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When (and how) did you toughen up on vegetables?

(34 Posts)
Tory79 Wed 09-Jul-14 20:24:00

Ds is 2.9 and barely a vegetable passes his lips unless it's well hidden.

He actually eats generally well apart from this, but it basically means that if we have a meat and veg type of meal then the veg will not be touched. At the moment I do no more than tell him eg he can't have any ketchup if he doesn't eat 5 peas or something along those lines, but I leave it as his choice and occasionally he eats the peas....

It does make it quite hard though, and he certainly doesn't have enough veg in his diet, although he does like some random things like spinach and onion tart.....

So I was just wondering at what sort of age people began insisting their dc ate some veg and how they enforced that. So far food has remained a fairly battle free zone for us....


ElephantsNeverForgive Wed 09-Jul-14 20:29:09

Watching with interest, DD2(13) still only eats carrots, sweet corn and tomato sauce on pasta sometimes.

She'll tolerate 'hidden ' courgette

Won't touch tomatoes or cucumber (ok I hate that too) and has just started eating tiny bits of lettuce

Theyaremysunshine Wed 09-Jul-14 20:31:45

Personally I'd keep it battle free. I give DS vitamin supplements and encourage him to chose a new vegetable to try at the supermarket and give lots of praise if he even tries a bit (he's 4).

At the moment he gets hidden veg on homemade pizzas in the sauce, hidden in cottage pie etc. Adores olives (no idea where that came from but he'd eat the whole pot), likes frozen sweetcorn (immediately from the freezer, not cooked, kids love them) .

I keep putting them on his plate and praise if they get tried. Otherwise tbh I leave it. I hated veg as a child, can't get enough now.

GobblersKnob Wed 09-Jul-14 20:32:40

I would keep it as a battle free zone, as its a battle you won't win.

Keep doing what you are doing, putting veg on his plate and in time he will become more adventurous.

You can't make a child eat anything, it's the one thing they have total control over, you can however set up real problems by trying.

Tory79 Wed 09-Jul-14 20:33:36

Yep, even childhood staples like peas, sweet corn and carrots are frowned upon here! Except he will eat all these things as long as he doesn't know they're there..... hmm

I blame dh, who at the grand old age of 43 still only really eats carrots!

Pimpf Wed 09-Jul-14 20:36:55

Don't make it into a big deal, my dd's have always eaten tons of veg, I've never praised them for it, never made an issue out of it.

Me on th either hand, I don't eat any at all what so ever, I think it was a huge thing in my house as a child, constant "if you don't eat you veg, xyz will happen" or on the odd occasion I did have some it was like a miracle had happened and again a huge fuss was made.

Keep making the sauces, gradually leave it more lumpy and don't fight about it. Also make sure that you are seen to be eating lots of veg, that it is completely normal and yummy (don't know how I managed that one!)

Look at different recipes together and pick some food, go to a fruit and veg market and get them to pick something to try.

But the biggest thing of all, don't make an issue out of mealtimes

Tory79 Wed 09-Jul-14 20:39:07

He gets veg in

Spag Bol and similar type meals
Curries (which he loves)
Homemade pizza
Savoury muffins
Ruddy spinach and onion tart which he shovels down!
Mixed in with pasta sauce
Savoury pancakes with mushed up veg in.....
Grated carrot in sandwiches etc

I just long for the day when I can give him cucumber and carrot sticks, or a tomato, or peas or even just some less finely chopped veg in a meal and it actually gets eaten!

I love vegetables sad

Pimpf Wed 09-Jul-14 20:39:23

I disagree with theyaremysunshine. If you give them praise for eating one thing, they will think, what's wrong with it, why is it so good that I'm eating it. You don't praise them for eating chocolate or pototoes!

I used to tell dd's that if they ate another chip, they could have some more broccoli.

Praise them for trying new foods, just don't make those new foods veg all the time

GretchenWiener Wed 09-Jul-14 20:40:19

oh dont. Its really not worth the agony.
Sell them frozen peas as green sweets and give yourself a break.
i have a veg refusing son who is 6 foot 2 with a flawless complexion and no health issues. I wish i hadnt got so stressed

upyourninja Wed 09-Jul-14 20:40:48

I think all you can really do is model good eating - both you and other family members.

Try not to talk about food, what's being eaten, what's not, and don't make praise conditional on eating. I praise good table manners and tasting everything, that's it.

I do occasionally encourage my DD (2.5) to taste things on her plate if she only eating one thing (say, pasta) and ignoring the rest.

She will try/eat absolutely anything we grow in the garden - that's been cucumber, broad beans, peas, salad, soft fruits so far this year. She loves it and especially likes raw peas.

We also don't make pudding contingent on eating a full plate and she can stop eating when she is full.

I thought and read quite a lot about how to avoid making food a battle ground; I have an eating disorder history and SIL was fully in the grip of anorexia when DD was weaning, plus my brother used to retch physically when he tasted vegetables which was ridiculous and distressing for all of us (we had to 'eat everything because there are starving children out there' and eat our main meals before our 'treat' of cake/yoghurt etc for dessert.) anyway, I have no idea if DD would have been a fussy eater otherwise (she's v stubborn and had some lip and tongue ties which made eating difficult at first, but she's open to pretty much everything so far.

Tory79 Wed 09-Jul-14 20:42:28

I am honestly very relaxed about food with him, haven't always been, but as he's got older I trust him more if that makes sense, and try to live by the quote "it's my job to offer him healthy food, and his job to eat it" ( or not!)

So it all goes on his plate, if he doesn't want it that's fine, which I always tell him, and just say there's nothing else though (unless I can tell he genuinely just doesn't like it)

Ratfans Wed 09-Jul-14 20:45:38

Battle free here too.

Just remember for most of history humans existed on quite a limited diet of whatever was available: so native to their area and in season so to speak.

And this is still the case in many places in the world.

So children been expected to eat 20 types of vegetables wasn't an issue.

I think if you can get them to accept 2-3 types of veg (even if disguised) and 2-3 types of fruit on a regular basis you're onto a winner.

GretchenWiener Wed 09-Jul-14 20:46:07

hasnt the veg thing been exposed as a load of balls anyway?

upyourninja Wed 09-Jul-14 20:47:25

In that case, I still wouldn't 'toughen up'. Just keep serving - insist on it being on his plate but say he doesn't have to eat it if he doesn't want. Tastes do have to be learned and acquired so I do usually ask my DD to taste things with her tongue - I think that's a judgment call though.

Could you instead let him try things raw/cooked/frozen, take him to a pick your own place and talk about eating what you pick, that sort of thing?

Tory79 Wed 09-Jul-14 20:48:54

ratfans he'd eat fruit above all else and eats just about any type as well! I've felt obliged to try and cut down on that recently thanks to all the news reports about it being not so good after all hmm

Scottishmumofgirls Wed 09-Jul-14 20:50:36

My eldest (5) has always hated veg, including potatoes and soup. So we've hidden in sauces, offered lots of fruit and asked that she try the vegetables on her plate. She doesn't need to finish them, just try. Over the last few days I've given her a very small amount of ketchup in a pot and allowed her to dip her veg in this. She has polished off full portion of peas, raw carrots and broccoli. This has been unheard of - EVER. I realise daily ketchup is far from ideal but the plan is to request she have a certain amount without ketchup and the rest with and wean her off. I'm just so relieved she is taking veg though, her dad at almost 40 takes none.

smokeandfluff Thu 10-Jul-14 22:00:00

Keep offering but don't make a big deal about it
Will he eat raw veg/salad?

ButterflyOfFreedom Fri 11-Jul-14 13:21:51

My DS (21 months) isn't keen on his veg either - he seems to like broccoli (we call it 'small trees'!) but that is about it.

However, I do serve veg with (almost) every meal - usually some peas, carrots, sweetcorn or cherry tomatoes, and very occasionally he will try them.
I have started saying things like 'if you eat your peas you can watch some Peppa Pig' which I know isn't the best way of going about things but it does work and I feel that the goodness from the veg outweighs any 'badness' a bit of TV might bring!!

He also generally likes to eat whatever is on 'daddy's plate' so we let him 'steal' food off DH's plate or say things like 'you're not going to eat daddy's carrots are you?' and turn it into a bit of a game which he finds hysterical (and results in him eating carrots!). Again, not ideal as it can take a while to eat a meal and poor DH has half his meal eaten for him but it works!!

Though saying all that, at nursery DS eats anything & everything including carrot sticks and cucumber so maybe it's just my cooking,......????!!

myusernameis Fri 11-Jul-14 13:57:39

GretchenWiener what do you mean 'hasnt the veg thing been exposed as a load of balls anyway?'?

Tory79 Fri 11-Jul-14 15:29:14

smokeandfluff in a word no!

Passthedamnhamplease Fri 11-Jul-14 17:38:53

I only ate peas until I went to uni and now I have a very healthy diet and love veg. I agree with everyone who says offer it, keep it totally battle and emotion free and model good eating. Plus sneak veg in where you can.

Dd is pretty good with veg though hates salad and tomatoes and also is only 21 months so I suspect we haven't hit the fussy eating danger age yet!

Passthedamnhamplease Fri 11-Jul-14 17:40:16

Only ate peas as a veg I mean - I ate other things too (as long as they were cheese/pasta/potato based). Actually my diet was awful until I left uni really.

everythingisonmurtaghlist Fri 11-Jul-14 17:58:52

I worry about this too although my dd(2.9)does sometimes eat carrot sticks she mainly eats peas. She was awesome when weaning - loved nothing more than sucking on a bit of broccoli. Now she won't consider it. I can hide veg in sauces and soups but wish could get her to try more. She recently was in hospital and they said her iron was a little bit on the low side so I'm working on that and have also introduced a multi vitamin. Anyone know if i blend spinach into my tomato sauces will she taste it?

smokeandfluff Fri 11-Jul-14 20:28:05

Sorry tory, missed your other post above, seems like hes getting a decent amount of veg mixed into the items you mentioned. I know its annoying that he won't eat veg on its own, but some kids won't eat 'mixed dishes' of food like cottage pie/spag bol and need the various items of food separated on the plate (I was like this as a child)....I think a lot of kids are some odd food habits but Still manage to eat healthily enough.

LoveBeingInTheSun Fri 11-Jul-14 20:30:25

We've just always had a try everything on your plate rule, then ham up the how yummy clever thing afterwards. Also reinforced the difference between not liking and not wanting to eat it today

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