how to introduce more veggies in my 18MO's diet - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-11-2011, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As with DS #1, DS#2 loved veggies pureed like spinach, green beans, squash and especially peas when he was much younger.  Now, we give him some peas or other green vegetable along with his other food, it's a no-go.  He'll try a pea and make a face.  Strangely, though, he happily eats those Gerber "lil' meals" that I'd love to do away with, but he tried it once and gobbles it up, mac & cheese and veggies, pasta stars and veggies, and turkey stew and veggies mixed in like corn, carrots, peas, etc.  All goopy and even though the nutritional content isn't bad, it's high in salt.   I have him eating Happy Bites more, which are organic meals that have "hidden veggies" in them but they taste good because they're fried (salmon sticks, mac & cheese, chicken bites), so the breading is not so great.  Plus I don't always want to hide food - I want him eventually to eat what we eat, and not have "kiddie" foods.  It's hard since he's in daycare all day, but I want to try harder at home and not go on autopilot. 

 

When he eats our food, he loves sweet potatoes and maybe some corn and that's it.  If it's hidden, he'll eat it and won't make a face, but if he sees it coming, no way.  No carrots, no broccoli, no squash, no peas, and nothing at all leafy in front of him!  DS#1 is just coming around to eating salads and a wide range of veggies but he's 4, and it was such a struggle to get here... I want to start earlier with DS #2 and take advantage of the strong appetite DS #1 never had!

 

Any ideas??  I'm envious of moms who say that have kids who naturally love veggies...

 

I'd also like to get him off formula but he's not too keen on cow's milk.  Since he doesn't eat a lot of veggies or legumes, I'm concerned about the lack of calcium and Vit D, so I'm considering trying fortified almond milk with him.  He has no trouble with dairy since he loves yogurt, eggs, and cheese with no reactions. 

 

TIA!

 

-Rachel

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Old 04-11-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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We eat a lot of casseroles. They're convenient to make and you can easily mix veggies in. DD loves veggies (sorry I'm one of those people!), but I think it's partially because she's always been exposed to them. I put more corn than beef on my plate because I love veggies, so that's what's she's grown up around. 

 

Another thing we do is green smoothies. The concept is that you blend together a "flavor" fruit (e.g. strawberries, pineapple, plums, berries), a "thickening" fruit (bananas, mangos, even avocados work for thickening), a green leafy vegetable (baby spinach is a good starter), and water. They're delicious. We've been eating them for breakfast every morning for the last 2 weeks and DD gobbles down hers. Makes me happy to know that we're both getting a ton of nutrients in those. 


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Old 04-11-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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we do the spinach smoothies too!

whenever i make some food that is really hot, i always mix in frozen peas, carrots, broccoli etc to cool it down for DS. he actually picks out the peas and broc to eat first so maybe I'm not the response you are looking for, either!

DS LOVES to dip. i'm not wild about his love affair with ketchup, but I guess as long as he is eating its ok. Try a yummy hummus for dipping, or a low sodium ketchup. or make the foods he likes from those boxed meals, that way you can control the sodium levels or whatever you'd like more control over.

as far as the formula goes, I'm pretty sure that as long as he is eating other dairy you can drop it without switching him to cow's milk.
DS wanted nothing to do with cow's milk until he stopped nursing, and now he is a milk lover. maybe once he is off the formula he will start to like milk more?

also, he may well just grow out of the no veggies stage if you keep offering. until then, you can keep hiding them orngtongue.gif

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Old 04-11-2011, 02:38 PM
 
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We hide veggies and then offer regular veggies, though often with a dipping sauce of some kind (she loves spinich dip or humus).  I tried the smoothies but that was a no go, dd has texture issues with smooshy food.  We did everything "right" in terms of veggies, I'm a green veggie-a-holic and yet dd doesn't eat veggies on their own.  I don't want to always hide veggies which is why I always offer regular veggies along with hidden (hidden so I know she's getting some, and regular so she learns about what veggies look like/taste like on their own).  Oh and dd prefers her veggies raw and likes strange parts of veg like the stalk of the broccoli and the skin of a cucumber, so you might try different ways of preparing it.

 

Eta- my secret weapon when dd wasn't eating was zuccini bread.  I sweetened it with almond butter (to add protein, and get rid of adding sugar), added nuts (again protein), plus an extra large helping of zuccini and used a whole grain flour and added bran (for her constipation).  She LOVED it, and it was great that it had a whole bunch of goodness in it.  I tried to just take what dd would eat and make it healthier.


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Old 04-11-2011, 02:55 PM
 
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DD loves fresh, steamed green beans! We use earth balance no soy on them (dairy allergy) and she gobbles them up.

 

I'd also suggest the smoothie thing. Kale is a wonderful veg to go in a smoothie! Or have you tried Kale chips?

 

I try casseroles but DD actually seems to prefer her veggies more plain...it's almost like she likes to see what she's eating or something lol


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Old 04-11-2011, 07:23 PM
 
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Try some veggies that are not "kid" veggies.  My son hated green beans, peas, carrots all the normal kid favorites.  He did however like asperagus grilled, or raw green peppers and garden tomatos, he likes leaves of greens because he can dip them.  We go through quite a bit of ketchup, hummos and ranch dressing!

I still do hide veggies in things, i can't get it together to make smoothies in the AM, but i do mix some baby food carrots or squash with some apple juice and he drinks it right up.

 


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Old 04-11-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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All of these are great suggestions! We do green smoothies and kale chips too, and they are awesome!

 

My daughter is 2.5, and at that age she didn't eat too many veggies (mainly peas and corn), but over the past few months her tastes have been expanding a lot. Now she loves to snack on veggies (tomatoes are the current favorite).  I just want to give you some hope, maybe he will grow into liking veggies with time.


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Old 04-11-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brennan View Post

We hide veggies and then offer regular veggies, though often with a dipping sauce of some kind (she loves spinich dip or humus).  I tried the smoothies but that was a no go, dd has texture issues with smooshy food.  We did everything "right" in terms of veggies, I'm a green veggie-a-holic and yet dd doesn't eat veggies on their own.  I don't want to always hide veggies which is why I always offer regular veggies along with hidden (hidden so I know she's getting some, and regular so she learns about what veggies look like/taste like on their own).  Oh and dd prefers her veggies raw and likes strange parts of veg like the stalk of the broccoli and the skin of a cucumber, so you might try different ways of preparing it.

 

Eta- my secret weapon when dd wasn't eating was zuccini bread.  I sweetened it with almond butter (to add protein, and get rid of adding sugar), added nuts (again protein), plus an extra large helping of zuccini and used a whole grain flour and added bran (for her constipation).  She LOVED it, and it was great that it had a whole bunch of goodness in it.  I tried to just take what dd would eat and make it healthier.


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Old 04-11-2011, 07:56 PM
 
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We do veggie muffins (carrots, zucchini,  anything goes). And I have also sneaked thinly sliced carrots into his fruit salad. And a third tip is dehydrate veggies - crunchy beetstrips, kalechips etc. A forth suggestion would be veggiespreads for bread or pasta.


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Old 04-11-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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Yep! Green smoothies here too! :) DS loves his with spinach, romaine lettuce, or rosemary. Fruits can go the whole spectrum - pineapple, apple, mango, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. I actually open the fridge & let DS pick his fruits in the morning and "help" me make his smoothies. He really loves this whole ordeal & I know he's getting all his fruits & veggies. Although I will say DS has ALWAYS loved his veggies. We do them raw, cooked, in casseroles, etc. He really likes the "Steamers" veggies - especially the mixed ones and broccoli. He didn't like green beans as a baby, but I kept putting them in front of him (green beans are a serious staple in our house!) and they are now his favorite. 

 

Also agree when my DS was younger he really hated  "mushy" textures. He liked his veggies raw (especially green peppers and celery)! I  don't know how old your LO is but allowing DS to choose veggies in the store based on the colors he liked made him a lot more inclined to eat them.... and now he just eats everything. 


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Old 04-11-2011, 08:05 PM
 
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brennan View Post

We hide veggies and then offer regular veggies, though often with a dipping sauce of some kind (she loves spinich dip or humus).  I tried the smoothies but that was a no go, dd has texture issues with smooshy food.  We did everything "right" in terms of veggies, I'm a green veggie-a-holic and yet dd doesn't eat veggies on their own.  I don't want to always hide veggies which is why I always offer regular veggies along with hidden (hidden so I know she's getting some, and regular so she learns about what veggies look like/taste like on their own).  Oh and dd prefers her veggies raw and likes strange parts of veg like the stalk of the broccoli and the skin of a cucumber, so you might try different ways of preparing it.

 

Eta- my secret weapon when dd wasn't eating was zuccini bread.  I sweetened it with almond butter (to add protein, and get rid of adding sugar), added nuts (again protein), plus an extra large helping of zuccini and used a whole grain flour and added bran (for her constipation).  She LOVED it, and it was great that it had a whole bunch of goodness in it.  I tried to just take what dd would eat and make it healthier.




Recipe, please? eat.gif


I think it was this recipe but with the above changes

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,164,144191-242194,00.html

I did use some honey but mostly almond butter, and then I just did a whole grain flour for 1/2 of the flour and then bran for like 1/4 cup?  and then the rest all purpose.  I lost my hard drive that had it on it, but it was really just a big experiment.  


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Old 04-12-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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I have the same problem with my 14 month old DD. What I do is yam chips, mini muffins with vegetables, chickpeas, lentils in them or nuggets with those added.... She is not a big juice drinker but I'll try the smoothie and see!! Good luck to you also smile.gif

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Old 04-12-2011, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all for the ideas!!  I made a casserole last night that was a huge hit with the family!  I'm trying to eat gluten-free because of early diagnosis of possible Celiac's so I made a grass-fed beef/shredded cheese/onion/spinach casserole and my baby ate some of it with a fork!  He was mainly focused on the beef but he did get a little spinach down. :)  He saw the spinach but didn't react to it vs. a single green bean sitting on his tray. Of course it helped that there were tater tots in there with the spinach.  :)

 

I'm going to try the smoothies next.  DS #1 who used to be a far more picky eater and never ate that much loved the avocado smoothies that Grandma gave him at her house.  We were shocked!  DS#1 only wanted to eat oatmeal or toast every day and at Grandma's he was eating salmon, beef stew, starfruit and avocados.  Go figure!  That's why I don't want DS#2 to get into the same rut and eat the same things all the time.  The earlier his palate is exposed to different flavors, the more open he'll be when he's 4 to eating a balanced meal. 

 

He had a little vanilla coconut milk and said "All done" so he didn't like that but I put a little in his formula today for daycare as part of transitioning.  We'll see how it goes as I put more and more milk in there. 

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Old 04-12-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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I'm another one of those people whose child eats vegetables (he's only 21 months, picky could still happen I suppose) but something I've noticed is that it's a texture thing. He is the opposite of another poster and doesn't like crunchy that much. If he's going to eat them on his own and control the bite size he likes them cooked to a softness point that my Asian spouse thinks is pretty blech. He likes asparagus, green beans, kale, broccoli, carrots, turnips, bok choy, cabbage, peas etc. etc that are cooked to the soft stage (not totally mushy but no crispness). I say he just prefers his vegetables Italian style (most cooked veg are cooked longer then here in the US). He also likes them well lubricated with olive oil or butter or grapeseed oil (what we use for stirfries) or sesame oil and nicely seasoned with salt and pepper or soy or fish sauce and whatever garlic or onion we've added. He enjoys being part of the discussion about what is for dinner and then grinding the pepper on his food himself. You might try fooling around with different textures and get him involved in choosing or preparing the vegetable? Your Gerber comment makes me think maybe he enjoys his vegetables pretty well done too.

 

If we have a stir fry then I just cut up the crunchy vegetable pretty fine and put it in one corner of his bowl along with his rice and other stuff. Sometimes he eats it, sometimes he doesn't. He never eats salad, but enjoys licking the oil/vinegar off the leaves, maybe chewing a leaf or two and spitting it out saying "too tough!".  I don't really stress about him eating a ton of vegetables. He eats so much fruit that I feel like he'll come around to veggies when he's ready, since we eat so much at every meal. In the beginning he just loved to chew on the tops of broccoli and spit it out, and I just figured it was good practice for learning how to eat it. Now he eats that tops off them and gives me the stems. Not to get graphic or anything, but from what I've seen on the other end, his digestive system isn't exactly processing the vegetables to the point that he is getting the nutrients out of them, so all we're talking about is fiber at this point.

 

It's funny how much they love Grandparent's cooking, isn't it? Our guy eats more at his Grandpas then at home and he eats a lot at home. I think they are novelty seeking in food not just toys!

 

Good luck.

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Old 04-13-2011, 05:25 AM
 
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Do you send his food to daycare?  I find that with my DS, he'll eat whatever I give him at daycare and at home he's more picky.  If he likes his veggies soft, you can throw a bunch in a crockpot and cook it with chicken or beef. 

Soups are a huge hit with DS since they have lots of flavor and veggies.  I make lentil soup with onions, tomato, carrots and celery and he eats it up.  Same goes for black bean soup, which I then mix with some brown rice to make it more of a meal.  I also like that I can make a huge batch and freeze it into 5-6 containers.  The veggies come out soft so he might like it.  Good luck!


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