Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jun 7, 2008 10:28 AM

Foodie trying to get my toddler interested in vegetables...need help!

Okay, so my husband and I were feeling really smug because, for awhile, our toddler ate everything. Now, he appears to be gravitating toward the typical kid diet of chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese and rejecting anything that looks weird. I've read this is part of the I-control-my-life phase common to almost-two-year-olds. But I'm still trying. Anyone been-there-done-that have any great recipes or ideas for how to tempt him away from mac-n-cheese? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. one suggestion is to take him to the farmer's market (which kids always seem to love) and let him pick some veg. this worked with my kids when they were little...they seemed to have a sense of "ownership" for the stuff they picked out, and while they didn't always adore the end result, they'd at least try it. also, if you let him use the salad spinner, or snap the beans, he'll be invested in trying those too.

    1. also, you can "veg up" that mac-n-cheese with roasted cauliflower, or some shredded carrots, or peas, etc. i don't really subscribe to the "trick them into eating vegetables" thing, but this just seems like mac-n-cheese plus.

      1. Be patient and persistent. If your toddler once liked veggies, I think he will again (by the way, good job on getting going on veggies early - I think many people give up, so if your toddler has been eating them this long, you are ahead of the game).

        My three year old has gone through so many food phases. He'll go through a couple of weeks where he is crazy for veggies, and then be disinterested again for a while. His current favorites are veggies lightly sauteed in olive oil and garlic (esp. broccoli, spinach and green beans). He also likes them mixed into chili (e.g. I'll put some spinach in) or in some sort of 'mash' (my husband makes a cauliflower/tomato/onion/tomato concoction that he also eats).

        I've also used my Jedi mind trick of giving my son a choice (e.g. would you like green beans or spinach tonight?). Or, last night, after I'd already made baby spinach, he insisted on peas. I told him he could only have peas if he had spinach also. For some reason, it worked, and he ate a bunch of mouthfuls of both.

        1. There's a wonderful blog called "The Great Big Vegetable Challenge" in which a mother chronicles her efforts to get her child to accept vegetables: http://www.greatbigvegchallenge.blogs...

          She decided that they would work their way through the alphabet vegetable by vegetable, trying each one in a couple of different recipes and then blogging about it together. Her stories are great and it seems they've been wildly successful.

          Her children are older than toddlers, but you'll probably find some great ideas and recipes that should work for a younger set. it's a great, great blog.

          1. Don't stop giving him's such an easy trap to fall into, because we're afraid they won't idea I like comes from pediatrician Dr. Sears, and it is to put different raw veggies and fruits (Cut appropriately so as not to be a choking hazard) into a muffin tin, and leave it available for snacking. If you don't want snacks to be continually available, just make sure they're what the choice is when it IS snack time, and always a choice at meals.

            I don't have a problem with "hiding" veggies in other foods....I add pureed veggies to tomato sauce, I put squash in cookies, I'll try almost anything to increase the nutritional value and get more F and V into my kids...but I don't lie about it. I tell my son after, so he can see that there's no reason to avoid a certain vegetable. That said, a cookie is still a treat, not a health food, just because it has zucchini in it. I think that's important too. Always involve him when you can...the Farmer's market idea is great, having him help prepare. (anyone can tear lettuce), etc.

            Also involve him in the shopping as much as possible...this will get easier as he gets older. At this age, it's more your talking about being strong and healthy, but as he gets a bit older, he can read lables, and know what ingredients are healthy vs. those that aren't.

            Good luck!

            1 Reply
            1. re: pringle347

              When my boys were young, boy how tricky they were.

              Dinnertime became torturous at times. I had a talk with the pediatrician (many, actually), and we devised a plan.

              Cut up fresh carrots,cukes, celery, blanched broccoli, fresh peas, etc. Put them in a container, and "one hour" before dinner put a platefull on the table. No other snacks allowed, just the fresh veggies. If needed add some spices to fresh yoghourt for dipping. The bonus is, they get to eat extra healthy, and dinner is no stress at dinner. It worked for me and I told them the rule, "one hour" before dinner, nothing but fresh vegetables. Good luck.