“Help! My Kid Won’t Eat Vegetables!”

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“If you were stuck on a desert island and you can have any food you want, what would it be?” If I asked my children this question, pizza, mac & cheese, cookies, and cake would definitely rank high on their lists. Perhaps even favorite fruits, like strawberries and apples, might make it. But, green beans, broccoli, and carrots would not even come close to their top ten.

Of course, when they were babies, food selection was so much simpler. Whether you purchased truckloads of those mini jars of good eats or you made your own veggie and fruit purees, you were confident as a parent that you were feeding your child the best. Then, something happened. You can blame it on the grandparents. Or, your child’s sudden food-pickyness. Or, even yourself. Wherever the breakdown occurred, you are faced with this dilemma: How do I get my kid to eat more vegetables?

When my children were younger, I tried virtually every tip and trick under the sun. From the passive method of putting the veggies on their plate at every meal without forcing them to eat it … to kid-friendly food presentations (i.e., “ants on a log” — They just scooped out all the peanut butter and raisins and left the limp celery sticks on the plate.) … to bribing them with a slice of chocolate cake for dessert. Nothing seemed to work, and I was desperate.

So, I went back to what worked before: pureed fruit and vegetables. No, I didn’t start feeding them baby food again. Well, not exactly. In my research, I discovered the method of using pureed fruit and vegetables to “hide” in your foods.

For this task, I recommend two books. You will find recipes for kid-friendly meals that include various purees as well as tips on what types of vegetables would go well in color and flavor with certain dishes.

[affiliate link]
The Sneaky Chef, by Missy Chase Lapine

[affiliate link]
Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld

So I dusted off my super-heavy food processor and got to work in my kitchen. I pureed away, then labeled and stored them in the freezer, ready to be used for the next dish that I make.

But the true test was in the taste … in particular, my kids’ taste. My first try was brownies, which contained pureed blueberries and spinach. When I took it out of the oven, the color was a lighter brown, it was more cake-like, but the taste wasn’t bad (for me, at least). But, I’m not the one that needed convincing. I held my breath after giving it to my kids. Can they tell?

To my motherly delight, they loved it and made no comment about the difference in color, texture, and taste!

So, whether it was a recipe from the books or one of our usual meals, those purees went into almost anything. And when I didn’t have time to make my own purees, I just popped open a baby food jar of carrots and poured it into the simmering spaghetti sauce (when the kids weren’t looking).

Do you have picky eaters? What have you done to get your child to eat more vegetables?

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Thank you for your support! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Click here for more information on my disclosure.

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14 thoughts on ““Help! My Kid Won’t Eat Vegetables!”

  1. This is a regular battle at our household. I’ve been conflicted about adding vegetable and fruit puree to dishes. On one hand, I feel like kids need to learn to eat food as they are but on the other hand, sometimes disguising vegetables are the only way to get vitamins in them. A mother’s work is never done!

    1. I experienced the same conflict too. I knew I didn’t want to puree vegetables forever. When I noticed that my older kids began to outgrow some of their food-pickyness, I started to re-introduce veggies as is. I know it may not be the case for all kids, but often their refusal to eat veggies is just a phase. Putting the pureed version in familiar dishes may give moms that peace of mind … I know it did for me. Thanks for coming by! I noticed I haven’t been receiving your posts. Have you been on break? I’ve been adding blogs that I follow on Bloglovin’, and I tried to add yours but could not find it in there.

  2. Oh man, I lucked out. So far at least. My three year old steals tomatoes off the counter to eat. I drink green smoothies and she wants to share them. I once served broccoli as a side at dinner, and that’s all she ate. I think it might have to do with how many vegetables I eat? I’m vegan so she sees me eat *a lot* of veggies and so it’s maybe just normal to her? But I’m going to remember this…. Just in case 😉

    1. Lucky you! It certainly helps when you are eating lots of veggies yourself. I had some bad eating habits before that, unfortunately, did not present a good example to my kids. I’m trying to eat healthier, but it’s definitely more challenging to convince my kids to get on board the healthy train with me.

  3. I think we lucked out on this one too. At least in part. Two of my three children are great eaters (the third isn’t eating yet). They eat pretty much everything we eat, from brussell sprouts to swiss chard to your basic carrots, broccoli, etc. They don’t always love everything but they do at least eat a small portion. Sometimes they surprise us and eat thirds of asparagus or salad. Our best guesses as to what has helped? Homemade baby food that doesn’t diminish texture or flavor and always serving them what we eat from the time they were starting to eat finger food (obvious necessary exceptions apply).
    But I would definitely suggest getting the vitamins in how you can as long as there as some whole options presented too. You never know how they will surprise you!

    1. Yes, I think starting out right and being examples of healthy eaters really make a difference. With my first two kids, we didn’t work that hard in instilling good eating habits in the early years, so we’ve been trying to undo a lot of bad habits. It’s been a lot better now though. I’m actually pleasantly surprised when they eat their veggies without complaint and even ask for more.

  4. Awesome idea! Haha, those brownies had to have made you nervous, knowing just was in them! 😀 I’m going to have to do this with Sam because whoa, is he picky!

    1. Hope it will work with him! Some kids are just born with a built-in veggie detector, and they just know the food that you’re giving them is not quite right. 🙂

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