Getting Toddler to eat Veggies!(23 Posts)
DD is nearly 17 months and I'm having a nightmare trying to get her to eat veg. Until recently she was eating a lot of pouch meals for lunch and dinner (for various good reasons - leading on from a previous medical condition not just couldn't be bothered to cook honestly!) and I've recently stopped these apart from occasionally but to be honest she refuses them a lot anyway even if I try to give one. I always chose high veg content ones (not just apple based stuff) so I didn't worry about her veg intake. She's always been fine with fruit, pots pouches and now chopped too.
Now she will eat proper, adult food for almost all of her meals. I never thought this day would come (we've had a nightmare weaning!). But she rarely eats what I would call meals, and she won't eat individual veg at all. So today, she's had:
Breakfast: 1 weetabix with whole milk, chopped blueberries and strawberries and some full fat natural yoghurt
Lunch: Bread roll with butter, chopped chicken, chopped cucumber and a bag of those kiddylicious veg sticks (that are flavoured but not real veg so I don't count them)
Dinner: Cheese omelette, breadsticks with cream cheese, banana fruit pouch
Snack: Natural yoghurt with a strawberry
She has free access to water all day and drinks plenty. She also takes a multivitamin daily on advice of our HV (they recommend all babies have them now apparently). She's a healthy weight (always following 75th centile from birth) and has no issues going to the loo or anything.
I made her some cooked veg at lunch and dinner (peas, sweetcorn and baby carrots) all of which were just ignored. She won't eat 'meals' - if I give her a bowl of spaghetti bolognese or shepherds pie for example she she ignores it. So I can't hide veg in stuff. I keep trying with the meals and veg but she just won't have it - she seems to only want picky bits all the time. Yesterday I tried fish fingers, homemade sweet potato wedges and veg, she ate the ff, licked a wedge and ignored the veg. Literally the only veg thing I can get in her is a cauliflower & broccoli cheese dish that i got from a baby weaning book and she'll only eat that as a purée which I'm trying to move away from as she's not a little baby now. I do still give it to her twice a week though.
My dd (25 months) will eat sweetcorn (in tuna mayo)and the occasional pea. I just present normal food (including veg)and if she doesn't eat it then she doesn't. I put as much veg into sauces etc as I can but there's only so much you can do! Ds is 3.8 and is starting to try more things now but went ages without eating much veg (although he has always been better than dd). I don't make a fuss or bribe or cajole, just present nice food and take it away again if it's rejected. I think it's a common phase and hopefully they will grow out of it.
DS still wont eat veg. He is 15 - years not months! He's also six foot one so seems to have survived!
Corn on the cob and broccoli go down well with my LG, I think its the novelty of crunching the corn off the cob and eating little trees.
My brothers (25 & 30!) don't eat veg... they're both 6ft 4 and one is a bodybuilder
I always tried offering veg first and then leaving the table for a few minutes. If I was doing fish fingers I'd give him the carrots and say "here we are, the fish fingers will be ready soon" and then disappear off into the kitchen so as to appear not to care.... Often if really hungry he'd at least try it and sometimes like it.
Definitely what PP said though, keep offering, don't make a fuss yet, if weaning was hard she'll just need more time than her peers I expect. Can you blend stuff up for her without pureeing it? Mash it maybe? Making it gradually lumpier ?
I use the purée veg pouches, a little stock and pasta and then them into pasta sauce.
Does she like ketchup? I got my DS to eat green beans for the first time on Friday by giving him some ketchup to dip them in.
I would cut stars out of cucumber/pepper slices, set up a face using pieces of carrot/broccoli/peas, blitz a shit load into pasta sauce, blitz cauliflower into mash.
Both of mine are good with veg now (3 and 5) though the oldest not as good as the youngest.
Tortilla and omelettes are often good. Lots of little bits of red pepper etc.
Persevere with putting just a few bits of veg on her plate. I find my toddler gets overwhelmed with too much. Have you tried a wide range of veg? Mine eats asparagus, gherkins, broccoli, mushrooms. Also let her be involved in preparing veg? Podding broad beans and peas is a great way to get them involved.
My two (3.5 and 2) will reliably eat peas, sweet corn and grated carrot, but I just put other veg on their plate and figure they'll eventually eat something new.
Some frown on it, but I hide veg too. You can put heaps in tomato sauce for pizza and pasta. There's a good Carluccio recipe for pasta with courgette sauce and spinach meatless meatballs. It's a huge hit in our house, and not very vegetably.
I also discovered chocolate brownies made with courgette and carrot. I was dubious but they were really good!
Will she dip carrot/pepper/cucumber sticks into hummous (even if she just licks the hummous off)?
She might be overwhelmed by a complete meal - maybe try smaller portions of picky things, including veg, or just one or two things at a time?
And then there's always your old friend the deep fat fryer - amazing what kids will eat if it's covered in batter or breadcrumbs.
What about making it look more attractive, like by making it a smiley face? e.g pepper mouth, sweetcorn hair, broccoli eyes? One of my friends did this for her DS and he was so entertained by the face that he ate it all!!
That is more than my 3yo eats! You are doing well, just keep normalising veg, she will eat them eventually.
Meh. My 21mo has turned into a picky eater, and will quite often proffer anything remotely green in a "this seems to have accidentally got into my dinner, mother " fashion.
I don't think she's actually missing out on anything (it's more the reluctance to eat 'protein foods ' i worry about). DP and I genuinely love veggies, so hope that by regularly eating them in front of her the message will eventually get through,
All great advice so far. The only thing I don't think has been mentioned is eating them yourself when she's not eating, ie as a snack, while you're sitting on the sofa or somewhere where the food's on her level and giving her some of 'yours' when she asks.
Somehow everything that's mine is more appealing to my toddler.
worked for us.suggesting we make the colours of the rainbow in todays tea.what shall we add? this is at the supermarket so I show the pepers.and veg and she pointed to them.
a game see how many she could have in a day.
we got corn on the cob with butter on it which she loved and I mentioned breezily."did you no we can get them in tins too!" oh then she wanted sweetcorn off the cob from the tins.
I did the same with fresh peas.she loved popping them out and I said we could get her a whoooole bag if she liked all done for her whenever she fancied.we then got to buy frozen bags of peas.
does she like roasted veg like garlicky onion sweetpotato peppers caulif carrot and broccoli all go great on a tray bake roasted.
have conversation with someone older "no no I think it DC turn to pick the veggies today what do you think luv?" she took this to mean she was all big and important so chose some veg.
let her chose,make her feel good and like you value her opinion on what will work with otnihgts meals.
tell her green cabbage will help her bones grown strong.
carrot and etc etc help her with energy,shiny hair.all the brilliant vitamin and minerals.
could you have any free space to try growing her own?
also a big sis.or friend,someone she admires making a fuss of how much they like veg at a few meals.dont look at her or make a fuss ant her to try and she went suddenly from the other side of the table,came over and out some on her own plate too.
with one we did just do the harsh thing though.not harsh but would be flamed from certain parents I'm sure.we simply said listen youll eat that or you wont get down or have pudding.
get her to keep tasting it even if she dislikes on first go.i think a doctor said it take at least a few trys for youngsters taste to get used to the taste.
My toddler freely eats sweetcorn and carrots as I guess they are the sweeter veg.
He's a bit of a fusspot in general but successes are: rice with peas mixed in, macaroni cheese with frozen spinach stirred in, grated courgette in anything with a tomato sauce (bolognaise etc).
That's about it but I consider it reasonable success on the basis he's a pain about food! Don't worry too much, she sounds like she's doing pretty well and I think protein is super important at this age - give vitamin drops and keep offering veg, she'll eat some eventually.
Maybe try pushing meals back 15 minutes and give her a veg starter. If she's hungry and there's nothing else immediately on offer she'll probably at least try it. We do this with DD most days. Things that generally go down well are carrot sticks, red/orange/yellow pepper sticks, cucumber sticks and peas and sweetcorn (straight from the freezer, no faff cooking, no losing nutrients in boiling water and she loves them). Also often offer veg sticks as a snack between meals.
Don't fret - just keep offering it - and YY to offering it 'first' with a casual, oh I just need to get the rest of it ready. type of thing. (especially with the bread roll and butter which will fill her up quickly)
she's eating a lot of fruit it seems?
Thanks all, some really good advice here. As with most baby stuff it seems perseverance is the key! I will try the getting her involved with preparation and stuff but at her age (she'll be 17 months at the end of the week) she's not really interested yet - still that age between baby and child really.
I'm going to keep offering her 'meals' as well. Making a shepherds pie for our dinner tonight so I'll make a small portion for her for tomorrow. She normally just ignores it though, or shoves it off her tray 🙄. It's so frustrating and the waste (food and time/effort!) drives me bonkers. She's quite good with a spoon if she's having yoghurt or a fruit pot, but give her one with a meal in front of her and it's like she doesn't know what to do with it! I load the spoon and show her, and it gets pushed away, if I spoon feed her she spits it out - or worse, gags and is sick. Monkey. She does ok with a fork if I give her for example an omelette, which I cut into bite size bits for her.
She's fine with fruit. She'll eat pretty much any fruit that I've given her chopped up in a bowl with her fingers and also has pouches or pots if we're out and about or in a rush.
I'm probably overthinking a bit. We had terrible trouble with feeding from the start (milk refuser due to awful silent reflux, medicated, had to dreamfeed every bottle from 4 months) and then weaning (she was on medication for a separate issue that caused dangerously low blood sugar as a side effect if she didn't eat well) so we stuck with giving her anything she could/would eat for ages to ensure she was getting enough food. That unfortunately (for my wallet especially) was mostly blended pouch meals. I always chose the veg based ones with meat so she was getting a good variety of things. She had a terribly sensitive gag reflex so anything lumpy and she'd vomit - meaning we needed to get her to eat again soon after or risk her becoming ill. She's off all medication now, so I suppose I just need to relax a bit and get used to her eating like a normal toddler! Sounds like she is from what you've all said. She's my first so this is all new to me.
does she eat if you feed her? Rather than leaving it to BLW?
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