Sometimes it pays to get creative with foods. Many kids have the automatic aversion to anything green, orange or yellow, unless it is a candy. Many parents report that they have a very hard time getting vegetables in their kids. Fruits are often easier. Toddlers, ages one to three, can be a challenge. They just don’t like trying new things.
Remember, the main rule, is not to force, coax, bribe or nag your child to eat the food. Your job as a parent is to offer the food. Try to remain neutral with your attitude about whether they will or will not eat a certain food and don’t place more value on any one food on the plate. Also offer the foods, even if they have refused before. The tenth time, your child may change his mind and decide to eat the food.
- Fruits are usually easy for toddlers to love. Offer fresh varieties that are in season. If your child’s favorite fruits are not available fresh, then purchase them canned in natural juices or buy frozen fruit. Offer fruits as snack options and as dessert.
- Another favorite is to make homemade popsicles with fruit. Puree fruits including watermelon, strawberries, cherries, bananas, or any combination with a little water, fruit juice, or yogurt. Place the mixture in dixie cups with a popsicle stick or in store-bought popsicle makers and freeze.
- Vegetables can be more of a challenge. Always offer a few bites of vegetables with meals. Try a variety of vegetables; this may mean experimenting yourself with some new foods. At three, we discovered my son loved to eat artichokes and soybeans. He loved scraping the artichoke leaves with his teeth, and he loved squeezing the soybean out of the skin. It was the process of eating these foods that intrigued him. They were not what I would have thought as “kid-favorite foods,” but he loved them.
- Remember to try to stay neutral about eating their vegetables. Raw vegetables are usually not tolerated until around three years of age. Cut parboiled vegetables into fun shapes or use them to make designs on the plate.
For the ultra-picky vegetable eater, here are a few sneaky suggestions.
- Finely grate vegetables and melt them in a cheese sandwich or quesadilla or add them to pasta, rice, soups, ground meats or macaroni and cheese. You can even use baby food vegetables to add to foods.
- Grate vegetables or add baby food to pancake batter, muffin batter, or scrambled eggs.
- Add a slice of tomato, cucumber, broccoli, carrots (or any other vegetable), or vegetable juice to a fruited yogurt smoothie drink, sprinkle peas or corn on yogurt or frozen yogurt and call them “sprinkles.”
- Try vegetable juices, like Green Machine by Naked Juice.