Toddlers and kids can be picky eaters, especially when it comes to vegetables. Â If you are struggling withÂ how to get your toddler to eat more vegetablesÂ read on for 12 clever ways to get your kids to eat more veggies – sneakily or with their help! Â
Help?! How Do I Get My Toddler To Eat Vegetables?
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What happened to my avocado loving baby who now takes one look at that green nutrition powerhouse and then flings it to the floor.
(yes, technically avocados are a berry, but we treat them like a veggie).
My two-year toddler has become the dreaded picky eater and figuring out how to get my toddler to eat vegetables is now a little life mission for me.
If you’re like me and your toddler won’t eat vegetables, no need for immediate concern.
Kids menus in restaurants are full of spaghetti, mac and cheese and chicken nuggets for a reason, kids find them delicious. So, it’s totally normal for them not to be begging for broccoli at snack time.
Where us parents fit in is introducing them to veggies and fruits. Getting them to try them, and try them, and try them again.
Should we sneak Veggies into our kids food?
Do we want to trick our kids into eating veggies?
Adding nutrition into their meals without them being the wiser is a responsible thing to do.
Of course, our goal is to have them learn to love veggies. At a minimum tolerate them.
But toddlers are toddlers and you know what? Given the choice between a plate full of broccoli or a plate of mac and cheese, I would choose the latter too.
Another way to think about it before the mom guilt kicks in, is we ‘trick’ them with Elf on the Shelf, bunnies who bring them chocolate, and fairies that give them money for their teeth, is sneaking some carrots into their pasta sauce any worse?
Not in my books.
Read on for tips on how to get your toddler to eat vegetables – sneakily and not.
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12 Clever to Get Your Toddler to Eat More Veggies
1. Smoothies For When Your Toddler Won’t Eat Vegetables
Smoothies have gained popularity in the last few years and it’s easier now than ever to make them at home with products like the Magic Bullet blender that is compact and makes single serve versions (and costs about the same as 3 smoothies bought out at a fancy smoothie bar).
My favorite Hidden Veggie Smoothie is one I make for myself for breakfast all the time and now my daughter loves too.
Green Monster Hidden Veggie Smoothie Shake:
1 banana (frozen or fresh, if frozen no need to add ice)
1 handful of spinach or kale (or do both!)
1 tbsp peanut butter (or nut butter alternative)
½ cup 0% Greek Yogurt
3-5 ice cubes
Milk (or alternative ie. Almond milk) add about ½ cup to start, blend and see if you need more.
Bonus: You can also add oats or chia seeds for more nutrition.
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2. Soup – Start with the Basics
The easiest to start with is chicken noodle soup. You can buy store bought (watch the sodium) or better yet make your own.
Pastabilities is a really great brand that has a whole line up of different shaped pasta noodles.
Add pees and carrots to your homemade fun soup to get in those veggies!
Move on to trying other soups. Straight up tomato with a side of grilled cheese for dipping, creamy broccoli and cheese, etc.
If you need to sprinkle the top of the soup with goldfish crackers and have them “swim” to get your toddler to try the soup go for it!
3. Have Your Toddler Help Make The Vegetables
Pick up one of these adorable toddler-friendly cookbooks and find a recipe that has some vegetables. If they get to pick the recipe and help prepare the food they are more likely to eat it.
As Heather Wish Staller, the cooking genius behind Little Helpers Toddler Cookbook, explains “Cooking is not a magic solution” but if you “enjoy the process together, your toddler will learn to love not only washing and chopping those veggies, but eventually eating them, too!
Check out these toddler focused cook books:
Other kid friendly cooking tools:
Kitchen Helper Stool In order to reach the counter to help with the cooking, consider getting a kitchen helper stool to keep your toddler safe while allowing them to reach the counter.
A customized apron with a cookbook would be a great combination to get your toddler excited about cooking, and ultimately eating vegetables.
4. Add Pureed Vegetables Into Their Favorite Dinners
This takes me back to my baby food making days.
If you puree and freeze some veggies into ice cube trays you can quickly throw in some extra veggies into things like mac and cheese (try cauliflower or squash puree as they won’t change the color of the cheese) or carrot and broccoli purees in it tomato sauce.
TIP: How to store your pureed vegetables using ice cube trays:
All you need is a regular sized ice cube tray and some freezer bags.
Use your blender or the previously recommended Magic Bullet blender and puree cooked vegetables.
Transfer the puree into the ice cube trays (each cube will be about 1 oz) and then freeze them.
Once frozen, transfer to a ziploc bag and store up to 3 months.
5. Freeze Veggies In Popsicles
A fun way to enjoy veggies is in a popsicle, especially in warmer months. Above is our toddler friend, Claire enjoying her bear shaped mango, spinach, broccoli popsicle.
Two ways you can do this
- Bananas, Beets and Blueberries
- Broccoli, Pears and Pees
- Spinach, Mango, Pears
- Apricots, Sweet Potato, Mango
6. Give Them Veggies When They Are Really Hungry
My daughter is most hungry when I pick her up from daycare before dinner.
So I try to offer veggies and dips at this time.
It doesn’t always work (she’d prefer a yogurt) but your child may be most willing to try a new veggie if they are hungry and there isn’t anything else.
If they have a favorite dips, for example my nieces are obsessed with hummus, put thinly sliced cucumber and carrot sticks out with hummus.
You can also try to add peanut butter or cream cheese to celery.
7. Add Veggies To Snacks
What toddler can resist a muffin?
Shred in zucchini and carrots and don’t add too much sugar.
These packaged snacks add veggie extracts to their cookies and rice krispie-style snacks to provide a full serving of vegetables.
And don’t forget about the above mentioned smoothies they can be eaten as snacks too.
8. Serve Vegetables in Different Ways
My daughter has no interest in corn kernels served on a plate, but give her a whole corn cob and off she goes eating happily. (Same with apples and bananas too – must be served whole!).
Your toddler may be the opposite, the trick here is keeping patience and serving veggies in different ways.
Try raw, steamed, steamed with cheese, grilled, etc until you find a method and style they like.
9. Head to a Food Festival or Fair
Summer months have lots of food related events “â€œ pack up your kids and head out to the food area and grab some different types of food – tacos, corn on the cob, different types of french fries, etc.
They might not be the healthiest, but food festivals have a ton of variety and you can buy from different vendors.
Even if you only get a bite here or there (I’m sure you won’t mind finishing that taco!) they will be exposed to lots of new flavors and being outside might encourage them to think outside the box too.
Bonus Ideas: How to Get A Toddler to Eat More Vegetables
10. Add Veggies to Pancakes
Squash in your pancakes? Yup! This Old Gal has a great recipe
11. Add Veggies into your Desserts
What toddler doesn’t love a dessert? Here are two clever ways to get your toddler to eat vegetables:
- Gummie Bears
Umhm – one for me, one for my daughter
A Magical Mess will show you how to make these little gummies here.
Herchel over at Gym Craft Laundry has some fried rice lovers at her house and puts them in this recipe
Conclusion – How to get my Toddler to Eat Vegetables
Toddlers can be picky eaters, especially when it comes to vegetables. Get them trying veggies openly by helping you cook them or hide them into foods they love already.
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