If you had told me before having kids that feeding them would be one of my least favorite tasks as a mom I probably would’ve laughed in your face. Diaper blow outs, sure. Sleepless nights, of course. Toddler tantrums, absolutely! But getting a toddler to eat veggies, that should be easy, right? WRONG! At least for our son.
Clearly unimpressed with whatever I’m trying to serve him, hah!
When L first started eating solids at about 5 months we went the traditional route with soft foods and lots of purees. He would devour mashed avocado if mixed with banana but spit sweet potato, green beans, carrots, and any other veggie right out. As we transitioned into solid foods I tried steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus, sautéed zucchini, and any other veggie I could think of in their whole form. I assumed because I love all the veggies he automatically would as well but I was SO wrong. If his meal doesn’t involve strawberries, bananas, or peanut butter he is just not interested!
So what do you do when your picky, opinionated toddler won’t touch a veggie with a ten foot poll and throws everything on the floor? Well, you get creative and hide them in everything! And I mean everything. I’ve been known to dice up his asparagus and smother it in yogurt just to get something green into his diet! Here are the other tips and tricks I’ve come up with to sneak more veggies into my toddlers diet!
How I Get My Toddler To Eat Veggies
- Green Smoothies: We make these a few times per week with varying ingredients. Fruits, nut butter, chia or flax seed, kale or spinach, carrots, really anything! Recently I’ve seen other bloggers adding cauliflower to their smoothies which sounds phenomenal! I am sure you cannot even taste it like most of these other ingredients!
- Shredded Zucchini: I hide shredded zucchini in just about everything. Grilled cheese, my Banana Zucchini Pancakes, oatmeal, mac and cheese, truly anything. It has a mild flavor and when you shred it up it can hide easily and make baked goods super moist if added!
- Canned pumpkin or sweet potato: This is an easy mix in to L’s morning yogurt, or smoothies!
- Muffins and Baked Goods: I am all about mixing up a big batch of muffins or bread each week filled with nutritious, yummy foods. I often will just play around with recipes for banana or zucchini bread and add in shredded carrot but these from the Lean Green Bean are my all time favorite.
- Doctor Up Pasta Sauce: Whenever I make pasta for L I dice up carrot, onion, and peppers to add in to the (jarred) sauce. I sautée them for a few minutes to soften everything then let it simmer . He never notices the chunks (and my husband doesn’t either)!
- Pizza: L’s favorite food ever (other then fruit) is pizza! Smart kid. I’ve started buying whole wheat dough, making my pasta sauce, then topping with cheese and diced up veggies. He’s been gobbling it up!
- Quick and Easy Veggie Filled Meatballs: This is a fav recipe to double the batch, freeze half, and pull out for quick meals!
- 1 lb 93% Lean Ground Beef
- 3/4 lb Ground Pork
- 1 Summer Squash or Zucchini, shredded
- 4 Eggs
- 1 French Baguette, soaked in milk for a bit, then milk squeezed out (helps keep them moist!)
- Handful of chopped Parsley
- 3-4 cloves Garlic, or to taste
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Roll into balls as big or small as you like! We did some cookie dough sized ones for L and some a bit bigger for us. Place on oiled cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on size. (You can also cook in a pan on the stove top!) That’s it!I find these to be really moist, super delicious, and overall pretty good for you.
Most people say that with constant re-exposure, kids will eventually learn to love veggies. Sometimes I try letting L eat a bite off my fork if I think he’ll tolerate it but I must admit I find it so much easier to just hide things right now. Granted, he’s still young enough to not notice or complain about the color of his food like I know older kids may so for now, this works for us! And sometimes he eats only Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies and pizza for a full day and that’s just fine as well! Whatever works.