2 year old won't eat vegetables - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 04-11-2012, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 2 year old does not eat any vegetables besides sweet potatoes and sometimes cooked carrots.  When she was first eating solids she ate anything you gave her.  Around age 1 she started refusing most any vegetable.  She liked corn and peas for a time until she was 18 months or so.  Now she just refuses.  Her dad and I eat plenty in front of her, and I've been offering them to her from the start.  It's not helping.

 

She has no interest in helping me pick out or prepare food.  I've tried letting her have various dips, but she just licks that off and keeps dipping, never actually eating the food.

 

I don't make a big deal out of it but I really would like her to eat at least a few things.  I WOH and am pregnant with my second, and don't have the time or desire to do complicated things like hiding purees or chopping.  I hate cooking and cleanup, and I'd really prefer she try veggies in their whole state anyway.

 

Is this just toddler stubbornness or what?  Should I be worried about it, or just keep trying and trust she'll start trying more as she gets older, or what?


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#2 of 18 Old 04-11-2012, 10:09 AM
 
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The only way to get her to eat vegetables is to serve them. Again and again. It really, really helps to make them tasty and interesting.

 

I think vegetables are pretty important and so we make a real point of making sure the kids (2.5, 4.5) eat them. They get them at least two meals a day and I expect them to be eaten, or at least some part of them.

 

Some things that have worked for us:

 

veggies are usually served first while the rest of the meal is being "finished," I want them at their hugriest. When they were little, we ate them 1/2 hour before dinner usually reading stories or playing.

I will happily give a young child bites of a veg assuming they will swallow them.

Vegetables are good quality, tasty, organic ones from the farmer's market. Their is massive difference in flavor.

Vegetables are *prepared* not just dumped from a frozen bag into the microwave. Neither of my kids would touch something like, I know because my MIL always tried.

I am perfectly okay with some salt and healthy fat if it makes the veggies go down

 

Some of their favorites:

 

carrot sticks, carrots blanched in well salted water, carrots sauteed with pretty soft with honey and salted butter

 

aspargus with soy sauce or soy sauce and butter or ponzy sauce or grilled (perfect use of micro actually, cut into 1/4 inch, add some water,

cook 70 seconds) or asparagus gomae

 

potatoes au gratin made with 1/2 cauliflower, or cauliflower roasted whole with a bit of butter for browning

 

spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil; pasta with tomato sauce, sausage, spinach, or pasta with tuna and spinach or kale

 

grilled vegetables of all kinds sometimes served plain and sometimes with a little ponzu

 

Most kids love sweet potatoes but my kids won't touch them, in any form.

 

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#3 of 18 Old 04-11-2012, 10:31 AM
 
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This is just my opinion but just throwing it into the mix.

 

I think vegetables are fabulous and I think it's important to have them on the table every day, but I don't think it's imperative to get small children to eat them.

 

I suspect that there may be a natural avoidance for some reason.

 

I also think that if they continue to be a staple on the table but aren't the subject of a battle, most kids will eventually find one or two they like. Or maybe even more.

 

My kid is super picky but we've avoided food battles with her. One day, for whatever reason (Mars aligning with Jupiter, who knows), she wanted to try the salad. Now she'll eat salad. Go figure. For a while she liked carrots, then she stopped. Now I suspect she might give them a try again soon. Well, at least she did eat some last week - not tons, but a couple of sticks. If I put them in front of her again this week, she'll probably have a couple more.

 

My only other thought is that some people like veggies raw; others al dente, others cooked to mush in a pool of butter, etc. My mom always cooked them, but looking back, I think she would have had a lot more success with me by serving stuff raw (plain, with veggie dip, sour cream, hummus, peanut butter, whatever). Other kids hate raw veggies but tolerate them fine cooked. Whatever your usual method is, consider mixing it up?

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#4 of 18 Old 04-11-2012, 11:28 AM
 
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Vegetables are *prepared* not just dumped from a frozen bag 

 

 

we LOVE them dumped from a bag! jumpers.gif

 

they are great in the car- just frozen they defrost so quick and we eat them plain!

 

 

 

we also eat veggie soup with ABC at least once a week (homemade)


 

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#5 of 18 Old 04-11-2012, 11:53 AM
 
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A few more ideas for veggies that are not hiding, but that she might be more receptive to: kale chips, pureed veggie soup (I just throw whatever leftover veggies we have in the pot with chicken or veggie stock, but I always include plenty of carrots and some onion and garlic ... simmer til tender, puree, serve), edamame or fresh peas (so fun to open the pods and pick them out!), freeze dried corn and peas (have a different texture than fresh veggies, good for a snack).

 

Along with that, I agree with pps -- keep serving them every day, mixing up presentation, but don't make a battle of it. Keep up with eating lots of veggies yourself. Don't worry. :)

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#6 of 18 Old 04-11-2012, 01:14 PM
 
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I have a little guy who preferred veggies over fruit as a baby, and now will rarely eat a vegetable.  I try to take a long-term approach to the problem.  Not eating vegetables for 6-12 months is unlikely to have long term health implications (assuming the rest of the diet is reasonably balanced).  Having a lifelong, healthy relationship with food is the most important thing to me.  So we eat vegetables in front of him, we keep offering them without a big deal, and I keep telling myself that someday he'll find a few he likes and eat them - and more importantly, he'll grow up with the idea that a "normal" meal includes vegetables.

 

 

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#7 of 18 Old 04-11-2012, 03:36 PM
 
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DD (2), is pretty much the same and driving me nuts. Somedays it's worse and she only wants starches, rice and pasta. I figure if she is getting enough fruit, that should balance out most of the vitamins/fiber veggies would provide?? She goes 180 on me all the time though, today was mega protein/fat day with egg, chicken, fish, black beans...shrug.gif

I'm hoping it all balances out.

After I found out how harmful it can be to push the issue, I am just trying to relax about it. 

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#8 of 18 Old 04-11-2012, 10:53 PM
 
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there is a really good pre made smoothie called green machine- it is a lot of fruit but also has green veggies and spirulina and other green yummy things blended in. You can try giving you toddler this some times or even sneaking veggies into home made smoothies. I give ds the pre made one and will try soon to get them into home made smoothies.

I also give him cooked broccoli or cooked peas with butter or plain or with pesto. SOemtimes he will eat them and sometimes not. Ds happens to like ketchup right now (w- french fries or hamburger) and my mom suggested dipping the brocolli in ketchup! have not tried that yet.

 

also my 2 yr old loves fruit. So if you can't get your toddler to eat veggies right now you might let them eat a lot of fruit.

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#9 of 18 Old 04-12-2012, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, she's a little fruit hound.  The only fruit she won't eat so far is canned or cupped pineapple.  She'll eat it fresh though.

 

So basically, keep offering, try it different ways, model, and don't stress.  I'll probably try some of the juice tips, since that will probably be the easiest thing for me right now, but keep giving her the choice of the whole stuff.


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#10 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 06:32 AM
 
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We resorted to the baby food pouches to make sure ds got at least some veggies. We like the ones from plum organics. Recently he took a bite from a piece of raw spinach!

We also blend up a portion of dinner when possible. This week he ate 2 bowls of an Indian cauliflower dish because we blended it.

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#11 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 07:26 AM
 
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I'm subbing to this thread because I just started my wee one on solids.  She'll be 7 months old in a week or so, so by no means is her hatred of peas urgent (just adorable), but I know that the veggie feeding methods I'm aware of are wholly inappropriate.  I also think if I try it on mine, bless her stubborn little heart, it'll go the same way it did when it was tried on me.  Which is to say, it did not result in my ingestion of food I didn't care in ingest.  So I'm subbing so I can keep up with the ideas.

 

 


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#12 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 07:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

Vegetables are good quality, tasty, organic ones from the farmer's market. Their is massive difference in flavor.

Vegetables are *prepared* not just dumped from a frozen bag into the microwave.


Not everyone has access (or the ability to afford) to "good quality, tasty, organic vegetables from the Farmer's Market."  I agree there's a big difference in flavor in addition to better nutrients; however, "vegetables dumped from a frozen bag into the microwave" are, in fact, still vegetables.  That aside, JudiAU has excellent and creative ideas and suggestions.  What is ponzu, by the way?

 

Now, onto my own comments on the matter.  DS1 ate a whole lot of frozen vegetables out of ice cream cones for years, in addition to tomatoes from the Farmer's Market and some stuff I was able to grow because I live in an area where I can have a small garden, plus veggies from the regular grocery store.  He is almost 17 now and eats about any vegetable that comes his way.  DS2 is two and eats veggies better than his brother did (so far).

 

I know moms that dump veggies into smoothies or grate them into recipes and moms who say that's cheating. 

 

I know moms that always serve catsup or ranch with veggies and moms who say that's cheating.

 

Keep on trying, OP.  There's no "right" way, and the only thing I think is "wrong" is forcing a child to eat a certain thing.  It will make them dislike you and vegetables both.  Good luck.

 

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#13 of 18 Old 04-28-2012, 07:01 AM
 
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My DD is a pretty good veggie eater but she has her days or weeks when she won't touch certain things or when we were introducing her to new ones like broccoli.  What has helped is calling them something fun; Baby Trees for broccoli, White Baby Trees for cauliflower.  And sometimes making up songs about them like: Hey Peas you look good, let me eat you please! ( sung like a cheesy cheer).  Also talking about whatever she currently finds interesting like Bunnies or other animals/people and telling her they eat whatever veggie your trying to them to eat that day.  Even at over 2 years old the old Choo Choo train  in the tunnel still works sometimes.  

Also before DD got a good taste of real apple sauce I would buy the pureed veggie baby foods and give them to her as "apple sauce" and she loved it; this was as a 1 and half year old so it was purely to get some veggies in her no matter what.  

 

 

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#14 of 18 Old 04-28-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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Our guy eats veggies, largely because if he didn't there wouldn't be much veggie free to eat (we're vegetarians).  For example, if we have quesadillas, I mince kale or spinach and mix it with the beans.  Alongside his quesadilla (with beans/spinach) he'll have some peas (still frozen...go figure!) and a couple slices of some kind of fruit.  I do the same with scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu or pots of beans (last night I made pasta fagioli which included red peppers, tomato, spinach and carrots).  I do tell him what he's eating...largely b/c if he likes it in his quesadilla/eggs/scrambled tofu it increases the odds that he'll try it plain.  

 

Of course, I also encourage him to "lick" new veggies or other foods that he's hesitant about and then thank him for trying...he doesn't "have to" eat it, he's just encouraged to try it.  

 

I did read recently that they did a study comparing the nutrients ingested by parent described "picky" eaters and "non-picky" eaters and they found the only major differences in what they ingested was the amount of fiber--with picky eaters eating less fiber.  


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#15 of 18 Old 04-28-2012, 06:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by neonalee View Post

We resorted to the baby food pouches to make sure ds got at least some veggies.

Us too! DS will eat veggies, but not alot of fruit. Some days he won't eat lunch/dinner, so I will give him a fruit/veggie pouch. He seems to like them, he will normally eat the whole pouch.


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#16 of 18 Old 04-28-2012, 09:09 PM
 
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My little guy loves fruit but isn't much of a veggie fan (although there are some he will eat.) I throw kale, spinach, carrots, and beets into our smoothies and he sucks 'em down. Probably cheating, but I'll take what I can get. 


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#17 of 18 Old 05-03-2012, 12:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

This is just my opinion but just throwing it into the mix.

 

I think vegetables are fabulous and I think it's important to have them on the table every day, but I don't think it's imperative to get small children to eat them.

 

I suspect that there may be a natural avoidance for some reason.

 

I also think that if they continue to be a staple on the table but aren't the subject of a battle, most kids will eventually find one or two they like. Or maybe even more.

 

Just had to add---I've been thinking a lot about this. I wonder if you're right about the natural avoidance. I've noticed that my son chooses more calorie dense foods when given the choice. His favorite foods are pretty high in calories (cheese, yogurt, hot dogs, peanut butter) which makes sense since he needs the energy. He's such an active kiddo that it's hard to get him to sit down to eat and I often feel like he's living on air because he burns so much energy during the day. Since veggies aren't very calorie-dense (nutritionally-dense, yes) it would make sense that toddlers and young kiddos choose foods higher in fat and carbs instead, in order to meet their energy needs. Just had to throw that out there.... 


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#18 of 18 Old 05-03-2012, 01:32 PM
 
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That's an interesting thought about calorie-dense foods.

 

I was thinking along the lines of the risks of small children eating vegetation around them when playing outside. Since many plants are poisonous and young children do not have the capability of making distinctions between poisonous foods and edible foods, nature may have made small children naturally avoid greens.

 

Of course, if that theory is true, it should wear off when they are older. Say, around age 7.


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