How to Get Your Toddler to Eat Vegetables
The benefits the body can get from vegetables are no secret. However, not everyone seems to fancy eating the recommended serving of greens a day, more so for toddlers. Most food commercials depict toddlers as one of the pickiest eaters in the world, and we are sure that parents will agree to this to some extent. This is why we will offer some advice on how to get your toddler to eat vegetables, so they can acquire proper bodily and brain development.
Toddlers are at an age where vital changes take place in their bodies. What your children eat can directly affect this phase of development. Given the significant role of vegetables in your child's growth, let us tackle the reasons why toddlers need to eat veggies and tips on how to make them do it.
Why Are Vegetables Important in Your Child's Diet?
For toddlers who are still undergoing development, each serving of nutrients matter. According to Harvard Health, the body needs a variety of at least 30 vitamins, minerals and dietary components to perform its basic function.
Vegetables are a ready source for the essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. One of the things that makes veggies a necessary part of a person's diet is that your body cannot produce these nutrients in sufficient amounts by itself. This is especially true for toddlers who are still undergoing developmental changes.
Tips on How to Get Your Toddlers Eat Vegetables
Getting your kids to take a mouthful of greens can be challenging but not impossible. With the right approach, you can have your child clearing their plate of vegetables without the tantrums.
Set an Example for Your Kids
May it be your hobbies, speech or how you act at home, toddlers tend to imitate adults in many ways. Even your eating habits will not go unnoticed to these keen little fellows. Showing your toddlers that you enjoy eating veggies can entice them to try it for themselves.
The usual chop-and-cook method is not the only way to serve vegetables. To kids, the taste is not the only reason why they refuse to eat their veggies. Visual appeal plays an important factor in this as well:
- Deep fry batter-coated veggies and serve it with salsa or guacamole. Ground it up and mix it with burger patties or use it to create the patty itself.
- Vegetable purees are easy to sneak into your kid's food. Use it as a sauce or a dip for their favorite meals.
- Add some vegetables to their smoothies.
Get Them Involved in the Cooking Process
Knowing how the food was made makes food more appealing for kids. Take them to the kitchen while you are cooking and let them do simple tasks, such as adding the chopped veggies to the dish. There are many little things you can have your kids do to help you depending on their age and how they are willing to listen to instructions.
There are a number of ways to get your child to like vegetables. However, what may work for others may not have the same effect on your toddler. Also, even the most appropriate approach may take several tries before hitting the mark. Learning to like something can take time, especially for children. Keep your patience and remember that this process is a learning experience for both you and your kid.
What Vegetables Are Best for Your Toddler?
At their age, toddlers are experiencing changes in their bodies. These changes require a sufficient amount of nutrients to support optimal development. What they eat matters and there are certain vegetables needed to support their development:
- Sweet potatoes. They are rich in vitamin B6, which is crucial for cognitive development. It is also packed with vitamin C and copper. All these three elements promote immunity and iron absorption.
- Carrots. Carrots are abundant in vitamin A, which promotes healthy eyesight and aids in cell growth. It also contains beta-carotene, which fights harmful free radicals in the body.
- Peas. Abundant with vitamin C, K, fiber and folate, it offers numerous health benefits for children, including support for the brain, eyes and bone development.
Although the main topic revolves around vegetables, we decided to include a couple of noteworthy fruits on the list. The reason being equally important for your child's nutrition as any vegetable we have mentioned:
- Tomato. This is one of the few fruits that contain lycopene, a chemical that helps reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. It also contains fiber and is appealing to most kids.
- Avocado. Packed with healthy fats such as omega-3, an important nutrient for brain development. Also, it is rich in folate, which is essential for the bone marrow to produce red and white blood cells.
No single vegetable contains everything your child needs. That is why having a variety is also essential when it comes to having a balanced nutrition. Introducing new vegetables from time to time helps them become more familiar with what they eat and will make them less resistant from eating their portions.