How can I get my toddler to eat more vegetables on a daily basis? I’ve tried carrots, beans, pea pods, and edamame with no luck.
First of all, this is normal and developmentally appropriate for your toddler. It is hard to get them to sit through a meal, never mind eat the healthiest components! One of the things that many people have found helpful is to turn meals into little buffets. In my house we use a cutting board and set out just a few pieces of a variety of vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and meats at lunch time. My little grazers could walk by and pick up a piece whenever they were hungry, or make funny faces with the foods.
Another tip is to try turning healthy ingredients into dips, spreads, and smoothies. Avocado becomes green dip; basil and tomato is spread on fresh bread for baguettes. Strawberries, yogurt, and banana make for a yummy, nutritious smoothie on a warm day. Involve your child in the process. Have him help you put the strawberries in the blender or take a plastic knife and have him help you “cut” the banana. Even the smallest hands can help accomplish these tasks. Once he feels part of the meal, he will be more likely to try it out.
Tried these strategies and still no success? I just found a new book, The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine, which helps hide vegetables in everyday meals. Some of the recipes include black bean brownies, cauliflower hidden in macaroni and cheese and more. I’ve even used the book to hide a few veggies in my husband’s dishes the last few weeks!
Kelly LaChance-Guertin BA, CCE, CD (DONA), CLC, has been a birth and postpartum doula for the past five years. She is currently a certified birth doula through DONA (Doulas of North America) and a certified childbirth educator. As the co-owner of Bellani Maternity and the mother of two, she experiences first-hand the struggle of balancing work and family, as well as the realities of raising children. Visit to learn more about Kelly’s one-stop resource for pregnancy and parenting.