Mom Talk: Tips on Introducing Toddlers to Vegetables
By Jessica Carmody, Avera Marketing Coordinator
Getting kids to eat vegetables isn’t easy. When my daughter was young I did it all wrong. I started feeding her fruit and she quickly became used to the sweet taste and wanted nothing to do with sweet potatoes.
Now that she is older she has really gotten into eating a variety of vegetables. Here are a couple things that have helped our family along the way:
- Eat the rainbow: Offer a variety of fun, colored vegetables at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Line them up and put them in the color of the rainbow. While we adults tend to mix our vegetables together I have found that toddlers prefer to have them separate.
- Start a garden: A couple years ago we started a garden in our backyard and our daughter quickly became fascinated with what we were planting and harvesting. She was always pointing asking “What’s that?” Every couple of days we would go out as a family and harvest our crop and incorporate that into our meal for dinner. She loves taking pictures and having contests to see which zucchini is bigger.
- Make food fun: As a family we always talk about food and get really excited about what we are having for each meal. It can be fun to come up with unique names for the food such as “branches and trees” for broccoli or “cucumber chips” for cut-up cucumbers. That way when she asks for chips we offer cucumber chips as a healthy alternative.
- Get them involved: We have found that our kids love to be in the kitchen. Our daughter, who is almost 3, always wants to help us make dinner or be on the counter right in the action. One of her favorite meals to help us prepare is homemade pizza. She loves putting on the marinara sauce and loading the top of her pizza with all her favorite vegetables. We cut up vegetables in advance into bite size pieces and then she tops her pizza with a variety of peppers, olives, spinach and of course plenty of cheese.
Good luck and keep trying to introduce new vegetables into your child’s diet. Lead by example and your kids will soon follow.
You know you are on the right path when they ask for a bowl of vegetables instead of goldfish crackers!