10 Ways To Encourage Your Baby To Eat Vegetables
Thinking of baby led feeding? Aileen Cox Blundell of babyledfeeding.com gives her advice.
Getting little ones eating vegetables can be a struggle for any parent. Most of us have been there trying to coax our children into eating one more bite of broccoli or singing a silly song to get them to taste a carrot. Toddlers can one day eat every vegetable you put in front of them and the next tell you they hate everything that is green in colour. These tips are what worked for my little foodies when they were going through their fussy food times.
1. Cook a Variety of Colourful and Tasty Veggies
Making a variety of different veggies for your baby to eat throughout the week can make all the difference. Serving the same veggies every day to your baby can get boring and bland for them. By introducing various kinds of veggies to your babies you help liven up their meals. The wider array of colours will be very appealing to your baby too which may help them enjoy veggies more.
2. Show Your Baby that Eating Veggies is Fun
A great way to encourage your little one to eat their veggies is to make eating them more enjoyable. For example, tell them that eating carrots will help make them super strong. Or, relate vegetables to something they love, like a superhero or activity. This will help your baby associate veggies around a positive experience.
3. Dress Veggies Up
Try decorating the veggies you make for your baby into something that they find appealing, like a tree, animal or car. For example, if you’re making a few steamed carrots and broccoli, then you’ve got a colourful tree that your baby will be sure to enjoy. You can do this with all kinds of vegetables. The contrast in vibrant colours will be appeal to your baby, along with the unique shapes you create!
4. Limit Snacking Between Meals
If you’re feeding your baby sugary snacks right before their 3 big meals of the day, then you’re lowering your chance of getting your child to eat their vegetables during mealtime. They’ll be too full from the snack to be hungry for a big meal. Healthy snacks are necessary but just not so close to mealtimes.
5. Eat as a Family
Eating as a family can help influence your baby to eat their veggies. Your baby will be surrounded by people happily eating their meals and has a high chance of being inspired to do the same.
6. Reward Good Behaviour
Babies love affection, like most of us. Rewarding good food behaviour is a great way to encourage your baby to continue to eat their vegetables. Don’t constantly give them rewards such as sweet treats or dessert. Instead, if your baby eats their veggies, from time to time praise your child for eating so well and give them a big smile or get the entire family to clap! These positive affirmations will go a long way.
7. Eat What Your Baby Eats
Babies have a tendency to want what’s on other people’s plates. By filling your plate up with the same nutritious veggies you served your baby, you’re increasing the chances of your baby trying vegetables.
8. Don’t Force Your Baby to Eat
It’s not good to try and force your baby to finish their plate of food. It may put them off of eating vegetables even more. And, babies know when they’re full because their systems self-regulate. So forcing them mightn’t make their tummies feel good. Just save their meal for later when they do get hungry.
9. Offer a Choice of Vegetable
If your baby may be refusing one veggie a lot, try adding another veggie into the mix so that they have a couple of options for that meal. Allowing your baby to think they have a choice helps them feel in control of what they’re eating. By widening their options of vegetables, instead of offering an unhealthy snack instead just to get food into them, your baby will still be making a healthy choice.
10. Don’t Give Up!
It’s best to devise a plan and stick with it for the best results. If you break every once and awhile, then your baby might start to expect you to come up with substitutes for their veggies all the time. Keep at it and don’t lose your determination!