As a parent, you probably know how important and valuable it is for your children to eat healthy foods in order to grow strong and be free from any possible sickness. While feeding your kids with vegetables is always a great idea, it’s easier said than done.
Among all the foods you can give your baby, vegetables might be at the bottom of the list because they taste too bland in comparison to other foods like meat, desserts, and sweets. While there’s no harm in giving them meat and pastries, getting them to eat vegetables would always be beneficial for their health. With that, listed below are some tricks to make your baby eat and, hopefully, like vegetables:
1. Offer Them In A Different Form
If your child is automatically disgusted or fussed whenever they see vegetables on the table, you might want to consider offering veggies in a different form. If your baby loves eating puffs, Serenity Kids and other similar companies sell healthy snacks that provide all the vegetable nutrients your baby needs. It should enable your child to become accustomed to the taste of vegetables and gradually accept eating real ones.
Alternatively, you can cut out pieces of vegetables and make them fun and enjoyable for your child to eat. Take carrot, chayote, and eggplant, for example. Since they’re firm and can be cut into slices, you can use a small cookie cutter to give them cute shapes. This way, you’ll be able to give your child a different perspective on vegetables.
2. Take The Lead
Babies enjoy mimicking sounds and actions. In order to benefit from this, you should eat your vegetables in front of them so that they will copy you. In addition, babies pick up new abilities through repetition. If you consistently feed them vegetables, they will learn how to do so without forcing them, as being repeatedly pressured to eat what they dislike will definitely make them cry.
Remember that you should always take the lead and serve as an example. You can show them how much you love eating vegetables by doing gestures such as holding your tummy after taking a spoonful or making a face that shows what you ate was delicious. Once they see you chew happily on vegetables, they might consider taking a bite and eventually enjoy it.
3. Start With Non-Green Vegetables
Admittedly, not all vegetables taste inviting, especially those with sour and bitter tastes. While those flavors can provide maximum nutritional benefits, it’s best not to shove them into your baby’s mouth as they might develop trauma and hatred towards every type of vegetable you try to offer them. With that, you should feed them vegetables that don’t look and taste like one.
You can start off with non-green vegetables like squash or carrots as they can appear to be a different type of food because of their bright yellow and orange coloring. There are simple ways to make eating them enjoyable. You can cook the squash and mash it with a small amount of peanut butter or use the carrots to make fries. By doing this, your baby will enjoy eating vegetables without even realizing it.
4. Always Make Them Available On The Table
Most pediatricians recommend offering vegetables to your baby at least ten times before giving up. Even though the food preparations may be difficult and you might encounter many rejections, you should keep trying until your baby finally gives in and tries the vegetables. When your baby sees vegetables frequently, they might assume they’re just ordinary food and nothing special. With that, you should keep offering vegetables to your baby as much as you can.
Apart from putting vegetables on your baby’s plate, you should also make them available on the table for everyone else in your house to eat. Once your baby sees that everyone is grabbing one for their plate, they may become curious and decide to take a bite. However, this will require extra patience as you need to wait until your baby feels comfortable with eating vegetables.
5. Look For Fun Vegetable Recipes
As already mentioned, one reason why babies hate eating vegetables is because of their bland taste and flavor. Their appearance might not also be as exciting and appetizing compared to meat and fruits. In making vegetable meals, you should look for various veggie recipes that a child would enjoy.
There are plenty of veggie recipes online that can be fun for your children to eat. You can create a wide range of meals that include veggie nuggets, patties, and pasta. Your goal is to seamlessly incorporate vegetables into their regular foods and allow them to get the most nutritional value out of it. In this manner, you can avoid forcing them to eat vegetables. Once they feel comfortable with your recipes, you could show them how you make them so they’ll understand that they’re made of veggies.
6. Let Them Feed Themselves
Not all babies like to be spoon-fed, especially those who want to constantly move. In this case, you should consider letting your baby feed themselves so they can both eat and meet their physical needs. This is commonly known as Baby-Led Weaning (BLW). All you have to do is give your baby finger-sized food that’s soft enough for them to chew on. While it might be messy; doing this fosters independence and satisfies your baby’s need for physical activity.
As you introduce your baby to BLW, you should put vegetables that they can explore on their plate. Even if they don’t initially try to put them in their mouth, simply touching the vegetables suggests that they are interested in the food that is being offered to them. Keep introducing various textures to your baby in the hopes that one day they’ll try to chew on them.
7. Extend Variety
If you give your baby just one kind of vegetable and they reject it, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they will reject all vegetables. Before you give up on feeding them nutritious meals, you should consider letting them sample every vegetable you have available. They might be able to eat one kind of vegetable that they feel at ease with, which is already a win.
Once your baby finds their favorite vegetable, you can slowly introduce them to another kind— preferably one with a similar texture and flavor. This will allow you to find out if they enjoy the way it tastes or feels in their hands. You can adjust accordingly and wait until your baby’s comfortable with eating every kind of vegetable you put on the table.
One of the hardest things you can do as a parent is to get your baby to eat and like vegetables, especially since they don’t have a particularly appetizing taste and appearance. But if you put in the effort to learn new recipes, prepare them frequently, and discover your baby’s preferred flavor and texture, you should be able to get your baby to become accustomed to one type of vegetable before introducing the rest. With a little bit of patience, along with a tremendous amount of time and love, you’ll be able to get your baby to eat vegetables in no time.