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, but we’ve got ways around that.
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
6. Introduce your child early to a variety of foods, textures, flavours and, yes, temperatures, to help them increase their veggie intake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
18. If veggies simply aren’t going down at mealtimes, try bringing them out at snack time.
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.
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 baby is moving into the toddler stage and is still refusing to eat veggies, check out Mommy On Purpose for ways to help End the Toddler Veggie Battle.
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!