and making little trees to stand in mash as a forest. make a story about it.
Smother all veg in butter. Its ok as kids need full fat so no health issues. Don't be scared of salt either.
peas. get them to pod them, also broad beans.
sweet corn. kid s love seeing it cook then chopping the kernels off.
The idea is to get them to 'own' the veg without demanding they eat it. Just eat with them and praise the cooking.
I also find using serving plates where they can help themselves works.
They love the independence of it.
If you have a picky eater, you need to take the long view. And you probably need to use a combination of different strategies:
1) hide veg in tomato sauces, meatballs etc (some great ideas above!)
2) offer veg in lots of different forms - raw, cooked, cubbed, sliced, mashed, roasted, as a dipper etc
3) offer it lots even if it is constantly rejected (even if that is depressing to watch) but only offer a tiny piece, like one pea alongside her fish fingers, so it isn't threatening
4) try and eat together when possible (this also makes it more convenient to offer the food you're eating)
5) never cajole, bribe or threaten
You should also keep reminding yourself that lots of toddlers don't eat veggies and lots of parents (as evidenced here!) are trying things to get them to eat them so it isn't a big deal. And, kids change what they eat so even if your friends have toddlers who hoover up veg, they may find they have a veg-phobic 3 year old!
My ds is a fruit refuser...at 13!
But I also have a food refuser nephew, who I have nannied for the last two years. Mum has always been a lot more anxious about his food intake rather than his little sister (who just gets on with her grub quite happily). It drove me mad that she would come in from work, not ask what he had eaten (quietly) but gallop in and pick up a spoon and start forcing food down him.
I truly believe that taking the brake off your anxiety is the key. remember you dc lives in a food rich country...remember one portion of food for a toddler is the size of their fist...it really helps.
My DS is 16mo and refuses all fruit and vegetables except raisins and prunes. I add pureed apples and or pears, blueberries or strawberries into his weetabix for breakfast and custard at lunch. I give him one meal per day which I spoon feed for the purpose of getting veg into him so this could be homemade soup (pureed), mince and potatoes (sweet potato and carrots mashed up with mince mixed through) or chicken with potatoes and vegetables (cauliflower, brocolli, squash etc). The other meal I am more relaxed about and he can have sandwiches, fish fingers or whatever we are having. I always offer fruit and veg when doing finger foods hoping one day he will decide he likes even one of them. Letting him see us eating them is important. Today he sucked on a banana after seeing my Mum eating one. He quickly passed it back but it was a start.
Cover in a decent cheese sauce and breadcrumb topping or put it in a mild lentil curry. Could also do a cheesy veg risotto... Managed to get DD to eat a beetroot risotto (boak) as it was pink(?!)
I make pasta sauce with grated courgettes and carrots in
Also I put chopped spinach in with pasta pesto or macaroni cheese
I put sauce on fish fingers which is essentially a white sauce with blended veg - brocolli, spinach, watercress or any other green veg
I made Jamie Oliver's cauliflower cheese with a cheesy brocolli sauce last night which went down well with us as well as the toddlers
Roasted carrot sticks and peppers for dipping in houmous
If she likes toast, would she go for a 'toast pizza'?
Then you can put anything on as long as it's cut up small enough.
Also, make your own flavoured pesto - spinach, pepper, aubergine....
Cauliflower mashed into regular potato (1/2-1/2)
Pasta sauces ( tomato with any roasted veg)
Then just offer as usual and hope for the best. If you make pasta cover in homemade sauce full of veg with side of veg. Then at least if they leave all the side they have has some in the sauce
Disguise vegetables in cake?!
Multi Veg Muffins
Drladybird my DS hated those. He did like baked peach in custard today though.
I've managed to get DS to eat veggies by giving raw ones while I'm chopping. So red peppers, carrots, cucumber. When he first tried peppers and cucumbers in a salad he didn't like them, but handed to him while I was chopping them and he ate the lot! Now he loves both. Carrots he's always been pretty good with. As others have said, hidden veg in pasta sauces and bolognese is great. Also chopped up small in a cottage pie. DS also loves green beans. He loves to pick them up, pick out the little beans inside, then eat the rest lol.
The Hairy Dieters first book has a recipe for burgers which contain courgette and I think carrot. Could also do the same with meatballs. The veg is grated up and when it's cooked you can't taste them at all.
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