Anyone have easy recipes that can make vegetables more enticing to a toddler ?

My child is an extremely picky eater. I'm looking for recipes that she might like besides breaded chicken!

  • Posted by: Alli29
  • January 12, 2012


Sam1148 January 13, 2012
Don't serve them veggies. Serve them to yourself and tell her she can't have any because that's grown up food.
SKK January 13, 2012
OK, Sam, this is one of your best answers yet. And you have some great ones!
bugbitten January 13, 2012
Alli29 January 13, 2012
Thank you for all of these suggestions! This is all super helpful!

Really, my question could be have been stated even more broadly. My daughter has some weight issues (underweight) and I've been worried about the nutritional content of what she eats. If it were up to her she'd only eat processed chicken nuggets. Problem is that everyone in the family knows this and therefore only offers her this stuff, stating that if I offer anything else she will refuse to eat and essentially starve. I'm just looking for healthy options that she can choose from and that gives her some of the healthy nutrition I think she needs.

Again thanks for all the insight!
Hilarybee January 13, 2012
Throw some kale or spinach in a smoothie- particularly with kiwi which are already green. Here is a recipe from Annie's Eats:
Here is my own recipe, but I think this might have a more adult taste, but I did make the recipe for my husband who has a very child like approach to eating. AKA, he is so picky he could be a two year old. If you play around with the fruit, you should be able to get something she will like:
Stephanie G. January 13, 2012
I see/.hear this question alot in some variation or another. I don't think inventive/creative recipes are what you need. As a parent of a terrific eater (6 years old and asks for brussel sprouts) there were stages in my daughter's life where the only vegetables she would eat were tomatoes! Toddlers won't like it if you want them to like it. The best strategy I learned is to provide healthy foods for dinner and something good will get in her tummy. My pediatrician says the best thing to do is avoid processed foods and if she eats only sourdough bread and oatmeal for a week, that's ok. As long as you put out whole foods and remain non commital about what she eats, she'll like vegetables. At some point. (smile) Lots easeir said than done, BTW. A cookbook you might like is Real Food for Healthy Kids. Lots of easy recipes that are more "family" like.
EmilyC January 13, 2012
I completely agree. As Stephanie G points out, the best thing you can do is to continue putting good food on your toddler's plate. There are nights when my 2 year old will eat all his vegetables, other nights when he won't touch them and wants to eat only one thing on his plate. As long as everything you put on the plate is healthy, don't worry too much about it not seeming like a "balanced" meal. Aim for your toddler to reach his/her dietary needs over 1+ days, not in a single meal. I really like something that Jacques Pepin said about feeding his daughter Claudine as a toddler...and that's to treat eating vegetables like you would other foods. Don't overly praise or gush even when they do eat their vegetables. Treat them like any other food you're comfortable feeding your child, and you'll avoid a lot of the power struggles that come at the dinner table! Good luck!
Wickedrandom January 13, 2012
My son (almost 2) used to eat almost everything but he hit that magic toddle age where he stopped eating everything green The things he does like now seem to be things that he finds fun. Roasted Seaweed is a nice snack, peas and edamame he usually eats. My son is a lot more inclined to give a vegetable a fair shot if he helped somewhere in the preparation so try that out and see if it works for you.

There has been a lot of research that the more you push the more they resist so my suggestion is to keep putting it on the plate and when you find one the toddler like keep that consistently in the repertoire.
homemadecravings January 13, 2012
My kids love pasta with red sauce, but not when its chunky! I saute diced veggies with the onion and garlic and at the end use my immersion blender to make a smooth sauce that they all eat and love.
Author Comment
Cut them in fun shapes and call them something else. My mom used to cut up raw rutabaga in matchsticks and call them "crunchies." I still love them. We used to tell our son that while things like mac & cheese and cookies were fun treats, fruits and veggies were yummy AND made you grow strong. We also had him eat his veggies in the late afternoon, when he was hungry but dinner wasn't ready yet. Then he didn't need to eat them with dinner. He's a 17-yr-old athlete and terrific eater (and cook) now.
sunnymissrae January 12, 2012
Veggie latkas! You have the regular potato flavor, but you can also do zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, radish, beets anything you can grate or shred. The sky's the limit!
meganvt01 January 12, 2012
My 2 year old loves the okonomyaki by midge. Lots of cabbage. He also loves edamame - party for the fun of popping the 'beans' from the pods :)
Sam1148 January 12, 2012
Bento Boxes. Plenty of websites on the net to look at for those, with quite a few geared towards kids.
bugbitten January 12, 2012
Toddler to me means 1 to 3 years of age. I hope our definitions agree. As someone who spent his career entertaining kids, may I offer this simple advice: don't push. Your son or daughter is surely still enrapt with the genius that every child brings to this world. Curiously, the Latin root for our word educate means "to draw out."

On the other hand, any veggie can be made into a fun pickle.
petitbleu January 12, 2012
There are some really great suggestions here. You can also try the old trick of grating up vegetables in muffin batter (carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, etc.). Add turnips to your mashed potatoes. The yogurt dip idea above is also really great.
avimom January 12, 2012
I found that my kids love eating new things in a playful way. If I give them trainer chopsticks, they'll eat anything with them. They'll also eat any veggie served with dip. I usually make a dip with plain yogurt, lemon juice to taste, and ground coriander to taste. If your child likes fruit, include cut veggies with cut fruit in a bowl. I used to let my daughter smash her own avocado and eat it with crackers...she could put down a whole avocado this way! Just don't give's true that picky kids need to see a new food up to a dozen times before they incorporate it into their diet.
Alli29 January 12, 2012
Thanks somuch! Love the all of these ideas!
SKK January 12, 2012
I agree totally with avimom. We also had a conversation around vegetables in our house about how good they are and what fun to pick them from Grampa's garden and how pretty they are at the store. We modeled eating great vegetables. My daughter is 23 now and quite a creative cook.

And I bought great, fresh vegetables that tasted the way they are supposed to and in season.

JessicaBakes January 12, 2012
David Leite has a great recipe for mac and cheese that has carrots in it. you can also add pureed butternut squash and they're never notice. I don't have a toddler, but I use it on my picky boyfriend and he says "mmmm mac and cheese!"
Alli29 January 12, 2012
Thanks for the idea ! Any sort of trick will help!
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