16 Month Old Starting to Get Picky About Veggies

Updated on March 02, 2007
N.K. asks from Saint Louis, MO
11 answers

My daughter has been an excellent eater. Recently she has decided to complain about her veggies. Up until a few weeks ago, she has LOVED veggies. Now she only wants the greenbeans and carrots from a jar. She will only eat peas and corn, fresh or frozen. She spits out the other fresh or frozen veggies we make . Is this a phase or should I be concerned. Any recipe ideas ???

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answers from Tulsa on

I'm having the same problem with my daughter, she's almost 20 months now. Most fruit she wants to try and eat the biggest piece she can get, but veggies she prefers to eat old stage two's (I at least make her eat it herself with a spoon) Sometimes she will eat whole peas and sweet potato is a good middle ground.
This is my first so I can't offer a lot of advice but my thoughts are if veggies are getting into the tummy and not on the floor it's a good thing. Just keep trying occasionally :)

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answers from Kansas City on

It is my sincere opinion that whatever you do now will determine how your child will eat through her life and how healthy she will be as an adult. It will also be a big part of shaping her character.

It's ok to hide some veggies in various recipes in order to get a variety of veggies down the kids. Kids are naturally picky and it gets worse before it gets better. But sometimes parents make a big mistake.

What a lot of moms do is find a small list of things they will eat and ways they will eat them and they stick with it. They don't want to deal with the guilt they feel if their child is hungry. They don't want to deal with the tantrums if they make them eat. Basically, they are too lazy and don't want to be bothered with parenting in some cases.

When you do that this is what happens...

I am on Nutrisystem for my weight loss journey. There are thousands of people on there. Every day someone comes on there and say's they can't eat veggies, they hate them and they only eat one, two, maybe 3 veggies and they only eat them...smothered in butter, cheese, or covered with ranch dressing. These people have lived most of their lives eating breads and french fries and potato chips. They have altered their taste buds and they have become malnutritioned in the process!

Myself, I have become overwight on good healthy food. I love ALL food. I wasn't taught as a child how to portion out my food and I turned to food as comfort. But that's another parenting job to discuss for another day. I was also part of the clean your plate club. Also another rant, but not really.

What you need to do is discipline your child for spitting out the food. You decide what your going to do. She's your daughter. How you handle it is up to you. But do something to make it very clear to her that spitting out her food is wrong.

Myself I remove them from the table the moment they spit out teir food. That meal is over. They won't eat anymore until the next planned meal or snack. I tell them why they are done. You don't have to end their meals many times before they become hungry enough to eat.

I would learn all kinds of recipes and ways to cook all kinds of veggies so that your child has the very best chance at learning to eat as many veggies and as many ways of cooking them as possible. NEVER ever limit your child's meals to the few they eat without hassle. Then again, never hassle with your kids over eating in the first place. If they don't eat at a meal or even for a whole day or two, they won't die. And they won't go that long without eating something. They'll pick at this and that.

During this phasing in of many kinds of veggies, don't forget to be just as creative with fruits and breads and teach them to enjoy trying new foods. Now is the time to teach them that it's a big world out there. It doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Studies show that if you put a large variety of food in front of your toddler over a months time, they will naturally find enough to eat a well balanced diet. The problem is that parents try so hard to avoid any kind of confrentation that they turn them into a picky eater and frankly it stunts their character in their life to come. These people become adults that refuse to learn anything new because they have been so spoiled by their parents. They somehow think life revolves around them and that everything in life should be comfortable all the time. That's not reality.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lawton on

Contact your local health dept. Talk to someone in the WIC dept.about nutrients in the veggies that she likes. You might be surprised at how many vitamins and minerals are in the veggies that she does like. Be thankful that she likes veggies at all.

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answers from Kansas City on

hi N., i make meat loaf out of hamburger and then chop up veggies very small and put them in it. i dont like any veggies at all i'll only eat corn and that doesnt do much so to get them i chop them up really small and add them in things meatloaf, meatballs i make stew also and put all the veggies my kids like and some of the ones they dont like tomatoes and peas but since theres so much more of what they do like they dont notice. you could also chop them up very small and put them in scrambled eggs hide them where you can and then start making them bigger to where she notices them. hope this helps and gives you some ideas. ps my kids like green beans but dip them in ketchup i think its gross myself but whatever way it gets to there belly. try a little ranch things like that, my daughter likes the mixed salad you can buy at the store it has carrots and cabbage in it. W.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I just read an article on this (like 30 minutes ago!) in my husband’s medical journal! Weird!

Anyway, it seems that kids 6 months to 3 years will do something call "food bingeing”. What happens it that kids will eat mainly of one food group or one food for a period of time and then completely turn their nose to it after that. The specific experiment involved giving children a large selection and then recording what they actually ate. Over the short term, the kids would have diets that were very heavy in one thing or food group (like green beans and corn) but over the long term the kids would eat very healthy diets. Generally children that age will eat healthy food if that is provided and won’t eat more or what they don’t really need so long as it is healthy.

I wouldn't worry, just let your child eat what she wants, but provide other things so she can eat them if she wants to.

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answers from Kansas City on

I agree with Suzi. Just keep serving them to her like usual. My pediatrician said it can take a child up to 20 times of eating something before they decide they like it. Try to use variety in serving veggies. For example, throw diced tomatoes on top of their scrambled eggs or put a handful of shredded carrots in your meatloaf/meatball mixture.

And of course there are tons of different ways to cook veggies that can affect their taste and texture, so keep experimenting with her which ways she likes them (grilled, steamed, raw, sauteed, roasted) and try them with seasonings and herbs too--it can make a world of difference in the taste w/o adding fat and calories like butter and cheese do.

Just don't give in and serve her something different when she spits them out. I promise she will not starve herself to death, when she gets hungry and realizes she doesn't have the option of an alternative meal I can assure you she'll eat what's given to her! Not only will this help her become less picky in her dietary choices, but she will likely have a greater appreciation for a variety of foods as she gets older.

One thing that helps with my kids is to not alter their perception of veggies when I serve them. I give them a bite then make a happy face and smile saying, "Mmmm!" and "Yummy!" Kids will mimic their parents and if they see that mommy likes it then they will want it too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

How i did for my daughter if it was frozen brocholi or stuff like that I put Cheese on them fresh veggies we us ranch salad dressing and they now eat green veggies and frozen veggies my youngest eats corn on the cob so i ad corn to certain dishes where she can't see them so i gues hide them in your food they like and can't see them they will figure out veggies are good for them just don't force htem to eat it or they never will



answers from Tulsa on

It's just a phase. My 6 year old went for a year refusing to eat any veggies but green beans. Then one day he refused to eat them and was taking the others off our plate faster than we could replace it.



answers from Topeka on

I think that it is just a phase or maybe she just dont like the texture. My 23 month old does that and all i can think is that she dotn like that texture. or maybe the flavor.



answers from Enid on

Hi! I agree with Libby. When my daugher was 2 she wouldn't eat anything but hot dogs and wouldn't drink anything but strawberry milk. I talked to my doctor and he said as long as she is eating not to worry about it. Kids go thru phases and will eat what they need. He was right and before long she was eating all kinds of things. Some of the things we try to push on our kids because they are healthy, they just don't like. My daughter would never drink apple juice or eat cheese. She is 16 now, has always been healthy as a horse, and still does not like these things. Don't worry, let her be picky. If she is eating, she will be fine, and she will probably go thru other phases like this with other foods. My 3 boys went thru similar phases too, but not to such extremes.



answers from Kansas City on

I'd say go with the flow, at least she'll eat veggies.

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