9 answers

4Yr Old Won't Eat Veggies and Fruit!

Help, my son used to eat all the fruits and veggies we'd give him as a baby but as he's gotten older, good luck getting him to even eat 1 apple slice. I offer something in his lunch and at dinner everyday. If I actually insist he try or HAVE TO eat an apple slice or 2 he cries and then refuses to eat anything. One of the moms at my school made zucchini muffins and he LOVED it but is that really a decent source of veggies? I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to all of you for your wonderful suggestions! I still can't really get him to eat veggies but we are making progress in other areas like fruit!!! I am trying to always offer but not force. We are making slow progress but it's progress. Thank you again!

More Answers

Hi, there are so many ways you can sneak veggies into his diet. Grate them up small and mix them into everyday dishes, he won't know it's there. Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld's wife) has a really cool book called "Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food ". I haven't read it, but I saw her on Oprah making some of her recipes, and it seemed great. My kids love veggies so I didn't need the book. Check it out, it's amazing how easy it is to sneak them in. They have them on amazon for about $10.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
The experience I have had with this has been with my nephew, who even now will not eat anythin except plain noodles, gogurts, plain white rice or cheese and crackers.
He doesn't even eat chick nuggets or pizza, junk food that just about every kid likes.
It started around the age of 4 yrs for him, and he continued to refuse all meats, fruit or veggies. He is now 10 and still will not eat anything except his "usual".
My sisters Ped told her to with hold food until he broke and he recommended this only after 3 years of attempting to get him to eat anything except his "usual". He was even tested to see if he had any development issues and nothing was found.
What ended up happening is that he would never break down and eat anything, so my sister has given up. The Ped says at the age is started was when he wanted to test his use of control of others and he told her that when it first started that she should have stressed to her son that he needs to eat his food and to be very persuasive plus that she shouldn't have given in. It has been very difficult for her and still is to get him to eat anything but he starting to break.
I am not joking, I know this sounds far fetched but this is honestly truthful.
Hang in there and hope he is not winning in control and remember you are the parent. You have to remember that you can always sneak it in somewhere, any where that you can get it in is a good source of veggies.
All 4 of my children are served their plates with the salad or veggies,(I usually tell then the meat needs to cool down before they can have it on their plate) and it is always gone before I searve the meat. I also do not encourage snacking between meals unless it is fruit with cheese or peanut butter.
Sometimes I have even sauted fruit (apples or stone fruits) with meat to get it in the meal, or I put lotts of chopped veggies in the rice. I'm starting to ramble, sorry.
Just be creative and remember you are the parent. Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

HI, J.,
My 3 year old isn't crazy about veggies, either, so thank goodness I know a few good dishes that have lots of veggies that he is crazy about. Try making tempura. I use 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 1 egg and mix thoroughly. Then I shred half a zucchini, 1 carrot, 1/3 of a head of cabbage and 3 green onions and mix into the batter. Deep fry large spoonfuls. When I serve them to my boy, I give him a dipping sauce which has half soy sauce and half water. He LOVES them and eats them like they are chocolate chip cookies! The more veggies you put into the batter and the less batter in the mixture, the better, because then he will be getting more veggies. I put in so much veggies that the batter is just barely there, enough to keep it all stuck together. I also make a Japanese spinach dish that he loves so much that he eats TONS of spinach. After I cook the spinach briefly, I take it out and add some soy sauce, some rice vinegar, some bonito flakes (that you can get at an Asian food store or Japantown) and a drop or two of sesame oil. He also loves this dish. The combination of the soy sauce and vinegar needs to be just right, so it isn't too sour or too salty. I never measure, I just do it by sight, so I can't give exact amounts, but there shouldn't be much liquid left in the bowl with the spinach, just enough to wet the spinach a bit and have maybe a teaspoon of liquid left in the bowl. Good luck and let me know if you end up trying these recipes which really helped me get veggies into my little boy.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.

My 8 year old son is the same, he will not eat any fruits and the only vegetables he will eat are carrots and corn. So I puree vegetables and put it into food he likes, like spinach or broccoli puree in meat balls. There are a number of cook books that are full of recipes for putting fruit and vegetable purees into children's food - one is Deceptively Delicious. However, it does mean that you have to cook more and use less prepared food! The other thing I do is give my son a fruits and vegetable supplement; I use Nutrilite Children's Fruits and Vegetables cheweables. He loves them - they do no contain any vitamins and minerals but are full of phytonutrients that are found in fruits and vegetables. In addition, I went to a seminar given by a nutritionist and her view was that you should not force your child to eat food that he does not like, but always offer it with things he does like. My son does like whole wheat pasta, steel cut oatmeal and whole wheat bread so I try and make sure he is getting his fiber requirements from whole grains since he is not getting much from fruits and vegetables. Hope this helps! - M.

1 mom found this helpful

there are a few things I can think off the bat - I have an 11 year old who used to eat everything then one day stopped. He does still eat fruit thank goodness. But I've just put him on Juice Plus - his idea after hearing me talk about it with a friend who is a medical doctor who recommends it. look into that they have a website and I am sure there are people here who are distributors (I'm not - my medical doctor friend is). Then there is that new book by Seinfields wife that talks about and shows you how to blend fruit and vegies into cakes etc. I didn't do anything for years because he was growing and very attentive etc. I'll let you know how the juice plus goes.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,

I have had good luck either baking different veggies into muffins, such as the zucchini muffins and I have also boiled or steamed certain veggies, such as carrots, pureed them and added that puree to spaghetti sauce, lasagna, baked ziti, etc. The strong tasting sauce in these dishes will mask the taste of some of the "more undesirable" veggies. To save time, you can make a double batch of purees, then freeze portions into ice cube trays and pop the cube portions into the sauce while it cooks. For fruits, I have made fruit smoothies and gave them a fun straw to use. Frozen fruit is perfect for this. Also, for summer, pureed fruit frozen into popsicles are fun. Hope this helps and good luck!


1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
I've been lucky with my kids eating fruits & veggies but I do remember having classes at pre school and others talking about fussy eaters.
A far as your veggies go they always talked about chopping them up real fine and putting them like in a pizza sauce or a spaghetti sauce and the kids won't even know what they are eating. Disguise it. Maybe with fruit do the same-puree it and use it like jam on toast or peanut butter and jelly maybe that will help. Cut up fruit put in on like a piece of sponge cake or something like that.
I hope this helps. Good luck.
M. Magni mom of 2 boys

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,

I've gone through similar cycles with my little guys (3 & 5). My pediatrician gave me some great advice which was to relax about it and not let it turn into a power struggle or source of fighting. He said "your job is to offer healthy meals that are as appealing as possible to your kids. Their job is to eat them." He went on to say that keeping meal time pleasant for the family is the most important thing. He said "the nourishment they'll get as PEOPLE from having a nice meal with the family is more important to me than the number of bites of broccoli you get them to eat by fighting the whole meal." He wasn't saying that good nutrition isn't important, he was just trying to let me know that all kids go through stages. Sometimes they eat everything you put in front of them and sometimes they go days without eating anyting. If you get stressed about the down times they'll start to associate meal times with stress and that's a much bigger problem. So that really put me more at ease.

On the more practicle side, I have found a few "tricks" to help when my boys aren't eating well on their own. I bought Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and found lots of great ways to sneak veggies into things. She has a "pink pancakes" recipe (with BEETS!) and my kids would eat them every day if I'd make them. I've also found that my kids like raw veggies better than cooked and they love frozen fruit the best (they actually prefer frozen blue berries to fresh even during the summer!). Of course any time I can let them help prepare the food, or if I can make it into a fun shape, they like it better.

It's also actually helped to talk to both my sons about which foods are good for their bodies. When I tell them that a certain food will help make them stronger or faster they really do tend to eat more of it.

And of course, they never earn dessert or sweet treats without eating a great dinner.

Hope some of this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Even though he does not love fruit and veggies now - he probably will in time - not to worry. I am sure he likes juice and many juices now contain servings fruit and vegetables (V8?). Also, XanGo sells "whole" fruit juice - made from entire mangosteen fruit and mixed with other fruit juices for taste. I wish I had it when my kids were little instead of regular juices, because it does contain the whole fruit - www.xango.com/valeriejgarnese

Hope this helps and I am sure being the concerned mom that you are, you will help him to find fruits and veggies you will both be happy with!

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