Young girl eyeing her vegetables

Toddler Won’t Eat Veggies? Here’s 8 Tips & Tricks

We all know that toddlers are some of the most vocal picky eaters on the planet. In the blink of an eye, a favorite food may quickly become the most horrible thing a child has ever seen. And, anything that looks slightly unfamiliar can cause alarm. Vegetables are often the source of these feelings of distaste.

When it seems like something green or nutritious hasn’t passed our child’s lips for weeks, it’s tempting to sneak vegetables into his food. Parents have differing opinions on this. On one hand, we want our children to be healthy, and sneaking vegetables into meals is an efficient way to make sure your child is getting everything he needs nutritionally. However, many parents don’t necessarily enjoy the idea of “tricking” children into eating something, and may opt to explore ways that make veggies more palatable without hiding them. No matter which side of the issue you agree with, we all just want our children to eat well and realize that vegetables can taste good too. But how do we get there?

Patience, perseverance and consistency are key when it comes to feeding young children. However, it takes time. Children’s taste buds will eventually come back around with positive messaging and by consistently offering a variety of foods. Children often become more willing to try different foods around the time they start elementary school.

So while you are waiting to see that small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, I do feel that it is perfectly acceptable to give foods a “nutrition boost” by adding vegetables in a variety of ways to your meals.

Zucchini Bean Cheese BurritosHere are some of my favorite nutrient-boosting tips and recipes for picky eaters:

Garden Lentil BologneseHere are some other strategies to make vegetables more accessible and appealing:

  • Offer veggies with dips or sauces such as ranch dressing, hummus or other condiments.
  • Put out a veggie plate as a before-dinner snack.
  • Use a crinkle cut knife to cut veggies into fun shapes and then roast them in the oven to bring out their natural sweetness.
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About the Author

Ann Dunaway Teh is a registered and licensed dietitian. She is the founder and president of Dunaway Dietetics Inc., a nutrition consulting business, and has more than 15 years of experience managing and consulting with school programs, athletes, individuals, restaurants and hospitals. Ann is the mother of two precocious children who keep her on her toes and inspire her to create kid-friendly recipes on My Menu Pal, a healthy meal planning resource designed to help families eat better together.