May 10, 2017

How to Get Your Toddler to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

How to Get Your Toddler to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Before Adalyn was born, I was determined to have a child that loved fruits and vegetables. As a dietitian, I especially know the importance of vitamins, minerals and fiber that are in produce and how necessary they are for children to grow "healthy and strong" as Adalyn says that veggies make you. I am super lucky that I have about the least picky kid on the planet and want to share some of our tips in getting her to love produce like we do.

First meal of pureed carrots

1. Start them young

We skipped rice cereal and went right to pureed carrots. Then, we gave Adalyn spinach, green beans, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and more. It was important to me for her first flavors (besides milk) to be vegetables- not sweet fruit or cereal. She loved these and I think that doing this helped to get her used to eating vegetables early on. Soon after that, we moved onto baby led weaning where we gave her pieces of different fruits and vegetables (and soon other foods) to eat. This worked well for our family!

Fruit and Yogurt Cereal Cups make a fun breakfast option that are customizable and tasty. They are kid-friendly and packed with whole-grains, fiber and protein!

2. You have to eat them too

If you do not eat fruits and vegetables, how do you expect your kids to? When Adalyn is having a snack like crackers (which is totally fine) and I grab some mini peppers, she is suddenly asking me to have some of my peppers. My father-in-law ordered a spicy Thai dish and I expected for Adalyn not to want any of his. She saw him eating it and suddenly wanted it herself. Monkey see- monkey do! If you eat produce with your kids, they are definitely more likely to want them. When I am snacking on chips, guess what? Adalyn wants chips too.

3. Serve them in all different forms

Serving fruits and vegetables in all different forms helps expose kids of them in different ways which may encourage them to eat things that they may not like served one way. Give them raw produce, cooked, blended in a smoothie, frozen into homemade popsicles, dried, etc.

For a snack, especially on the go, we have been loving the Go and Grow by Similac pouches from Walmart in the baby food aisle. They are organic and have no fillers, artificial flavors or colors. They are made for toddlers and contain OptiGRO which is a blend of DHA (like that found in fish), Lutein (like that found in spinach) and Vitamin E (like that found in broccoli) to help support your child'r growth and development.

Since toddlers can be unpredictable with their eating, pouches can be a great choice for them because there are all different blends of fruits and veggies so there will definitely be some that your child may like. These pouches help them to get their fruits and veggies in and are perfect for my toddler on a trip or in the car because they are super easy for her to eat.

So many good flavors to choose from!
Adalyn gets super excited to eat pouches because we do not have them everyday so they are treat. Each pouch has 3-4 servings of combined fruits and veggies or 1/3 of the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Adalyn is a big fan of these and sucks them down in about 2 minutes flat. They come in two different stages: for babies 6+ months of age and one for toddlers 12+ months. Some of the baby flavors are mango/pear/spinach and sweet potato/apple/carrot. Some of the toddler flavors include mango, sweet potato and pear and apple, butternut squash, banana and blueberry. All of the flavors are Adalyn approved! They are a fun switch-up from her typical fresh fruits and veggies.

4. Talk about fruits and vegetables

Something that is super fun for me as someone who likes to talk about food and as a dietitian is talking to my kid about produce. We go to the grocery store and I get her pumped up about choosing whatever fruit or veggie that she wants to buy and we then buy it and try it together. There are also some awesome kids vegetable and fruit songs on YouTube and are super catchy and Adalyn loves listening to and singing. When you show excitement about produce, they will too.

Panzanella Salad is full of flavor with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, dill, garlic French bread croutons and a homemade Italian dressing!

5. Get them involved in the kitchen

Adalyn loves to help me mix things in the kitchen, set the silverware on the table and sampling the food. By getting them involved in the preparation of the food, they are more likely to eat it and be more open to trying new foods.

Fruit and Yogurt Cereal Cups make a fun breakfast option that are customizable and tasty. They are kid-friendly and packed with whole-grains, fiber and protein!

6. Keep trying over and over

If a child does not like something the first time they try it, keep trying it. It may take many times to get a child to like something. For example, Adalyn is not the best with mushrooms but I keep serving them. They may be in a stir-fry or on a pizza and if she does not eat them, that is okay but I keep giving them to her and not making a big deal about it. She also was not liking beets until I let her know that Barney likes beets and that is what makes him purple. She now eats beets when we have them on a salad- whatever works!

This post was developed in partnership with Similac. All opinions are my own.

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