2

votes

My 17 month old doesn't want to eat veggies

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 20, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Hi there, my 17 month old is still breastfeeding and we are trying to eat as much paleo as we can. We didn't really introduce his first fruits until he was around 10 months old.

When he started when other foods he loved fish and meat and veggies but now he throws everything to the floor unless it's chicken or potato :( It's like his taste changes from day to day!! Very frustrating... Any ideas on how to make him eat the veggies and fish?

Thanks! :)

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 21, 2012
at 02:07 PM

Yea I mean, you'll just have to trust your intuition on what is best in this situation.

646db8d12e071fc78b8ba8d06a19c0e0

(10)

on December 21, 2012
at 01:27 PM

Thank you for your answer! He is a very good kid, very sweet and relaxed, I don't think this is behavioural :)

646db8d12e071fc78b8ba8d06a19c0e0

(10)

on December 21, 2012
at 01:22 PM

Thanks Steven, I also thought it might have to be his instinct talking but then I can't imagine his body wanting so much potato...

646db8d12e071fc78b8ba8d06a19c0e0

(10)

on December 21, 2012
at 01:17 PM

We can't make pures because he won't eat anything he can't take with his fingers and put in his mouth... Except yoghourt! :)

646db8d12e071fc78b8ba8d06a19c0e0

(10)

on December 21, 2012
at 01:16 PM

Thanks everyone for the quick responses and suggestions. We always eat the same food as him and we all eat at the same time, we believe this is the right thing to do. The problem is that when he doesn't eat a lot because he throws things to the floor at night hes sucking the boob like 7 or 8 times and it's very tiring. We already disguise the veggies under cheese and butter and try to make it more appealing, then in the oven, caramelized. But nothing works. It's like he doesn't follow any rules. The veggies we eat are broccoli, squash, red pepper, carrots and peas.

245cbe47a4a092c07f494233c4c28a5c

(269)

on December 21, 2012
at 12:56 AM

I like this advice, as a nanny with 8+ years experience working with kids under 4 y.o., excepting (3) and disguising the taste with palatable condiments. Kids this age change their minds about foods multiple times a day, your child might spit out peas every time, predictably, for weeks, and all of a sudden will start eating them. The biggest mistake you can make is assume his actions right now mean he has permanent preferences. He is a toddler- they are by nature just testing their environment in every way.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on December 20, 2012
at 10:22 PM

Ha ha! +1 for making me laugh. In my head this is in the voice of the narration to the Honey Badger footage.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 20, 2012
at 08:58 PM

great answer! Just remember, kids don't need nearly as much food as adults. You might think they'll starve, but really, they won't. And they need a good variety of food NOT every day, but say over the course of a week.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on December 20, 2012
at 07:58 PM

#3 all the way. We didn't even give our son his own plate for actual meals until he was nearly 3. I'd give him a bit of a snack on a high chair tray, but he seemed much more interested in sitting in my lap and swiping things from my plate at meal time. Seemed to work.

197651282ddd8d675b974ee811d2269e

(1836)

on December 20, 2012
at 04:39 PM

It should say I put a small amount of every dish on their plates.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2012
at 04:26 PM

This is not only excellent advice, it's also paleo advice. In paleolithic times, the variety of food was much less. Today, supermarkets sell thousands of foods, but at any given time of year during the paleolithic there were far fewer choices. Paleolithic people (including paleo 2-year-olds) ate what was available because, like you say, they got hungry. And that's another thing. People today are afraid to stop eating long enough to get hungry. That's a mistake. We're designed to get hungry. It's a good thing, not a bad thing. The "problem" in this thread goes away if we let kids get hungry.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2012
at 04:23 PM

This is paleo advice. In paleolithic times, the variety of available food was much less. Today, supermarkets sell thousands of foods, but at any given time of year during the paleolithic there were far fewer choices. Paleolith people (including paleo 2-year-olds) ate what was available because, like you say, they got hungry. And that's another thing. People today are afraid to go without food long enough to get hungry. I think that's a mistake. We're designed to get hungry. It's a good thing, not a bad thing. The "problem" in this thread goes away if we let kids get hungry.

1a0976c846702f549ee4df0d811098be

(972)

on December 20, 2012
at 03:39 PM

And by trying to make them delicious, I mean make them taste like good veggies that I would want to eat, not sweetening them or covering them in cheese (although they do occasionally get dipped in ketchup).

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14 Answers

15
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 20, 2012
at 03:34 PM

Sounds like a normal 2 year old learning that he has some control over his environment by using the word "no" and he is testing the laws of gravity, too.

But your job is to parent him, because you know what's best for him. IMHO the WORST thing you can do is give in to this behavior by sweetening his food with fruit. That sets him up to expect everything to be sweet and you will create a picky eater with a sweet tooth.

When my kids were in this stage, when food started hitting the floor it was time to remove the food from their reach. We didn't beg them to eat or entice them by sweetening the food. Meal over, period. If a child doesn't like what's offered, that's ok. Better luck next meal. Don't make it a big deal. Don't turn your table into a battle ground.

Kids won't starve themselves. Honest. When they get that you aren't going to play short order cook, they eat what's offered. They may skip something this meal, but get it the next.

Our kids have always understood that what was served was what they got. If its something they didn't like they didn't have to eat it, but there's very little they won't eat. As a direct result of our approach, they are healthy eaters with adventurous palates and the only kids I know who eat their veggies first and ask for more.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2012
at 04:23 PM

This is paleo advice. In paleolithic times, the variety of available food was much less. Today, supermarkets sell thousands of foods, but at any given time of year during the paleolithic there were far fewer choices. Paleolith people (including paleo 2-year-olds) ate what was available because, like you say, they got hungry. And that's another thing. People today are afraid to go without food long enough to get hungry. I think that's a mistake. We're designed to get hungry. It's a good thing, not a bad thing. The "problem" in this thread goes away if we let kids get hungry.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 20, 2012
at 08:58 PM

great answer! Just remember, kids don't need nearly as much food as adults. You might think they'll starve, but really, they won't. And they need a good variety of food NOT every day, but say over the course of a week.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2012
at 04:26 PM

This is not only excellent advice, it's also paleo advice. In paleolithic times, the variety of food was much less. Today, supermarkets sell thousands of foods, but at any given time of year during the paleolithic there were far fewer choices. Paleolithic people (including paleo 2-year-olds) ate what was available because, like you say, they got hungry. And that's another thing. People today are afraid to stop eating long enough to get hungry. That's a mistake. We're designed to get hungry. It's a good thing, not a bad thing. The "problem" in this thread goes away if we let kids get hungry.

4
193b7fb0fec8913d5ebb3b99a04d21c6

(2918)

on December 20, 2012
at 02:50 PM

A few words of advice - hope they help!

1) Don't hide the veggies in anything. Make sure when you serve them, they look like veggies. Hiding veggies is a great way to get your kid to eat them, but it's an awful way to get them to eat them without you interfering. Spinach brownies have their time and place, but I'd rather my kid willingly eat a pile of spinach, obviously.

2) Give him veggies at every meal, and also, you should be sitting down with him and eating the same veggies. If he doesn't eat them, don't make a big deal, but keep giving them to him at every meal. The more you react to him throwing food away, the more he will do it to get a reaction.

3) Butter, salt, cheese, ketchup...heck, even chocolate can be your friends in terms of making veggies more appealing. A friend once told me "do what you've gotta do to get those veggies to look and taste better". Carrots + honey. Broccoli + cheese. Brussels sprouts + a pile of salt. Whatever.

4) Children's nutrition should be measured by the week, not by the day. If there's a day where he only eats potatoes, big deal. If it's the entire week, you can feel free to worry.

245cbe47a4a092c07f494233c4c28a5c

(269)

on December 21, 2012
at 12:56 AM

I like this advice, as a nanny with 8+ years experience working with kids under 4 y.o., excepting (3) and disguising the taste with palatable condiments. Kids this age change their minds about foods multiple times a day, your child might spit out peas every time, predictably, for weeks, and all of a sudden will start eating them. The biggest mistake you can make is assume his actions right now mean he has permanent preferences. He is a toddler- they are by nature just testing their environment in every way.

2
197651282ddd8d675b974ee811d2269e

on December 20, 2012
at 04:38 PM

When my kids were little, I refused to make them "special foods". The whole family ate the same things: protein, veg, starch, and usually fruit for desert. I put a small amount of everything (1 tsp. @ that age). They had to eat everything, if they wanted desert. If they were too full, that's okay they didnt have to clean their plates, but no desert (because they're full). They're teens now and both eat lots of salads and leafy greens every day.

197651282ddd8d675b974ee811d2269e

(1836)

on December 20, 2012
at 04:39 PM

It should say I put a small amount of every dish on their plates.

1
383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on December 20, 2012
at 09:01 PM

tell your kid to stop being a little bitch and eat his veggies

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on December 20, 2012
at 10:22 PM

Ha ha! +1 for making me laugh. In my head this is in the voice of the narration to the Honey Badger footage.

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on December 20, 2012
at 08:14 PM

Little ones are supposed to explore their food, and as maddening as that is, it does sometimes involve physics experiments of seeing what happens when it falls on the floor, or is thrown. Don't take it personally, and try not to react strongly or the kiddo just moves into a new experimental phase of seeing what can provoke a response from you.

Seriously been there, it sucks but no matter of pleading or discipline made a lick of difference for us. Sitting with him in our lap instead of the highchair helped, I think it takes the feeling observed and pressured out of the equation, and small children are great mimickers, so if we were eating something, he'd just grab for it, and eat it too.

It is also normal between about 18 months and 5 years of age for the taste for bitter green vegetables to decline. I've read some interesting theories about this being a protective instinct to avoid poisoning as they become more active and independent, so they don't go around eating random leaves and self selecting themselves out of the gene pool.

Every kid has different tastes, but we also found that tangy salty and sour flavors like tamari mixed with vinegar or lemon juice made things like broccoli a delight for him. He still loves dipping veggies in sauce.

Raw vegetables like carrot sticks and bell pepper seemed to be some of his faves too.

Good luck!

1
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on December 20, 2012
at 04:43 PM

You can't make him. Just keep offering them. A baby's taste buds are very sensitive, and it sounds like he prfers blander stuff right now. Anyways, just keep breastfeeding and offering food. He'll find his own way.

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 20, 2012
at 03:50 PM

Word...I got a 3 and 5 year old and it don't stop, so just get use to it ;). I let em have at almost any paleo food they want. No worries. Our bodies store and release nutrients in response to what is needed at the time and whats available from the environment.

My boys are fruit eating carnivores... Never could get either of em into veggies, and I'm not worried. Hell they won't even eat spuds unless its french fries. So I make french fries once in a while. My five year old told me yesterday "But, I don't like bananas!"....suprise to me being he's been eating about 2-3/day for the past 3 months. Guess he's on to the next thing for now.

Oh, we do have a veggie garden in the summer and that is the only time they eat em! Only if they get to pick them and eat them right there. Hows that for seasonal eating.

1
1a0976c846702f549ee4df0d811098be

(972)

on December 20, 2012
at 03:37 PM

My kids went through a phase where they wouldn't eat veggies. We kept serving them, tried our best to make them delicious, and once they were old enough, had a rule that they had to try at least one bite. We never made a big deal out of it. There were months on end where no veggies were eaten in our house, but at this point, my five year olds will steal broccoli, asparagus, and kale chips off my plate. They won't eat overcooked veggies, though, so they look a lot pickier when visiting grandma.

1a0976c846702f549ee4df0d811098be

(972)

on December 20, 2012
at 03:39 PM

And by trying to make them delicious, I mean make them taste like good veggies that I would want to eat, not sweetening them or covering them in cheese (although they do occasionally get dipped in ketchup).

1
92d67b02a709cad2250f10848f9178e6

on December 20, 2012
at 02:51 PM

What kind of vegetables are you offering to your child? Maybe you can try mashed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower (after cooking it, of course) with butter and giving it to your child. Let him/her play with vegetables and see YOU eating and enjoying it.

Good luck!

1
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on December 20, 2012
at 02:11 PM

Smash bananas into his veggies.

1
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 20, 2012
at 02:03 PM

Younger children typically act more on instinct than logical debates so I'd say that maybe those are the foods he needs right now. Maybe you should explore what he enjoys within the limits of whole foods. Taro root is similar consistency to white potatoes and shellfish is pretty light, have you tried that? He's probably not throwing the food on the ground to upset you, his body might just be telling him he needs something else. As long as you stay within healthy parameters I think you should explore a little more. Not eating veggies for a while isn't the end of the world by any means.

646db8d12e071fc78b8ba8d06a19c0e0

(10)

on December 21, 2012
at 01:22 PM

Thanks Steven, I also thought it might have to be his instinct talking but then I can't imagine his body wanting so much potato...

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 21, 2012
at 02:07 PM

Yea I mean, you'll just have to trust your intuition on what is best in this situation.

0
4bd4e2fe6a095663f80c69656936e487

(744)

on December 20, 2012
at 10:54 PM

Smart kid. He instinctively knows that vegetables are famine foods. Fruits are better. Vegetables have too many anti-nutrients and toxins.

0
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on December 20, 2012
at 02:26 PM

Also, is it taste, or just a behavioral issue? Please don't apply any connotations to this question. I'm not implying your child is 'bad'... it's just that the little one may be employing certain behaviors to elicit specific responses or even just exert a little autonomy. In which case you'll just need to outsmart the munchkin with a little psychology...

646db8d12e071fc78b8ba8d06a19c0e0

(10)

on December 21, 2012
at 01:27 PM

Thank you for your answer! He is a very good kid, very sweet and relaxed, I don't think this is behavioural :)

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on December 20, 2012
at 02:17 PM

Welcome to parenthood. Kids tastes can be fickle. Here's a few things that worked with mine:

  1. Sweaten the vegetables with fruit
  2. Cook the vegetables in butter
  3. Put the vegetables on your plate, not his -- kids love eating what they see their parents eat.
  4. Try making purees
  5. Add vegetables to rice

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on December 20, 2012
at 07:58 PM

#3 all the way. We didn't even give our son his own plate for actual meals until he was nearly 3. I'd give him a bit of a snack on a high chair tray, but he seemed much more interested in sitting in my lap and swiping things from my plate at meal time. Seemed to work.

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