My 2 Year Old Eats NO Veggies or Fruit

Updated on October 24, 2011
B.S. asks from New York, NY
20 answers

Any pointers? Veggies I get, but fruit??? An occasional banana and thats it! Her diet consists of organic breaded chicken, pizza, mac and chesse, french toast, waffles and pancakes. Every other child I know her age eats lots of fruits. It's so frustrating. I understand this is a picky age but this is extreme. She also begs for snacks all the time! Cheerios, pretzels, gold fish, etc.! i feel like these fill her up too much. Any tips on avoiding that! the tantrums are really exhausting to deal with these days being I have a not so great sleeper 4 month old as well! thanks in advance...

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answers from Appleton on

Keep introducing them to her. You make her plate so put a few peices of veggie on her plate at lunch and dinner. She has to try them, eat 2 peices, before she can leave the table. Let her yell and whatever she does as a tantrum as soon as she sees this is not going to work she'll eat. At snack time tell her she must eat some fruit before she gets anything else. Buy some red or black grapes, (they are sweeter) some oranges, apples and offer a few pieces with meals and snacks again she has to taste them. If she sees you eat them and tell her how good they are she will be more likly to eat them.
Introduce as many new foods as you can before she is 3. I heard a news story several years ago about the fact that at 3 if a child does not reconize a food product they will not eat it. It goes back to the caveman days when humans were hunter/gathers, at 3 children started helping to gather berries and other foods, since so many berries can be poisenous they didn't pick if they didn't know it. And somehow that instict is still with humans all these years later.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

We know kids age 5-10 who eat no veggies or fruit, but even when they were guests at my home and I insisted, they refused. In their case, I put up all snacks and told them here is a bowl of fruit. When their M. came, they told on me so she took them to McDonalds for a happy meal and large coke.

I don't battle over food but in my house, I simply can't buy junk or my child and husband will load up. They won't starve and it is stressful, but I don't have any ideas to get them to eat healthy. I had to stop buying cereal, crackers, and such which wasn't really healthy either. I hope some moms on here have other ideas.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Charlotte on

Oh Kate, I feel for you. Please don't think I am trying to beat you up here - I really am not. I just have to tell you that I have a friend who is a doctor, and she is a VERY good doctor. But where her child was concerned, she wore blinders. He had a very limited diet, and it included the kind of stuff you are talking about. He is now 19 years old, big as a house, is pre-diabetic, and she gives him Citracel in his soda (yes, soda) every day because he is tremendously constipated. She allowed him to rule the roost where food was concerned, and he simply CANNOT eat foods that he has never eaten.

She should have gotten him an OT who dealt with feeding and sensory issues when he was little. If she had a patient who was having this problem, she would have sent them for help.

And I really think that this is what you should do for your daughter.

Some of this may be behavioral, and you should deal with that as well. But giving her nothing but carbs is setting her up for weight issues, trouble for her colon, and possibly diabetes down the road.

You need help to change this. Get your doctor to help you and ask for an OT who has experiences with oral sensory and feeding problems.

Good luck, Kate.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Unfortunately, you have a bit of an expectation to undo, and your daughter will have a hard time adjusting her tastes at this age to include what you want her to eat. You will probably need to cut back on the snacks if she's ever going to try other foods. With my grandson, we let him graze at will on little bowls of fruits, diced and sliced veggies, occasional cheese, omelet bites, etc. He simply doesn't get snacks or dessert until we're satisfied he's eaten well.

But kids' taste buds naturally go on strike in the toddler years. They become much less adventurous. Some child developmental specialists believe this was probably nature's way of protecting them from poisoning themselves on toxic or inedible substances. So now is a particularly bad time to urge her to try new foods.

But you could try offering very small, attractively-arranged bowls of sliced fruits instead of goldfish or pretzels. If she demands her usual snacks, you could tell her you don't have any (and make this the truth – either don't buy them, or keep them well hidden). You can have a fruit party, having her toys help prepare and share the fruit. You could also try banana chips and dried fruits.

I love the phrase, "Be as inevitable as the tides." If you waver, she'll sense your lack of calm resolve and work it for all she's worth. She may tantrum. You can empathize, letting her know you understand how disappointed she is. And this fruit is what there is to eat for this snack.

Realize that she has gained a taste for some rather addictive foods, even if they are organic – high in brain-gratifying fats, salt, and refined starches, probably sugars as well. She may have a hard time giving up her "comfort" foods. But her long-term health is at stake. Her sleep may actually improve after awhile if her general nutrition improves. Many healthy foods have a salutary effect on the nervous system.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Give her fruits and veggies. You're the mom. You control what you give her to eat. Yes, she'll resist but gradually she'll learn to eat veggies and fruits.

What do you do with a temper tantrum? Why are they so exhausting? That would, seems to me, a place to start. Either completely ignore the tantrum or pick her up and put her in her room saying that you do not want to listen to her screaming. When the tantrums have a consequence she'll learn it's to her advantage to not have tantrums.

Tantrums are exhausting but become less so when we ignore them. Make the tantrum her problem instead of yours. Once she realizes she's not going to get you involved and that you won't give in she'll stop them. It will take time.

Include a fruit or veggie along with the chicken, etc. She has to have one bite. It takes several times trying a new food to develop a liking of it. Provide her with fruits and veggies for snacks. Stop giving her only cheerios, pretzels, gold fish, etc.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

What we have done with my son is feed him what we are eating. We started this when he started solids so it might be a little more difficult for you to switch but it will be worth it. If I was having oatmeal, strawberries and coffee for breakfast, he got oatmeal, strawberries and milk.

Since she is already 2, you can explain to her that things are going to change. I would simply stop BUYING all the processed food - breaded chicken, pizza, mac & cheese, goldfish etc. If they are not in the house then tantrums won't work.

When she wants a snack, offer her two options - both healthy ones - say banana or avocado and let her choose. I see nothing wrong with her snacking (you could certainly say no snacks less than an hour before dinner) - if she fills up on green beans and an apple, so what if she eats less at dinner.

We do eat waffles, pancakes and french toast - we make them from scratch on the weekends. That way, when they are gone, they are gone - not available to pull out and microwave. (we do now freeze extra pancakes but DS currently only asks for them for breakfast)

Research has shown that it takes toddlers and average of 12-16 times trying a new food before they will reliably eat it. So keep trying. There is also research that shows that 'hiding' foods (Sneaky Chef approach) does NOT result in kids who choose to eat more fruits and veggies. Also, bribing them to eat a food makes them LESS likely to eat that food the next time it is presented.

Have her help make the food - my son is way more likely to try foods that he 'made' , picked in the garden or selected at the supermarket. At two he was able to mix, whisk, scoop and pour - all with assistance. We also got him a plastic lettuce knife so he could cut soft things. It takes longer to cook with this 'assistance' but it is worthwhile.

We do not fight about what he eats. Since we only put food on his plate that we are happy with him eating - he can eat it or not. We do ask him to try new things when we have something he has not had before - he just does try it. Sometimes he likes it, sometimes not the first time. We do not make him eat anything before dessert. Dessert is fruit and he can have it whether or not he ate much at dinner.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Try serving only fruits and veggies some meals. Try serving only fruits and veggies for snack. You can make it fun by cutting up lots of different things and putting them in ice cube trays. And have several dips (yogurt, sweet salad dressing, sour cream, hummus, cheese sauce or whatever you can think of) to dip things in. Anyway, that is hard. Does she see you and dad eating fruits and veggies very often? Our 1st child was really picky since he was born and he did not like much either but he did eat some fruits and veggies. Remain totally calm when she has a tantrum and just keep trying. Hold your ground. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Some time when you go out take cut up fruit with you and when she gets hungry offer it. Tell her there is nothing else when she throws a fit. This is how I turned my son on to fruit. He always liked veggies so I got lucky there...
You could also try a book called "The Sneaky Chef" it's a cookbook of dishes that hide and or disguise vegetables and fruits.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Put them into a smoothie.....

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answers from Topeka on

Just reading what she eats makes me sick to my stomach how can a child thrive on these foods.Stop buying them switch her diet offer small portions to her if she is wanting to snack give her an option of an apple or orange,buy yogurts applesauce etc.Chop up apples into bite size pieces many don't like the skin on them so try both ways top it with a tbs of yogurt sprinkle of granola if she likes it add in more fruits.Snacks do trail mixes any way you want keep the Goldfish,pretzels,&Cheerios just add in dried fruits,tiny M&M's.Eat meals like breakfast,lunch & dinner at the correct time let her know what your preparing let her see it again offer a small portion she is to try it if not save it for later when she asks for a snack.The tantrums will not end they it is how us as a parent handles them when they do occur.If you don't already check out a childrens cook book.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Make oatmeal and add in chopped strawberries and blackberries.

Add blueberries in the pancakes/waffles. Use applesauce in baked goods instead of oil.

Stop giving her the crappy snacks and all of those carbs. My kids HAVE to eat a serving of veggies/fruit or whatever before they are allowed their favorite part of the meal. Give her healthier choices at every meal, she will eventually learn to like them, but not if she is given a choice between a healthy option and a pancake.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I have found that when my kids are hungry enough, they'll eat ANY snacks probably isn't a good idea. (but don't beat yourself up too much!) Why don't you try this delicious smoothie recipe:

1 bag frozen fruit (I like to use blueberries but you can use mixed fruit or whatever, really)
2 or 3 bananas
2-3 cups organic vanilla (or plain) yogurt
4 tbsp milled flax seed (optional)

serves 2-3 - approximately 400-500 calories/serving (we do this as a meal, not a snack)

Sometimes if my kids haven't eaten fruits or veggies in a while, I serve them and insist that they can't have anything else to eat until their fruit or vegetable is gone. They eat it. Even fresh spinach leaves! :) (ages 2 & 4) Good luck. :-)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

Maybe try dipping sauces. Yogurt for fruit and ranch for veggies. Or you can try sweetening the veggies up a little bit (example-butter and brownsugar glaze for carrots). There is a cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld called Deceptively Delicious. It gives you tons of recipes on sneaking fruits and veggies into their diets by using purred versions as ingredients in recipes. If you make your own pizza, you can try purreed veggies mixed with your regular pizza sauce (same for pasta sauce), and you can use fruit purees in pancakes, waflles etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Three things:
1) Stop pressuring (i.e. even asking your child to taste) fruits and vegetables for awhile. The more you want it to happen, the more she'll resist.
2) Make a conscious effort to rotate through the foods she will eat so no food appears two days in a row (or at least not for the same meal). To do this you'll have to mix up when you feed her what she already eats: breakfast stuff at lunch, snack foods at dinner, etc.
3) Set some structure around meals and snacks so your daughter doesn't eat whenever she wants but must wait for meals or snacks and deal with tantrums immediately as you would any other discipline problem.

Do these 3 things consistently for a few weeks and everything will magically improve.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Something that helps my DD is if she sees us eating it. Give her a bit of what you are eating at dinner and teach her that if she doesn't want it, she can say, "No thank you" but she shouldn't throw a fit about it.

I would also limit snacks to small amounts or certain times. If she's eating goldfish all day, she won't be hungry for more.

Try to make it fun. My DD will eat peas from the pod, but doesn't like cooked peas on their own. She likes the activity of picking the peas out and progressed from just peas to the pod, too. Cut oranges into "smiles" and put raisins on peanut butter-filled celery (you can remove the strings) for "ants on a log". Etc.

The other thing is if she raises a fuss, then don't rise to her bait. She wants you to give in. YOU need to just be calm. This is what you can have right now and if you don't want it, that's okay, but that's what's for this meal. If you can give her an offer of 2 things you want her to eat, that might help her need for control.

That said, I'm not a "you will eat this or else" person. I don't believe in re-offering my DD her dinner for breakfast if she didn't finish. She will get it later just like I eat leftovers later, but I'll give her a regular breakfast. If she truly doesn't want it, we try other food. Kids need to see and experience food many times before they truly like/dislike a food.

I also will give DD something she might eat, something she will eat and something that's a wild card. See what she does. Sometimes she really surprises me, like with broccoli.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I haven't read the Sneaky Chef, but I assume it's about incorporating fruits and veggies into things with the children knowing. This seems like a low power struggle approach. I'd offer fruits, veggies or these new items at the early part of the meal when she is really hungry. My child loves fruits and veggies, but also eats them when she doesn't really realize it, ie:
-tuna melt with corn and parsely stirred it
-tuna noodle casserole with peas
-pancakes made with appleasauce and banana or other fruit chunks
-yogurt dip with applesauce and maybe some all fruit jam stirred in (to dip pancakes in)
-oatmeal with plumped raisins and applesauce stirred in
-spinach and jack quesadilla
-zucchini bread
-stir fry with very small chunks of veggie

Good luck and remember that it can take many many times trying a new food before a child gets used to it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Check out these books

"How to get your child to eat (but not too much)"

"Food Chaining: the kid-tested solution for stress-free mealtimes"

"Just Take A Bite: Easy, effective answers to food aversions and eating challenges"

The first book is most useful if your child is a normal picky eater who is just going through a food jag. The second two books are good ones to look through if you believe your child has some serious sensory problems that affect her eating.

Please remember that most of the "standard" advice for picky eaters is irrelevant and/or counterproductive if your child has a genuine eating problem. If people are giving you advice that you feel would be seriously harmful to your child, feel free to ignore it. Some kids truly will starve rather than eat certain foods.

If you believe your child has a real problem with food, get help from an occupational therapist.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I had the same thing when my daughter was 2. We tried most of the other advice that I see listed in the comments. However, at that age, it made no difference.
If I had tried to stick to my guns about her eating the 'right' food, then it made ALL meals arguments - and kept her hungry. So, we decided to keep offering fruits/veggies, and suggesting that she try them, but did not try to force her to eat them.
Fast forward a few years - as of about when she turned 5 - she is MUCH more open about trying foods. She is willing to take a bite and see if she likes it or not. (Which did not happen before at all.) She also has discovered foods that she likes - that previously she had refused.
So, while I agree to try the other suggestions, I would also feel OK about yourself, and know that some kids have a harder time trying new food. Some of it really is just an age thing.
One suggestion that helped ease my frustration was to put the meal on the table - whatever we were having, but make sure that one of the items was something that she would like. Then, she was allowed to eat anything she wanted for dinner - that was on the table. (No making Mom run to the kitchen another 300 times to customize her meal!) Sure, that meant a few meals of only bread, or whatever the item was that she liked... but it got rid of me running around, and her having too much control. She could choose from a select set of items. I did not want the meals to be always an argument... Kids eat WAT TOO OFTEN to make that fun!

Also, for the record... My #2 kiddo - he eats just about anything you put in front of him. If it is on your plate, even better! We did not change how we introduced foods - he is just a totally different kid when it comes to food.
That is important, because I know with issues like this you can beat yourself up as a bad parent. That is not likely the case.... Your kid just marches to the beat of a different drum.
Keep offering the fruits/veggies and keep reminding her that if she wants to be big and strong - then fruits and veggies are her friends.... Eventually she will get it. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Definitely don't push - just fix some and put a bit on the plate and also your plates and eat it! Once she sees that, she will eventually try it. Raw cut-up veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery) and ranch dressing or peanut butter -- same with some fruits! It'll take a bit, but she'll try esp if she sees you liking it!


answers from Kansas City on

sounds like my son. Look up SPD and picky eating. I have had to buy vitamin drops and DHA/Omega 3 drops and put it in his milk, together with some baby puree (fruit/veg) Will she eat from those pouches? If she can, then I would offer that as desert, start with a tasty fruit variety until she likes it, then start with a fruit/veg mix, then move on gradually to the veg. I tasted it, it really tastes quite pleasant.

If not, squeeze it in her milk and add some Danone Danimals yogurt drink to add flavor. (plain greek yogurt will work too, adds smoothness and protien.)

BTW it sounds like she is getting all the variety of food in, bananas are the so called superfruit... potassium is good for her.

You can go to your local whole food stores and ask for a milkshake/powder mix for kids who dont eat fruit/veg. Think it comes in chocolate and strawberry flavor. Add a little Benifiber if you are worried about her digestion.

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