Oh, I remember the days when we started to wean Aiden. We used the baby-led weaning method that I’ve previously posted about and I had visions of him being a vegetable warrior, diving into a plate of courgetti with my homemade beef ragu with great enthusiasm without any fussy eater issues.
Indeed, he was brilliant with his veggies when we started out. Green beans were a big hit and I have many photos of him voluntarily stuffing broccoli florets into his mouth. I remember (admittedly sometimes too smugly) telling everyone that he enjoys eating asparagus and was a dream when it comes to his vegetables. My mum always warned me when I used to tell her about his latest vegetable conquest that he will reach an age where he will refuse eating his vegetables. Pah! Seriously, that’s never going to happen?
Well, sadly we are in it! My green eating machine baby has turned into a fussy toddler when it comes to his vegetables. He’s not a fussy eater in general, Aiden is a great eater as long as it isn’t green. I refuse to give up and still serve him up a portion of vegetables at every meal, but it does frustrate me that he will turn his nose up at them without giving them a try.
I’m not going to lie, we haven’t made any massive improvements yet, but I remain hopeful. I’ve tried out various sneaky tips to get him to eat more veggies and I thought I would share them with you in case you were experiencing something similar with your little one.
Add a portion of vegetables to a smoothie
Aiden just loves being grown up, which usually means having to copy what mama and dada are doing. So when I’m drinking my green smoothies I always make sure that I serve it with an extra straw for him because he’s no doubt going to want some.
Smoothies are an excellent and easy way to disguise tastes and textures that your little one may not like. Things like spinach, peas, carrots and spring greens blend really well and can be naturally sweetened with berries, mango, banana, apple and grapes to name just a few.
Disguising them as something else
I have a carb king on my hands, my little dude is a massive pasta and rice fan. I’m trying to use this to my advantage and regularly sneak vegetables into his starchy carbs by grating cauliflower into his rice or serving courgetti among his pasta. Playing around with different food textures and disguising vegetables this way has actually had a better success rate for us.
Bulking out meals with vegetables
I know a traditional beef ragu recipe doesn’t call for grated carrots or courgettes, but I don’t care! Last week I made a weekly meal planner staple of homemade ragu with pasta and decided to try my chances by grating a carrot and courgette into the sauce. Low and behold, in went the grated carrots and courgettes without even a tantrum or batter of an eye-lid!
Like before, playing around with textures has been great for us and I often bulk out my meals with extra vegetables to boost their nutritional value, even if the recipe states otherwise.
Hidden Pasta Sauces
I haven’t tried this trick myself yet, but it’s on my to-do list, so thought I would share it anyway. Since Aiden loves pasta so much I’ve got high hopes for this Hidden Veggie Tomato Sauce, which sounds amazing and most importantly is packed full of vegetables.
Keep on serving them up
I refuse to give up and I’m going to stay firm and keep serving them at every opportunity. Playing to a toddler’s wants can easily spiral into major fussy eating habits later, so by continuing to serve the vegetables and encouraging him to eat them hopefully may mean that my vegetable eating monster will one day return.
We try our best to be perfect parents, which tends to include having a veggie eating superstar for a child. However, I think we need to give ourselves some slack and remember that we’re all doing the best we can. Aiden is happy and healthy and I’m not worried that he’s not a massive vegetable eater anymore. Hopefully, someday we will get back to the way things were, but now I will keep on trying and love my carb eating machine just the way he is.