Every parent finds themselves struggling at one time or another with the ‘vegetable dilemma.’ Why are children so willing to eat a variety of foods, but battle over the dreaded carrot, clamp their mouth shut when a pea is in the vicinity, or spit and sputter the remnants of broccoli?
As toddlers, parents offer their kids different pureed specialties, in hopes that they won’t expel that first bite. If they do; only the brave-hearted will attempt another try. Many give up and check it off on the list of items to no longer serve. Children then grow up eating a select few of vegetables and often this transfers to their likes and dislikes as adults. So what can you do about it?
One option is to try mixing the vegetable with one of the foods that your toddler likes. Most often than not, many children will have no problem eating their fruit. Fruit has a naturally sweet flavor, so it’s much better tasting than a plain old vegetable. This introduces your child’s palate to the vegetable, but is not so over-powering to have them refuse it. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables to see what combination your toddler enjoys best.
Once they’ve grown accustomed to the flavors, try weaning your child off the mix and begin to offer both items individually. It’s best to have them eat the vegetables first and save the dessert for last.
If it appears they’re not ready for such a drastic change, try a three-parts vegetable to 1-part fruit mix.
Try to present a variety of vegetables to your child. Chances are if they’re given enough to choose from, you’ll have a good handful of veggies they’ll enjoy eating as they get older. Be sure to take it slow and introduce each vegetable one at time. Make sure the vegetable agrees with your child and give them the time to get used to the flavor.
Getting your children to eat vegetables does not have to be a nightmare. With a little time and patience on your part, you can introduce your toddler to the wonders of a healthy balanced meal.