B.H. asks from Rexburg, ID on October 22, 2008
11 Months Old Hates Vegetables
My son hates to eat vegetables. We have been transitioning him off of the pureed commercial baby food and trying to feed him more of what we're eating. I try to give him canned green beans or peas, but he hates them. I try stir fry with cooked vegetables and he'll eat a few bites and then spit it out and wipe off his tongue. I'm just worried that he's not getting enough veggies and I'm not sure other creative ways of giving them to him. I could offer V8 juice meanwhile, but I don't want to fill him up on liquids (or the sodium) then he won't have a desire to drink milk. I tried making my own vegetable juice/smoothie, but it was nasty. Any suggestions?
A.A. answers from Denver on October 23, 2008
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S.M. answers from Salt Lake City on October 23, 2008
Keep trying with the veggies, it takes a child 10-15 different times of trying a new food before their taste buds start to say it is good. I would also stay with fresh veggies, even green bean, my pediatrician says canned veggies are cooked so long that the good stuff is gone and fresh is much much better. My son likes fresh green beans just quick boiled so they are slightly crunchy and then a bit of grapeseed oil, actually a good oil for you, if you can find citrus flavored it is great with beans, and quick sautee them, he even likes sesame seeds sauteed with them.
B.M. answers from Salt Lake City on October 23, 2008
First, don't ever let your child hear you say that they hate vegetables. It often takes 10-20 exposures for a person to get a taste for something new, especially new textures for the little ones. My suggestion to you is to keep putting a few pieces on his plate every meal and show him that you and Dad are eating them too. Try the method of everybody taking a taste together, or have a race to see who can eat the green bean first. Something else to think about is that toddler's taste sensors are much more sensitive than ours so foods are much stronger to them. Limit or eliminate salt and seasonings because they are just too intense for littles ones. Stick to fresh or frozen. Start with carrots, peas and squashes because they tend to be a little milder in flavor than beans or leafy greens.
Just keep exposing him to the veggies and don't stress too much about it.
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J.S. answers from Denver on October 23, 2008
I had a similar issue with my daughter that is now 2 and a very good eater. After a number of trial/errors, here are a few things that work for us. I puree carrots, yams, or butternut squash and add a tablespoon to her yogurt. I know if sounds bad, but she never noticed a difference and eats her yogurt everyday. I also add one of the purees and a little refried beans to mac and cheese to make it a little healthier. Pureed carrots and spinach with spaghetti sauce is quite good. There is a book called Deceptively Delicious which has a number of different recipes for sneaking in various pureed vegetables and fruits. You should still continue to offer the whole veggies, but if he doesn't eat them at least you will feel a little better knowing he is getting some extra nutrients. My daughter also loves the Amy's organic lentil and black bean soups which are a great source of protein and have a number of vegetables. A friend of mine suggested adding the pureed veggies to meatballs because her child loved it. However, my daughter had no interest in it. In addition, once a day I also add liquid vitamins to her milk. Good luck! I hope you find something that works for your child!
M.J. answers from Salt Lake City on October 23, 2008
I agree with Lori. Green smoothies are the way to go.
Here's how I do it:
I cut up an apple or a pear and put it in a blender with about a cup of frozen mango or some other kind of frozen fruit. I add just enough filtered water or oj to help it blend smoothly. Then I add in a cup or two of a leafy green (spinach, kale, chard, and collards are my favorite). I buzz it up until smooth, sometimes I add some stevia extract or lemon juice to improve the flavor if I think it isn't sweet enough. Depending on your ratio of fruit to greens, you won't even taste the greens. Start at about 60% fruit, 40% greens, and increase the greens as you and your children develop a taste for it.
I personally don't mind the green color, so sometimes I add berries, and sometimes I don't. In fact, the berries plus the greens make it brown, and I'd rather drink a green smoothie than a brown smoothie, but whatever. They both taste good.
Dark leafy greens are so important to get, but rarely do people eat enough of them. It takes me a long time to chew through a cup of spinach, but if I put it in a smoothie, I'll get it easily, quickly, and deliciously.
I make a big one in the morning and me and my kids share it throughout the day.
My daughter also loves baked sweet potatos. I bake a bunch of them at one time, peel them, and slice them in to rounds. I then place them on wax paper on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once they're frozen, I put them all in a big freezer bag, and thaw as necessary. So easy. So healthy. And they're really sweet, so your child probably will like it.
C.C. answers from Salt Lake City on October 24, 2008
Echoing here that it takes 10-12 exposures for kids to adjust to a new flavor. With my dd, she eats Korean foods--except the really spicy stuff, and she just asks me to take the spicey off. She's 2.5 years old. We started out similar to you and I got emails from several of the mom sites I had signed up for when she was a baby that said keep trying, don't over expose too many flavors at one time. So we tried to follow that as best we could. I started taking her food from her plate to eat it OH! I want yours! That looks so good!! she had 2 responses one to take my food then (same food mom is still happy) or to stop me and tell me it was hers. We still have those games somtimes except now she knows it is a game, but hey she still eats her veggies!
also for recipes, I got a great book from one of the retailers on Amazon, I had checked it out of the library and then bought it...it's called First Meals by Annabell Karmel. She has a lot of cook books for babies and toddlers. I still use some of the stuff in the book for my 2.5 year old. This book goes through different stages of the kid, when to add different textures, and what works well together for smoothies etc. They are quick and easy to, always a plus.
I also just found a website I am using and enjoying
one of our favorite sayings is "shrimp! You love Shrimp!"
and she does...
K.K. answers from Denver on October 23, 2008
Along with all of these suggestions, you can check out Jessica Seinfelds book, "Deceptively Delicious". She has recipes like mac n cheese, grilled cheese, etc., where you can hide the veggies by making purees. You will still need to continue to present the actual veggies at mealtimes, but I have been doing this with my 16 month olds for 5-6 months and they love the recipes and occassionally will eat the actual veggies, but at least I know they are getting the nutrients without stressing out about it so much. Good luck!
K.P. answers from Denver on October 23, 2008
My 13-month-old is the same way. So for the time being, I'm still pureeing veggies for her and she'll scarf them down that way. Must be something with the texture of veggies? Not sure. We give her meat and fruit as finger foods, so she's still getting practice at feeding herself, but I've just resigned myself to feed her the pureed veggies. I'm hoping she grows out of it soon, though.
D.K. answers from Denver on October 22, 2008
Continue to offer it, vary it up, try baked sweet potatos, even baked potatoes, frozen peas were a huge hit with my kids,
crunchy yummy softer veggies that maybe with ranch dip on them. I agree V8 is loaded with sodium, so that isn't the best way. They do have lower sodium version but I think it is loaded with a lot of citric acid. If he has a lot of teeth, my kids LOVE raw veggies, chopped up for your son, but they love yellow, orange and red peppers, they are sweet and crunchy. I cut up carrots strips very thinly and give them ranch dip.
Try putting pediasure in his milk for added nutrition, or add carnation instant breakfast. You don't want to give him a bunch of liquids.
Steam green beans instead of commercial baby food. My son hated baby food after 10 mos.
Just keep offering. If he is still taking formula, there is toddler formula too that contains all he needs to get in a day.
Just do not allow him to be picky by offering him just his favorites, keep offering.
It took ten or twenty times of serving up brocolli rice dish to my four year old, now he loves it.
C.H. answers from Boise on October 23, 2008
Frozen Peas and corn, the only good advice my mother in law gave me. The still eat them at least once a day at 3 &4