I hate to admit it, but I'm horrible about eating veggies. I'm pretty good with fruits – I like a lot of them, but vegetables… I like only a few. Some people say I just need to find different ways to make them, but so far that hasn't worked for me either. Strangely enough, I recall eating peas and carrots and such when I was little (like 5ish). Now? Peas make me gag.
I really want my daughter to eat a healthy, balanced diet. I know it's important for her to develop these habits when she's young… before she has years of thinking “yuck, those are gross” in her head like I do. Unfortunately, it's hard to get her to eat things I won't eat. It's like she knows something is up. And you know she calls me out on it by trying to share her food with me. If I refuse it, she will most likely refuse it too.
5 Tips to Get Toddlers to Eat Fruits and Vegetables
1 – Model It
Sharing an apple with my daughter is super easy for me to do and has gotten her to request them as a snack. I love that! But how do I model eating foods I can't stand? I have a hard enough time buying and preparing stuff I won't eat….
The fact that she often requests what I'm eating and will happily chow down if she sees me enjoying the same foods as her made me believe that the Copy-Kids DVD is really onto something. When Rissa first saw it she was quite a bit younger and less verbal. She loved seeing other little kids and asked for a banana while we sat there watching them eat fruits and vegetables. I sort of wish there was a random selection so I didn't necessarily have to pick one type of food to observe.
I think I might be able to eat more vegetables if I keep watching it…
2 – Keep Offering
I've noticed Rissa is more likely to refuse food that she hasn't seen before. So, I keep attempting to reintroduce them to her when I can. Sometimes she will start eating it or it'll be hit or miss that she actually eats it. Once in a great while she might even request it! I try not to give up or get too upset (though it can be frustrating when it ends up on the floor). I once read that it can take up to 10 or more tries of offering a particular food before a little one will finally eat it. Maybe curiosity gets the best of them eventually? Nah, it's probably because it becomes more familiar.
3 – Just a Few Bites
When offering Rissa a new food or something I'm not sure she will eat, I try not to give her a full serving all at once. I'd rather not waste it all if she decides to knock it off of her high chair tray. Instead, I'll put a couple pieces down for her and wait to see if she wants more. When she started eating solids regularly, I couldn't give her a full plate even if it was filled with food she liked! It must have overwhelmed her. Instead she did very well with eating a few bites at a time then requesting more.
I also try this tactic if she's asking for another food she likes. For example, she's asking for her yogurt. I might ask her to eat one more ravioli before I give it to her. It doesn't always work, but sometimes it will.
4 – Healthy Natural Alternatives
So, she might not always eat fresh fruits and vegetables, but I limit her junk food snacks. Yes, I do allow her to have some cookies, chips, and freezer pops, but not all the time. If she is requesting cookies or a “bar” (granola bar) I prefer to offer her healthier versions such as the Nibbly Fingers and Cookies from Ella's Kitchen. Those snacks are 100% organic and contain whole grain oats and pureed fruits and veggies.
Rissa loved their cookies! (Okay so you can't see it as she's munching it, but she wouldn't share with me!)
5 – Get Creative
When she was younger, she loved sucking on food pouches. So, I would try out different combinations (some were even fruit AND veggie) with her. Now that she's older and has more teeth, she prefers food she can bite into. For some reason smoothies are a big hit though… I bet it is the straw. It's a great way to blend together fruit and yogurt and even mix in some vegetables. There are also recipes for slipping veggies into other foods such as zucchini muffins… the kids rarely suspect a thing this way! For the fruit pouches, another blogger suggested freezing them so they are like a slushie treat. I need to try that yet!
Do you have any tips to add?
Disclosure: I received the above mentioned DVD and the Ella's Kitchen samples for review purposes. No other compensation was received.
Fruits and Vegetables Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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