Son Won't Eat Fruit or Vegetables

Updated on October 14, 2009
J.B. asks from Mesa, AZ
11 answers

Hi Moms,

I am hoping you can help me! My son is 21 months old and will not eat fruit or vegetables. I know that toddlers are picky, but with him it's crazy. The funny thing is he will eat fruit or veggies if it's in baby food form, but won't eat it cut up. I am really trying to not buy baby food anymore because I think it's time for him to eat fruit and veggies whole. I cut it all up in tiny pieces, but he just spits it out. I have tried to hide veggies in other things he likes, but he knows it's in there and spits it out. I am a busy working mom so I don't have a lot of time to puree my own food or do anything like that. I am not super surprised that he doesn't like veggies, but I am surprised that he won't eat the fruit. I don't know if it's a texture thing or what. He will eat yogurt and applesauce, and if I give him baby food veggies he will eat that. I give him V8 juice since it has veggies and fruit in it so he can get at least something! Any ideas on what to do? Does anyone else have this same issue with their child? I am out of ideas! I don't know what to do as I have tried everything and nothing seems to work!

Thanks!
J.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great advice! I am going to take a little bit of each suggestion. I did go back to babyfood for a little bit. I don't have time to puree my own food as I work a lot. If he needs babyfood for a bit longer than I am ok with it! Just want him to get at least some nutrients!

More Answers

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D.S.

answers from Phoenix on

my son is 21 months also and still only likes fruit and veg in baby food form. I just keep feeding it to him and am glad he eats vegies and fruit in any form. Also buy large containers of apple sauce and yogurt he loves that too.

1 mom found this helpful
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E.M.

answers from Phoenix on

My daughter likes the veggie/fruit juices sold pre-bottled (in cold section of store). Or you could get a juicer and make your own. That gets rid of the texture problem, but you would have fresh vitamins and enzymes still intact.

1 mom found this helpful
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D.S.

answers from Albuquerque on

Just keep giving him the pureed vegetables and fruit and be glad he's at least eating that! I'm sure he just doesn't like the texture of real food yet and eventually he'll come around. Seems like we all try to rush our kids into older kidhood. Enjoy his babyhood and just give him the jar food for now. Keep offering him the cut up food on his plate, and eventually he will eat it. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful
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L.M.

answers from Phoenix on

There are vitamins with fruits and vegetables in it. Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious is tending to work my way right now. And even making homemade juice with carrots/apple juice is good too.

Oh yeah I just bought the Bullet Express last week. I use the juicer attachment first. So whatever is left over the puree/scraps, I use that and make carrot/apple muffins, bread, waffles, pancakes, meatloaf, etc. I even have done yam before too. It is great!

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D.K.

answers from Phoenix on

Since you know that he will eat them in baby food it isn't the taste. You are in a power struggle and the only way for you to win is to keep serving them. He will get hungry enough, trust me, this sounds cruel but it is either stand your ground or don't.

My daughter, now 10, is EXTREMELY strong willed and we have had power struggles since birth. Actually it has probably been since the womb. I was on bedrest from 20 weeks to 36 and on medication to stop labor. We went to the hospital at least a dozen times because the contractions didn't respond to rest and medicine. Then at 36 weeks when it was "safe" for her to be born the little turkey didn't come for almost 2 weeks.

Anyway...my point is...you have to enforce that you are in charge. And he will eat what is served. When he gets a little older he will be able to better understand that he has a choice to eat or the choice to be hungry. For now, when he rejects the plate calmly take it away and don't do anything else. NExt time he complains of being hungry, you offer him the same meal.

Good luck

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S.L.

answers from Tucson on

puree it or juice it all - or get sweet potatoes and squash for him - make pies out of it if he's picky about them ;-)

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C.M.

answers from Phoenix on

I say keep introducing. I forget what the number of times is that you have to introduce a new food before they will actually try it, but it's actually pretty high. And if your son is used to eating veggies/fruit in baby food form, then the whole/raw form is new to him. It's very hard to let go of the control of their eating for us, I know. I have a daughter who is now 22 months who is a great eater...when she wants to be, but if she's not interested, get out of the way! Fortunately, I have three others that have turned out to be good eaters, so I know it'll be ok, but if this is your first/only, you're still learning that. But if you only offer what you want them to eat, they will try it when they get hungry enough. My daughter, on her good days, likes the cooked carrots (sliced/frozen in the bag), frozen peas, frozen corn niblets (yes, she actually prefers these frozen), sliced red and yellow peppers. I also peel apples and slice them really thin, grapes, nectarines, peaches. Cantalope is hit/miss. Good luck - don't give up!!

P.S. There are some babies who have real texture aversion issues, and I don't mean to be insensitive to that. But given your sons age, I really believe it to be more of a control thing. Why shouldn't he get what he wants? He always has, right?

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K.G.

answers from Phoenix on

Dear J.,

My doctor recommended Juice Plus in chewable or gummy form. It is whole food of 17 different fruits,vegetables, and grains that come in capsule, chewable, or gummy form. It is researched by universites and hospitals around the world. This is why so many health professionals recommend it, such as the infamous pediatrician Jim Sears. It improved the immune systems of my whole family which is why I became a distributor. $22.75 plus your local tax per month. Please go to my website at www.kguestsharesjuiceplus.com.

Best Wishes,

K Guest

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L.M.

answers from Tucson on

My son is 3 and still hates fruits and veggies of any shape, size, color, prep method. I've had to resort to two books...The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious--these are the only ways I get fruits and veggies into him. Even with boxed mac and cheese I will mix in a container of carrot or sweet potato baby food (as I'm too lazy to make any more purees then I have to). HOW you get them into their diet isn't important as long as they get it somehow. I've also taken to making my own protein shakes for him (found simple recipes online) that include blueberries, super green foods, Omega 3-6-9's, and stabilized rice brain (Bob's Red Barn brand). It is a bit of a struggle (everything is yucky until he tastes the stuff) but he takes it quite readily.

Some things just aren't worth the struggle and it's easier to work WITH a child isntead of against them and trying to "control" or "assert your authority." You can do that, and end up with more power struggles because you're so busy trying to "control" them. We still offer my son cooked and/or raw fruits and veggies and try to work with him to get him to eat them, but I don't stress anymore since I started using the above books and his home-made shake.

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J.K.

answers from Phoenix on

You can puree fruits and veggies and use a juice extractor (juicer) for fresh juice. Keep trying to give him cut up fruits and veggies too. He'll get used to the new texture eventually... good luck!

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L.M.

answers from Phoenix on

I have zero advice except to say that my 15 mos old is the same way. I am trying to get her off of baby food and every type of regular food I give her she chews and spits out (except for cheerio's). With mine, I think it's a texture thing and getting used to a new way of eating (as opposed to me spooning in baby food). Sounds like yours is the same. I just keep offering food and hope that one day she will eventually get used to it and chew AND swallow it.

People have suggested to me to try veggie burgers, or to mix food into the babyfood (which I do), or to coat food with something crunchy like crunched up cheerio's. I think it's a texture thing and getting used to it.