Get Your Baby into More Veggies Banner Image

The nutritional benefits of vegetables are well known. They pack vitamins, minerals, fibre and other good stuff. But getting your baby to eat them can sometimes be a challenge. It can be frustrating and stressful when your little one pushes the spoon away and refuses to open their mouth.

1-4. The updated Canada’s food guide recommends eating more servings of vegetables than fruits.  Health Canada also acknowledges picky eaters are a challenge for parents, so it released new tips for dealing with them. You can help overcome picky eating by:

  • making routines
  • offering foods more than once
  • planning your meals and snacks
  • involving your kids in meal preparation

5. Another idea from this article by BabyCenter is to introduce a new food without making a big deal about it. Casually add the item to their plate and act nonchalant—don’t make a big deal about it.

6. Introduce your child early to a variety of foods, textures, flavours and, yes, temperatures, to help them increase their veggie intake.

7. This classic mac-and-cheese recipe from My Fussy Eater gets a healthy twist with butternut squash.

Butternut Squash Mac and CheeseBUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE

The nutty flavour of the butternut squash blends with the cheese and voilà—mac and cheese is usually a safe bet for even the fussiest eater.

8. Sometimes you must be secretly creative for your child’s benefit. Purée vegetables and stash them in pasta sauce, hide them in ground beef and bury them in pancakes. Zucchini’s mild flavour makes it an easier veggie to hide in dishes. Some kids won’t realize it’s there.

Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food ProcessorHamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor

This food processor by Hamilton Beach is engineered to chop and purée. The Big Mouth inlet chute can help save you time because it reduces the need for pre-chopping. It’s dishwasher safe 10-cup bowl, lid and blades are designed for easier set-up and clean-up.

9. Unsweetened apple sauce is another healthy way to help get veggies down the hatch. Mix a bit of the smooth stuff in with mashed vegetables for a naturally sweeter taste.

Great Value Unsweetened Apple SauceGreat Value Unsweetened Apple Sauce

This Great Value apple sauce, exclusive to Walmart, is light on the budget as well as the sugar. It’s a good source of Vitamin C and is made from Canada fancy, Canadian apples. Bonus? Your fussy eater may get a full serving of fruit, along with their veggies, if this tactic works.

You might also like: Easy Healthy Meals

10. I’m a little embarrassed to tell you that I had never heard of gazpacho, or cold soup until I was an adult. Cold soup on a hot summer day may help the veggies go down.

GazpachoKid-friendly Gazpacho

Here’s a Kid-friendly Gazpacho recipe from Mummy Cooks. It’s a canned tomato-based, no-cook soup that uses fresh veggies and garlic, tossed in a blender or food processor and then chilled. It’s smooth and mild so it may be pleasing for a child’s palate. Adults might want to add some hot chili sauce or ground pepper to their bowl.

11. It’s worth trying a “we only have a few peas left” technique. According to a recent study conducted by Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, limited availability of a food item affects a child’s food consumption—in other words, it matters how much is available. Researchers found that if mama says she has a limited quantity of a food item, they are more likely to eat it up.

12. A hand blender doesn’t take up much room and can be super convenient to use for making soups and smoothies.

Sencor SHB-3325VT Hand Blender VioletSencor SHB 3325 VT Hand Blender – Violet

This violet 400W model from Sencor is designed to help reduce the risk of splattering. This slim hand blender features two speeds and lets you control when to kick it into turbo mode. The power cord is almost 4-ft long, and it comes with a 500 ml beaker with lid.

13. If you haven’t yet discovered the wonders of baby food pouches, they come in a variety of tasty combinations of veggies, fruits and other foods—delivered with a squeeze. Your child can eat a serving with baby utensils and a bowl or suck the purée right out of the pouch! Either way, the pouches help promote independence and self-feeding as a child ingests the nutrients they need to help them grow.

Parent's Choice Organic Vegetables with Turkey Baby Food PuréeParent’s Choice Organic Vegetables with Turkey Baby Food Purée

This baby food purée boasts no added sugar or salt, no artificial flavours or colours, and no fillers. Parent’s Choice organic purées combine a variety of flavours to help entice your child to eat their veggies.

14. Many parents read the yucky face their child makes while eating as a signal to stop feeding them something new. However, in an article by Parents on baby nutrition, Dr. Julie A. Mennella (a researcher at Monell Center) says babies will often continue to eat the new food that inspired them to look disgusted provided moms and dads simply smile, say “Yummy!” and try again.

15. Cauliflower might inspire a “yuck” when it’s raw, but I’ve made cauliflower pizza crust, and no one of any age was the wiser!

Parmesan Cauliflower Tater TotsParmesan Cauliflower Tater Tots

This Tater Tots recipe from Eating Well makes cauliflower a stand-in for potato and helps deliver grabbable, dippable tots without the tater.

16. If the mere thought of vegetables is an issue for your child, don’t call them vegetables. Refer to them by their colour. Carrots become orange food, instead. Have you ever eaten orange food? That sounds like more fun!

17. Superman eats his greens! Why not make mealtime an event fit for a superhero?

Bumkins DC Comics Costume Sleeved BibBumkins – DC Comics Costumed Sleeved Bib

This Superman sleeved bib by Zoocchini is made to look like the Superman suit. It is designed to fit babies from 6-24 months by adjusting the sleeve length. It features a back-tie closure for a more secure and custom fit.

18. If veggies simply aren’t going down at mealtimes, try bringing them out at snack time.

GERBER Fruit & Veggie Melts TropicalGerber Fruit & Veggie Melts – Tropical

One 7 g serving of Gerber’s Fruit & Veggie Melts delivers a toddler serving of fruit and veggies with no added sugar. These freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snacks are available in Tropical and Very Berry. Comes in a resealable pouch.

19. Your little one wants to be like you and eat what you eat. If you enjoy vegetables—and it shows—they are more likely to start eating their veggies with less resistance.

20. As kids grow, they generally have a natural tendency towards wanting to help. Find simple ways to get them involved in preparing meals. An article by Kids Health suggests that you involve kids in the process as a means of improving your child’s nutrition and eating habits.

Even if you attempt everything and you still can’t get your little one to allow the vegetable plane into the hangar, they should eventually start to eat their veggies. Canada’s paediatricians at CPS’s Caring for Kids note that if your child is regularly eating, regardless of what they’re eating, you’re doing your job! If you’re concerned, talk to your family doctor. Chances are they’ll reassure you that a child’s palate changes over time and that this is most likely a phase. Try not to stress—you’ve got this!