5 Clever Ways To Get Your Toddler To Eat Vegetables
Is your toddler a picky eater?
Carrots, broccoli and Brussels sprouts seem the most unappetizing food to your child, don’t they?
If these written words seem too familiar, just remember, you are not alone! Every parent at some point experiences the struggle of getting those natural vitamins and minerals in their child's system.
How to get your child to eat vegetables and what veggies are the most beneficial? These two questions are just some of the dilemmas a parent has to face and deal with. Fortunately, this article will help you make your parental life much easier by introducing you to the quick tips and trick you can always have prepared up your sleeve.
What are the benefits of eating vegetables?
Vegetables are a great source of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fibers crucial for your and your child's health. They carry low caloric value and are most importantly low in fats.
According to the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, calcium, and magnesium are under-consumed nutrients in the U.S. population, ages 2 years and older.
With adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables, we could reverse the concerning statistics and make our immune system more resistant to internal as well as external threats.
The intake of vital nutrients will benefit your child now, at a very young age, and in the long run. Here are just some of the most pronounced benefits of eating vegetables:
1. Weight management
The great news is that vegetables are packed with nutrients and are low in calories and fats. Simply said, veggies are filling, and their high nutrition value doesn’t come at high cost.
A plate with the side of veggies will keep your little one’s daily calorie intake and weight in check. Due to their giving nature, veggies are a great substitute for the modern snack foods high in sugars kids tend to reach for whenever at the grocery store.
2. Gastrointestinal health
Is your child having difficulty going to the toilet? If so, the fiber content of vegetables may help your little one establish reliable bowel patterns and prevent constipation, or other more serious gastrointestinal conditions, such as diverticulosis.
You can encourage your child's bowel movement naturally with the help of fruits and vegetables, such as pears, plums, beans, and broccoli. Just remember to give your toddler plenty of fluids when having a high-fiber diet!
3. Cognitive performance
We could say that the nutrients found in vegetables feed the body as well as the mind. Diet enriched with fruits and vegetables will help your child boost cognitive performance, resulting in elongated attention span and better learning of new words.
A research led by Dr. Paul Veugelers of the School of Public Health, University of Alberta, surveyed 5,000 grade 5 students in 2003 to examine the role of fruits and vegetables in regards to children’s academic performance. The researchers found that the students with and increased fruit and vegetable intake, and lower caloric intake of fat, were significantly less likely to fail the given literacy assignment.
4. Disease prevention
Vegetables can reduce the risk of different types of cancer, including colon cancer, chronic diseases, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, rectal issues etc. Although these illnesses are not often associated with childhood, it is important to develop a healthy eating habit at a young age to prevent them later on in life.
A List Of Best Toddler Vegetables
Your toddler should eat vegetables in every color of the rainbow, from, green, red to purple. A plate full of colorful veggies will be visually intriguing and therefore more likely to spark interest and curiosity in your child.
Here is a list of best vegetables for kids according to their color:
1. Orange and yellow vegetables
For instance, yellow tomatoes, carrots, peppers and yellow beats, are not only rich in vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium but are also pro-vitamin A, which means they convert into vitamin A once in the body.
2. Green vegetables
Such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, celery, green cabbage, lettuce, and kale help cleanse the body from accumulated toxins.
3. Deep red, blue and purple vegetables
Such as beets, eggplant, red cabbage and red lettuce are full of antioxidants that will keep your little one’s heart and brain healthy. These veggies also improve the absorption of minerals and fight inflammation.
4. Red vegetables
Like red bell peppers, radishes, tomatoes and red onions fight free-radicals and reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the body.
5. White vegetables
Such as cauliflower, white onions, garlic, turnips and white corn are excellent for correcting illnesses caused by hormonal imbalances.
5 Smart ways to get your toddler to eat vegetables
Some of the most common complaints amongst parents sound something like “My toddler hates vegetables!”, “My toddler won’t eat vegetables, only fruit!” or “My toddler spits out vegetables!”
If these words often come out of your mouth when having a casual chat with your mom-friends, I am glad to inform you that you are just a few words away from a life-changing discovery. Here are 5 clever ways to get your toddler to eat veggies:
1. Make eating veggies fun
You can make veggies seem more fun with “mysterious games of testing”.
Next time your child is eating a lunch, simply ask him to close his eyes and taste the sweetness in red bell pepper. Ask “Do you taste the sweetness in the front of your tongue?” For the next bite repeat the same process, just ask your child now if the taste of saltiness or sourness is coming through.
If your child is not interested in this particular game, try this one instead!
Chop different veggies in little pieces just so that they are not distinguishable by the shape. Ask your child to taste a piece and try to identify the mysterious vegetable. When your child correctly guesses, be enthusiastic and amazed by his or hers taste bud skills.
2. Camouflage the veggies
Another sneaky way to get your child to eat nutritious veggies is by camouflaging them! Veggies don’t have to be consumed raw as a snack. They can be incorporated in spaghetti sauce, pancakes, omelets, and even muffins.
Make a simple marinara sauce with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil or elevate your simple omelet with grated carrots, thinly sliced eggplant and some mushrooms. You can also make a roasted red pepper or pumpkin-peanut butter soup.
Your child won’t recognize those blended veggies especially if the soup has a natural sweetness to it. The options are countless, green zucchini muffins, squash pancakes or spinach smoothies, you name it!
3. Grow your veggies
If your toddler won’t eat vegetables, all you have to do is let him or her become a little farmer. Introduce your child to the art of agriculture, and help him grow the appreciation of “seed to table” process.
You can put this idea to practice whether you are living in countryside or in a big metropolitan city. Head out to the store and let your child choose plant pots, soil, seeds and his fist gardening boots. Help your little one plant the seeds and watch them sprout in front of his eyes. Watercress and spinach grow rather quickly and won’t leave your child disappointed!
4. Save the best for last
Does your child have a sweet tooth that is a root of his pickiness? If so, simply turn this disadvantage into the advantage and let those sweet snacks your child is craving for become a motivation.
Serve your child’s meal in courses from least favorite to most favorite. Let your child know that if he finishes vegetables in time he will get a deserved treat afterward, and if not, the deal is off the table.
If your little one is not willing to cooperate, simply put those sweet strawberries or a cookie on a kitchen counter or table for your toddler to see. The temptation will hopefully make your child reach for those “unappetizing” veggies and make your daily parental worries vanish away.
5. Don’t give up
Last but not least, don’t give up! Toddlers are very unpredictable and fickle in their taste. A parent has to be persistent. Don’t let those picky eating habits become a regularity. In other words, don't let the ketchup become a "good enough" vegetable!
Even if your family dinners are every once in a while disturbed by a tantrum, let those veggies stay on your little one’s plate long enough. Your will be surprised how often toddlers settle for the food in front of them.
It is safe to say that vegetables are vital for our well-being. The vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers and antioxidants within them will help your child meet the development milestones in appropriate time and manner.
Was this article helpful and motivating? If so, leave your thoughts and advice in the comment section below and share these written words on social media to help spread the awareness of the importance of developing healthy eating habits at a very young age.