I am writing this not because I am an expert, but because I am in the midst of dealing with a picky toddler. Before I had kids, I had wonderful visions of the healthy mom I would be one day–making sure my children would eat an abundance of organic vegetables. I didn’t take into consideration that toddlers actually have opinions. And they throw tantrums. How in the world are you supposed to make a kid eat something they WILL NOT eat?!
Here are some things that I have tried and have been successful MOST of the time (I have found what may work one day can definitely be a flop the next day–kids can be very unpredictable with food).
- Garden: Right out of the garden is best. My toddler had SO many tomatoes this summer…
- Soup: frozen veggies, pasta, broth, beans, seasoning, and sometimes chicken. Simple and successful 95% of the time.
- Dip: find something to dip the veggies in and it makes it more fun. At our table, this only has about a 50% success rate, but it adds variety to the mix.
- Veggie Pizza: either hot or cold, call it a pizza and it has a better chance of working. If it is hot, this works 90% of the time. To mix it up, I like to make cold veggie pizza as well (see this post).
- Shredded, Pureed, and Cut (very small): if it is easy to eat, there is a higher chance my kids will eat it. Bite-sized pieces always go over better in our kitchen. Pureeing works pretty well too because my toddler can’t pick out or around the veggies. See pictures of “Green Eggs” below.
- Smoothies: one of my favorite ways to get greens into my kids. My toddler has become more picky with smoothies and it just depends on the day, but my 1-year-old loves them!
- Juicing: I haven’t done a lot of this lately because I have been busy and lazy, but this is an AWESOME way to get nutrients into any human being regardless of age.
- Baked Goods: zucchini bread and carrot cake are good examples of “hiding” vegetables. It’s a good method to boost nutrition, but it’s wise to teach them to recognize, eat and like vegetables as well.
- Pouches: Putting baby food in pouch form has been a great invention. My toddler recently has become more picky and won’t always eat the ones with veggies in them, but it worked for a long time. In general, he loves pouches.
- Bars: There are SO many bars out there. My toddler will eat them about 70% of the time and I try to buy ones that have veggies in them. See picture.
- Drinks: Lots of refrigerated juices have options with veggies in them. My toddler likes green juice more than I do, so this is a great way to get something healthy into him.
- Yogurt: I appreciate how Stonyfield puts veggies in some of their products for kids. See picture.
- (I realize some of the nutrition is lost in packaged foods, but some is better than none–and let’s just face it, sometimes I’m desperate.)
- 100 Days of Real Food has a great post on this topic.
- The honest.com blog put out a Cheat Sheet for Healthy School Lunches that I thought was helpful.
- Go to pinterest.com and type in “veggies for toddlers”. You will be overwhelmed and inspired at the same time.
- YOU!!! I would love for you to share your ideas and what has worked in your home!