Why won’t my child eat vegetables? And what can I do about it?
Jessica Graumann, a registered dietitian at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, frequently hears this question from frustrated parents. She has identified three common roadblocks and offers some simple solutions.
Graumann suggests that parents cut long, thin strips of vegetables such as carrots and cucumbers. For broccoli and cauliflower, break the florets into “trees” small enough for a child to chew easily. Shredding vegetables with grater or food processer can also be a great option—especially for toddlers, who enjoy picking up items with interesting textures.
“The best part of having pre-cut veggies on hand is that you can use them to quickly prepare stir fries and soups that the whole family will enjoy,” Graumann said.
“It might take many attempts before your child tries a new food,” Graumann said. “Keep the experience positive and avoid power struggles. You can’t force a child to eat, but you can offer a variety of healthy options at every meal.”
“It can be tempting to cook separate meals for adults and kids, but you’ll have more success if you focus on a family meal,” Graumann said. She added that meals don’t need to be complicated. “When it comes to kids, a simple meal with that includes bite-sized veggies and dip can be just as appealing—if not more so—than a complicated recipe,” she said.
Mix thoroughly and then allow to sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.