Getting your toddler to eat his or her vegetables can really can be fun when you make it a priority. While we all know it is best to lead by example and help them learn to love food, sometimes a different preparation is all it takes to make a difference.

A New Vegetable a Week

Getting your toddler to eat his or her vegetables can really can be fun when you make it a priority. While we all know it is best to lead by example and help them learn to love food, sometimes a different preparation is all it takes to make a difference.

New Vegetable a Week…

Get a calendar and some stickers for your older toddler. Tell them the plan- “We are going to try a new vegetable each week!”. Get them excited about being part of the process. As they have a serving of the new vegetable each day put a sticker on the calendar. Not only will your excitement encourage them to continue to try new things, seeing a sticker on each day will provide even further motivation.

Each day try a new preparation method. Steaming, sautéing, grilling, roasting, boiling, stir-fry, and panning are all great methods of preparation. To get the best nutrition from your vegetables remember the three Rs: reduce the amount of water used, reduce the cooking time, and reduce the amount of exposed surface by limiting cutting, paring, and shredding (in other words, big chunks are better than slivers).

And, remember, your kids don’t need a whole lot for the benefit to still be there.  A serving size for a typical child is 1/3 to 2/3 cup of juice, 2 to 4 tablespoons cooked vegetables, or 1/2 to 1 whole carrot or tomato. Even these small amounts really contribute important nutrients to your child’s diet.

Making it Simple

  • At the beginning of the week cut and prepare vegetables to place in glass containers in your refrigerator. Having them already prepared for cooking or snacking increases the likelihood that the foods will be eaten.
  • Add something to the vegetable. Sprinkle with organic Parmesan cheese, serve with a low-fat yogurt dipping sauce, hummus, or a light dressing.
  • Serve with other favorite foods. If your child is a big pizza fan get them to try a pizza loaded with veggies.  Or serve them alongside their favorite slice.
  • Bring the new vegetable with you! Keeping the serving sizes in mind, bring an individual container while you are out for the day. Give your child plenty of opportunities to get their sticker!