How I got my toddler to eat more vegetables

How I got my toddler to eat more vegetables

The biggest parenting challenge I have faced so far is getting Leo to eat healthily. Yes, the sleepless nights, breastfeeding and temper tantrums have all been difficult in their own way but  nothing worries me and frustrates me more than Leo’s fussy eating.

Making sure your children get their 5-a-day is something we are constantly being told to do, be it by television advertisements, articles in the media or health professionals. There is so much pressure to make sure our little ones are getting all the nutrients they need and they are eating foods full of those all important vitamins. When your child turns their nose up at an apple and instead happily munches on biscuits, it can be hard to not feel like you have failed in some way.

I have learnt now not to beat myself up about Leo’s fussy eating, I offer him healthy foods every day, sometimes it ends up in his tummy, more often though it ends up on the floor. He went through a really long, infuriating phase of only eating beige food: toast, pasta, chips were all happily scoffed down, while his broccoli was left lonely and neglected on the side of his plate. I tried all the little tricks people suggested, I covered his veg in cheese, chopped it up really small, arranged it into little green sculptures on his plate, everything. Nothing worked.

In more recent months though, Leo’s vegetable intake has slowly increased. It is still nowhere near as much as I would like but we are definitely making progress. Slowly but surely more vegetables are going in to his mouth and not left to rot away in the bin. It has taken a lot of improvisation and patience but, at last, my fussy little eater is starting to eat, and enjoy, more vegetables.

For anyone else struggling with a veggiephobe, here is how I got my boy to start eating the healthy stuff. I can’t guarantee these will work for your little one but it is worth a try.

How I got my toddler to eat more vegetables

Soup.
I love making home made soups. They are easy to prepare and you can load them up with as much or as little veg as you want. I always give Leo soldiers of toast with his and pop them straight in the bowl with the soup. Even if he avoids eating the soup with his spoon, he always eats the toast which is drenched in all that veggie goodness. Whenever I feel Leo hasn’t eaten very healthy in a few days, I always make soup for lunch and it puts my mind at ease.
Raw veg sticks.
There are some vegetables Leo won’t even consider eating if they are cooked but slice them up and give them to him raw and it is a whole different story. Carrots are Leo’s favourite vegetable but he will only eat them raw. Cucumber also goes down well as do sticks of red pepper and cherry tomatoes. I wish I had thought to offer him raw vegetables sooner instead of spending months stressing over wasted steamed carrots.
Sauces.
People have mixed opinions on sneaking vegetables into your child’s food but I would rather do it this way than have him not eat any at all. If Leo is going through a particularly fussy phase, Oli and I will blend up the vegetables in to a sauce. This works really well with pasta dishes, cook up some onions, peppers, mushrooms, or whatever you fancy and blend it all together with some tinned tomatoes and herbs. It doesn’t take long to do and once it is stirred in with the pasta, your little one will never know they are eating lots of healthy veggies.
Quit with the pressure.
This applies to yourself and your child. If you are spending mealtime after mealtime battling with your child to eat their peas and carrots, you are both going to end up frustrated and upset. Yes, I do think encouraging them to try their veg is important but if they don’t want to just try not to make a fuss. I am speaking from experience, mealtimes used to be so hard and I would get really stressed when Leo wouldn’t even try his vegetables. We would try the whole ‘here comes the aeroplane thing’, Leo would clamp his mouth shut and I would get frustrated. I have since stopped putting pressure on myself and on him and come to the conclusion he is only going to eat it if he wants to. As it turns out, the less attention I draw to the veggies sat on his plate, the more likely he is to eat them.

So there you have it, how I got my two year old to eat more vegetables. I can’t say any of these are 100% fool proof, toddlers are flighty creatures, what works one day may not work the next but anything is worth a try when you have a fussy eater, isn’t it? I hope this post is helpful. I now have the toddler equivalent of bugs bunny, that boy is always chomping away on a carrot!

toddler eat more vegetables
Picnics are also a great idea, by the way!
Do you have a fussy eater too? How do you get your children to eat their vegetables? Let me know, I am always looking for tips and I am sure there are lots of other parents out there too who would love a stress free meal!

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22 Comments

  1. February 22, 2016 / 9:04 am

    Thanks for the ideas. I need all the help I can get!!! Wish my littlies would eat raw veg sticks. Well done. #fartglitter

  2. February 22, 2016 / 10:49 am

    We're also having big problems with this one. I agree with not putting pressure on. Our tot doesn't like soups or sauces unfortunately otherwise I'd be happily getting busy with my blender. We're stuck with giving him the favourites and offering the rest in hope he'll come round one day.

    #fartglitter

  3. February 22, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    Great advice thank you! Veggies are a constant battle with my eldest. Love the idea of soup and dunked soldiers.

    Dawn x
    #fartglitter

  4. February 22, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    Aww that's a shame, veg sticks save me a lot of worry. It's so hard getting kids to eat veg isn't it?I hope you have a break through soon xx

  5. February 22, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    Aww no, I'd be lost if he didn't eat soups or sauces. I think the key is to persevere and try not to get frustrated if they don't eat it. Hope your little man starts eating more for you soon xx

  6. February 22, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    Aww, it's so hard isn't it? Yes soup and soldiers really works, especially if your child is a toast addict like mine xx

  7. Mrs Mum NZ
    February 22, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    I totally agree. The pressures are huge. My toddler doesn't eat as many veggies as I'd like but we're trying. I think all parents face the same dilemma at some point. #fartglitter

  8. February 23, 2016 / 9:33 am

    Such great advice – some of my nephews and nieces are really fussy eaters and their parents really struggle, but I think the added pressure they pile on makes the issue even more of a problem. I'll definitely be following your instructions though with my own kid (as a fussy eater myself as a kid, I'm sure I'll come up against the same challenges)! #TwinklyTuesday

  9. February 23, 2016 / 9:40 am

    I think it is an ongoing battle, all I can say is that at around 15 they begin to like them properly! #TwinklyTuesday

  10. February 23, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    My little boy has always been incredibly fussy too and like you we have to find ways of getting veg in. So up is definitely genius and I have a fab recipe for veggie burgers which get loads in. We also hide veg in other sauces. He is getting better as gets older thankfully but I think he may always be a bit of a veg dodger! Xx #twinklytuesday

  11. February 23, 2016 / 11:15 pm

    I have a 15 month old who's not the least bit interested in vegetables. I make sure he gets some at every lunch and dinner time but they go completely ignored. It is worrying but I'm trying not to make a big deal out of it, I'm sure he'll get curious in his own time. I like your tips, especially the soup and soldiers. We're going to be getting into autumn soon and I think it would be great for both him and me to introduce some veg-rich soups to our midday meal – thanks!

  12. February 24, 2016 / 7:54 am

    Super handy post! My baby isn't on solids yet but I have no doubt these tips will come in very handy when he is! Thanks for sharing x #BloggerClubUK

  13. February 24, 2016 / 4:33 pm

    making your won sauce is a great idea – I need to do this more often! #bloggerclubuk

  14. February 26, 2016 / 6:51 am

    There is soo much pressure isn't there? I think most toddlers don't like veg, if only they made a bar that looked and tasted like chocolate but was really vegetables, that would be a dream come true!xx

  15. February 26, 2016 / 6:52 am

    Thanks, I think most of us were probably fussy eaters at some point. As long as your little one like milk you don't need to worry about any of this for a while yet 🙂 x

  16. February 26, 2016 / 6:53 am

    15?! Oh, I have got a long way to go before Leo will start enjoying his veggies then..xx

  17. February 26, 2016 / 6:54 am

    Can you please send me your veggie burger recipe?! I have never though to make those and Leo loves burgers. It is such a pain having to hide the veg isn't it? Sometimes it is really the only way to get them to eat it though…xx

  18. February 26, 2016 / 6:56 am

    Soup has been a life saver in this house, it is the definitely the best way of getting Leo to eat his veg. At 15months old I don't think Leo was eating any veg so I wouldn't worry, I think it takes a while for them to get used to new tastes and foods. I hope you are not too stressed out, you will eat it one day!xx

  19. February 26, 2016 / 6:58 am

    I miss the days where I didn't have to worry about solids and it was all about the milk, make the most of it haha. I hope this post comes in useful when you start weaning xx

  20. February 26, 2016 / 6:58 am

    Yes, home made sauces are a great way of sneaking in some extra veg xx

  21. February 29, 2016 / 10:49 am

    I have a very fussy eater on my hands who just turned 3. She can be so difficult. One day she'd eat loads of something then the next day refuse it! I think not worrying is key – they all come around & eat well in time. Thanks so much for sharing with blogger club uk xx

  22. March 3, 2016 / 3:44 pm

    Thanks for hosting! Glad to hear I'm not the only one with a fussy eater. I agree they all get over it eventually, there aren't many adults I know who throw a tantrum over a bit of broccoli xx

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