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Victory at the Breakfast Table: How I Got My Picky Kid to Eat a Vegetable (And Like It)

By amberdoty |

I can count on one hand the number of times I have gotten my 2-year-old to knowingly eat a vegetable.  If you subtract the times she has eaten a green bean because it was accidentally coated in the ketchup on her plate or was motivated to do so by the promise of dessert, I don’t need all five of my  fingers.

For the time being, it seems there are only two ways to get veggies into Danica’s diet — cover them in something unhealthy or offer a reward for their consumption, preferably something unhealthy. Since covering carrots in chocolate sauce negates the point of eating carrots in the first place (not to mention that’s disgusting. Danica, you mystify me.) and we can’t eat ice cream following every meal, I’ve begun to investigate new ways to ensure we don’t omit an entire food group from our toddler’s diet.

Previously I told you about Danica’s love for yogurt. She goes crazy for it, so much so that it has become a controlled substance in our house. I have to store it pushed all the way to the back on the top shelf of the fridge or else I take my eyes off of Danica for one minute and come back to a sticky kid surrounded by empty plastic cups who’s used the lids to make “pretty stickers” on my kitchen walls.

Yesterday, while doing a little grocery shopping, I discovered a way to use that love of yogurt to my advantage. (Bonus! It’s organic.) While perusing the dairy aisle I stumbled across Yo Baby Meals. It’s basically the same yogurt she is accustomed to eating with fruit and vegetable purée on the bottom. I decided to go with the peach and squash variety for the test run as peaches are one of Danica’s favorite fruits.

This morning I set the little cup down in front of her, business as usual, and tried not to stare at her too much when she lifted the spoon to her mouth. Toddlers are clever creatures and can sense attempts to trick them as evidenced by the pile of peas on Danica’s plate I find after she finishes eating the mashed potatoes I hid them in.

She didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow at me. She finished the cup and asked for more. I realize all I did was feed my kid a little yogurt, but getting 3 out of 5 of the major food groups into my picky toddler in one meal is an accomplishment for me, particularly when one of those groups is vegetables.

These are definitely going to make a regular appearance in our breakfast line-up.

Do you have any tricks for getting your child to eat vegetables? Please share!

A big thanks to YoBaby for sponsoring this campaign.  Click here to see more of the discussion.

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About amberdoty



Amber Doty is a writer, scientist, wife, and mother to two boys. On Babble, Amber wrote for both Strollerderby and KidScoop about parenting news, pop culture, raising school-age children and general parenting tips. More of her work can be found on her website, The Daily Doty.

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2 thoughts on “Victory at the Breakfast Table: How I Got My Picky Kid to Eat a Vegetable (And Like It)

  1. artistschmartist says:

    Hooray! That’s a sweet victory indeed. Have you tried any of Jessica Seinfeld’s sneaky “put cauliflower puree into the mac n cheese” type ideas? I recently had a “veggie breakthrough” with my own twins..check out my new blog post about this!

  2. LogicalMama says:

    Braag’s Liquid Aminos. Makes all vegies taste better. Add peas to her mac’n cheese too (along with the cauliflower)… mac’n cheese’n peas!
    I don’t think you should hide good food from her though. Occassionally, sure, but she needs to know it’s necessary for her to eat healthy foods.
    Just instill “no thank you bites.” Let your daughter know that she HAS to try everything that comes to the table. And a taste doesn’t mean smelling it and saying “ew” or putting it on your tongue. A decent bite must be taken; chewed and swallowed. If she doesn’t like it, she can say “no thank you” but maybe she will like it and eat the rest. Either way, eventually she will acquire a taste for some vegies. And just because she didn’t like it last time, doesn’t mean she never has to eat it again. In fact, every time it comes to the table (unless she barfs), she should have to try it. And praise her for being so open to trying it even if she says no thank you and doesn’t want more. And don’t give up no matter how unrelenting she is!

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