Before Luca turned one, he was the world’s greatest eater, as in – he ate anything and everything! My whole family marveled at his appetite, his food variety, and his motor skills developed from self-feeding. After one, he stopped eating 75% of the foods he once ate and started becoming… picky! As hard as we try to keep serving him vegetables and pray one day he’ll discover he really likes them, there are some ways I’ve squeezed vegetables into Luca’s diet to ensure he’s getting the proper nutrients, while still always serving whole vegetables.
It’s important to expose your child to these whole form vegetables, so that they can understand their true flavor, their texture, and visually recognize them. The idea is that after 30+ exposures, one day, they’ll pick up that familiar vegetable and say, “Okay, let’s see what this is all about.” Recently, that’s worked for me with salmon. He’s probably been served salmon 20 times and he hasn’t eaten it since he was 10 or 11 months old. The other night, he decided to have a forkful and then ate half of a 4oz piece of salmon! While it was hard those other 20 times to watch him ignore the salmon on his plate, it was all worth it when he ate it!
So yes, it’s important to serve vegetables (and other foods) whole, but this blog post is what to do in the interim, while your toddler is being picky and you still want them to eat vegetables!
My Favorite Ways To Add More Vegetables Into Toddler Meals
- Make this broccoli grilled cheese (you can use peas too!)
- Make a cheese quesadilla with chopped up vegetables (Luca likes spinach or finely chopped peppers)
- Make my blender muffins!
- Make a pasta dish or something with veggie-packed marinara sauce.
- Grate zucchini into oatmeal and stir well.
- Add vegetables to baked goods, like these sweet potato loaves.
- Use vegetables in place of lasagna noodles like with this enchilada bake.
- Make these English muffin pizzas with broccoli or peas.
- Add very finely chopped vegetables into burgers (turkey burger example here) or meatballs.
- Make any pizza with lots of veggie toppings, just put them underneath the cheese!
- This turkey, veggie and brown rice bake – the vegetables are in the rice and mixed with meat.
- Smoothies with spinach or kale!
- The Any Veggie Tots from Inspiralized and Beyond (I love using carrot, because it’s a hard vegetable for me to get Luca to eat!)
- Cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s (hey, there’s cauliflower in there and it tastes like pasta!)
- Finely grated carrot into applesauce (bonus points: hemp seeds too for protein!)
- Spiralize vegetables and sub them for spaghetti!
Your Favorite Ways To Add More Veggies Into Your Toddlers’ Meals
Over on Instagram, I asked you what your tricks were for squeezing more vegetables into your kids’ diets and here are some the great ideas you shared:
- Scrambled eggs with vegetables.
- Shredded carrots and zucchini into marinara sauce with pasta.
- Shred vegetables into cookies.
- Mac and cheese sauce blended in with pumpkin/butternut squash/sweet potato.
- Cauliflower rice in regular rice.
- Spinach in waffles.
- Zucchini and potato hash browns.
- Freeze cubes of zucchini and add to smoothies.
What are some ways you squeeze more veggies into your child’s diet?