22 Dec 5 Ways To Get Your Toddler To Eat Their Vegetables
Getting toddlers to eat what they don’t want to can be a nightmare. Vegetables are the classic trouble food – many toddlers would rather throw a hissy fit than choke down a serving of spinach. Picky eaters, especially, can turn meal times into battle zones.
Needless to say, eating vegetables is important, so you need a plan on how to get your picky toddler to give their greens a chance. Here are five time-tested tips that will help you get through this difficult stage.
As adults, we know that the rewards for eating vegetables is better health. That’s not going to cut it for toddlers, though, so real, tangible rewards are a way to get your kid to grimace through the vegetable portion of the meal. Place a dessert on the table next to the vegetables – so your toddler can see it, but can’t eat it – and let them know they can dig in as soon as they finish their plate in front of them. Alternatively, serve your food in courses, going from your child’s least favourite to their most favourite, and have them have to eat a certain amount of bites before moving on.
Hide and Seek
Truthfully, many toddlers are fine with the taste of vegetables, as long as they don’t realize they’re eating vegetables. While it’s not a long-term solution – you do eventually want them to eat their greens of their own accord! – sneakily disguising veggies is a way to get the nutritional value mixed in. Use vegetable purees, blended into things like spaghetti sauce or smoothies. Meatloaf, muffins, eggs – you’d be surprised what you can hide vegetables in.
Involve them in the Process
Toddlers may be more interested in eating their vegetables if they feel their involved with the process of getting them to the plate in the first place. That might be letting them come with you to a fresh store, and letting them help pick the veggies to buy – or, if your climate and space allows, actually growing your own vegetables and letting them help water and pick things can be a fun activity – and maybe they’ll demand to have those green beans they helped grow!
Food Time = Play Time
Arrange vegetables into fun shapes and pictures on the plate, to make them seem more fun and appetizing. Better yet, let your kids actually help do that – a face made from pieces of carrot and cauliflower can be a fun activity for your toddler to do, and then eat. If you’re OK with encouraging a little more mess, you can take a cue from Close Encounters of the Third Kind – sculpting a mashed potato snowman is a classic option.
Don’t Give Up!
Toddlers are fickle folk – some days will be easier than others. The important thing is to keep trying, and keep providing the vegetables for them to have the chance to eat them. The only guaranteed way to keep your child from eating their vegetables is if your stop giving them vegetables to eat!