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Q:

How can I encourage my toddler to eat more vegetables and whole grains?

Hi everyone,

I am a mother of a very picky eater toddler who only eats carbs and proteins. I am worried about his nutrition and want to encourage him to eat more vegetables and whole grains. I have tried different methods like offering him a variety of veggies, flavoring them differently, and hiding them in his favorite foods, but he either refuses to eat them or picks them out. Same goes for whole grains, he only wants white bread or pasta.

I am looking for some tips or tricks that have worked for other parents with similar issues. How can I make veggies and whole grains more appealing to my little one? Any favorite recipes or creative ideas to sneak them in his meals? I am open to any suggestion that can help me provide a healthier diet for my child.

Thank you in advance!

All Replies

echamplin

Hey!

As a mom of a picky eater myself, I know how challenging it can be to get them to eat foods they don't like. One thing that worked well for me was incorporating veggies and whole grains into foods that they already like. For example, I would add some roasted vegetables or spinach to their mac and cheese, or use whole-grain pasta instead of regular pasta.

Another thing that worked for me was keeping a variety of healthy options available and easily accessible. I would always have cut-up veggies like carrots, cucumber, and peppers in the fridge, or whole-grain crackers in the pantry. This way, if my child wanted a snack, they could easily grab something healthy.

I also found that getting creative with presentation was helpful. I would use cookie cutters to cut veggies into fun shapes, and arrange them into a colorful plate. Or, make a fun deconstructed salad that they can mix themselves.

Lastly, I found that making mealtime fun and stress-free was important. I would involve my child in the meal planning and preparation, and turn mealtime into an opportunity to bond as a family. This way, my child was more excited about eating and would sometimes be more willing to try new things.

I hope these tips help!

lorenza.kutch

Hi there,

I completely understand your struggle as I have gone through the same with my own toddler. One thing that has worked for me is involving my child in the cooking process. I let him help me wash the veggies or pick out which grains he wants to eat, and I try to make it fun by arranging them in different shapes or colors. This way, my child feels more ownership over the food and is more willing to try it.

Another thing that has worked for me is presenting the veggies and whole grains in different ways. For example, instead of offering a plain bowl of steamed broccoli, I might mix it into a veggie stir-fry with some colorful bell peppers or serve it with a flavorful dipping sauce. Similarly, I might try making a veggie-packed smoothie or sneaking some grated zucchini into pancakes.

Lastly, I have found that consistency is key. Even if my child initially refuses a certain food, I keep offering it to him in different forms and eventually he might start to develop a taste for it. And, I try not to pressure him too much or make food a stressful thing, as that can backfire and make him even more stubborn.

I hope this helps and good luck on your journey to getting your toddler to eat more veggies and whole grains!

sofia.gleichner

Hey there,

As a mom of a picky eater, I have found that getting my child involved in selecting and preparing vegetables and whole grains has made them more willing to try them. For example, I might take my child to the farmer's market and let them choose some veggies to cook for dinner, or have them help me measure out whole grains for a recipe.

I also try to keep mealtime stress-free by not pressuring my child to eat anything they don't like. Instead, I offer healthy options alongside their favorite foods and remind them that it's okay to not like everything.

Another thing that has helped me is to be persistent in offering healthy options. Even if my child refuses veggies or whole grains the first few times, I keep offering them in different forms and keep them on our regular rotation of meals. Over time, my child has been more willing to try new things as they become more familiar with them.

Lastly, I have found that making food fun and interesting helps to encourage my child to try new things. For example, I might use a spiralizer to make fun-shaped veggie noodles or make a veggie pizza with whole-grain crust.

I hope these tips help, and remember to be patient and persistent in your efforts to encourage healthy eating habits!

letitia66

Hey there,

I know the struggles of getting toddlers to eat healthy foods can be tough, but one thing that I have found useful is introducing new veggies and whole grains in gradually. Instead of offering a completely new veggie or grain each time, I will mix a small amount of it with a food I already know my child likes.

For example, If I want to introduce quinoa, I will mix a little bit into their favorite mac and cheese dish, or if I want to introduce sweet potatoes, I might sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon and coconut sugar on top.

In addition, I have found that setting a proper example has helped. If my child sees that I am eating and enjoying vegetables and whole grains, they are more likely to want to try them too. So, I always make sure to serve healthy food options for myself and also serve them on their plate.

Lastly, I avoid bribery and punishment, which can create negative associations with certain foods. Instead, I try to help my child appreciate the taste of vegetables and grains by providing different flavors and textures to try, without pressuring them.

I hope this helps and hang in there, healthier eating habits will come with time!

ikub

Greetings,

As a parent of a picky eater, I have found that the key to encouraging my child to eat more vegetables and whole grains is to keep offering a variety of healthy options. While my child might not like broccolis, they may enjoy eating green beans, carrots or other healthy food. I've also found that mealtime should be less about forcing my child to eat a particular food, but more about exposure to it.

Another tip to encourage healthy eating habits in your child is to be a good role model when it comes to eating habits. My child often imitates the things they see me do, so if I make healthy eating a priority, it becomes a priority for them, too. I also try to make mealtime an enjoyable experience by keeping it lively and engaging.

One fun way I encourage my child to eat more vegetables and whole grains is by making meals that are interactive. For example, I might make veggie kabobs with cherry tomatoes and bell peppers, or whole-grain tacos where my child can choose their own toppings.

Lastly, staying patient and positive is important. Children are picky by nature, and it's important to remember that it can take time for them to develop a taste for certain foods. I try to keep offering healthy options, keep it fun and engaging, and celebrate small victories.

I hope these tips help in encouraging your child to eat more healthy foods!

tianna.runte

Hi there,

As a parent of a picky eater, I have found that getting creative with seasonings and spices can make veggies and whole grains more appealing. For example, I might roast veggies with garlic and herbs, or mix quinoa with black beans and salsa for added flavor.

Another strategy that I have found helpful is to experiment with different textures. My child might not like steamed broccoli, but they may love roasted broccoli that has a crispy texture. Similarly, they might not like chewy whole-grain bread, but they might like crunchy whole-grain crackers.

I have also realized that timing is key. I try to serve my child veggies and whole grains earlier in the day, when they are more likely to be hungry and have a bigger appetite. Additionally, I try to avoid serving snacks or treats right before a meal, which can take away from their appetite.

Lastly, I try to stay positive and patient. Even if my child initially refuses a certain food, I try not to make a big deal out of it or pressure them into eating it. I want meal time to be enjoyable and stress-free, not a battle.

I hope these tips are helpful and good luck with your picky eater!

connelly.melyssa

Hello,

I have a child who is also a picky eater, so I understand the struggle you're going through! One approach that has worked for me is to make healthy foods more appealing by incorporating them into fun snacks. For example, I might put hummus or guacamole in a little container and serve it with veggies for dipping. My child loves fruit, so I might make fruit kabobs with whole-grain mini waffles on the side.

Another way I have tried to encourage my child to eat more veggies and whole grains is by being persistent, but patient. I consistently offer veggies and whole-grain options, even if my child initially refuses, but I don't force the issue. It can take a while, but often, after being exposed to a food a few times, my child will eventually give it a try.

Lastly, I try to make sure that family meals are a regular thing, so that my child sees my husband and I eating and enjoying healthy foods. This has helped to normalize healthy eating for my child and has made it easier to encourage them to try new foods.

I hope you find something that works for you, and remember, patience and consistency are key!

hoppe.katelynn

Hello!

As a parent of a picky eater, I can relate to the challenge of getting children to eat healthy foods. One strategy that has worked for me is to give my child the opportunity to choose between two healthy options. For example, I might ask if they want broccoli or green beans with dinner, or if they want whole-grain toast or oatmeal for breakfast. This way, they have some control over what they eat and often feel more motivated to eat it.

Another thing that has worked for me is to make plant-based meals that are visually appealing. I will often make a colorful stir-fry that includes a variety of veggies, or a Buddha bowl with brown rice, roasted veggies, and a flavorful sauce. My child might not love every vegetable, but when they see that the meal looks interesting and tasty, they are more willing to give it a try.

I also try to make healthy foods fun by turning them into shapes or characters. For example, I might cut a sandwich into a fun shape or create veggie faces on a whole-grain pizza crust.

Overall, it's important to remember that every child is different, so it may take some trial and error to find what works for your child. But with patience and persistence, you can encourage healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

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