You want the best for your kids. You know they should eat veggies. You go through all the hard work of shopping and preparing homemade food for your family. For what? Your picky eater to scrunch her nose and refuse to eat. As a parent–it’s maddening. So what can you do when your toddler won’t eat vegetables?!
Is there any hope that your kids will someday eat vegetables?
I have a picky eater as well as food allergies to deal with, so I’ve been there. I understand how frustrating it is.
But my kids now happily eat kale, broccoli, celery, spinach, and cucumbers almost every day.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please check out my full disclosure for more info.
No joke. There’s no arm-twisting or lying involved either.
And I’m about to let you in on the little secret I use to get my baby and toddler to eat vegetables daily.
My Toddler Won’t Eat Vegetables
I’ll be honest. Having a picky eater sometimes makes me want to pull out my hair. Especially when it’s a homecooked meal I cooked from scratch.
The planning. The shopping. The chopping. And the cooking.
It can take so much time and effort to prepare healthy meals for toddlers and kids. When I slave away in the kitchen for an hour or two to prepare a meal just to have my toddler refuse to eat it, it takes everything in me to keep my cool. Apparently, this kid doesn’t care that I spent hours on Pinterest finding a meal she would eat, creating a shopping list, buying the groceries at the store, then chopping, boiling, and baking so I could provide her with a yummy, nutritious, meal for her growing body and mind.
And what’s worse?
Both of my kids have a list of severe food allergies or sensitivities. Seriously…so not only would they much rather eat pizza or mac-n-cheese every meal, their health is seriously endangered by their food allergies and sensitivities so I have to watch food labels like a hawk.
Some days figuring out what food they could and would eat was a complete nightmare.
But despite all of that, my kids now eat a variety of vegetables daily. And I’m not talking about french fries either.
They eat kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, and carrots…without a fit.
I finally have the relief of knowing my kids are getting the awesome nutrition their bodies and minds need to grow and learn, and I know you want that for your kids too.
How To Get Your Toddler To Eat Vegetables
So what’s the secret already? How in the world can you get toddlers to eat vegetables?
My secret weapon is my blender!
That’s it. Seriously. Something you can buy off Amazon Prime and get shipped to your door in two days. (This is something that went on sale last year during Amazon Prime Day but I didn’t pull the trigger. #LessonLearned)
Now before you write this off as something you already tried…hold on.
Have you tried a VITAMIX blender?
Something that took me way too long to learn is that blenders are NOT created equally.
I have the Vitamix 5200 Blender and I LOVE IT.
If you’re an Amazon Prime member (or you sign up for a Free Trial for 30 Days) you can get free shipping on this bad boy and start whipping up yummy veggies for your kids this week.
The Key Tool To Getting Kids To Eat Veggies
I used to have a regular Ninja blender that I thought was decent. But my green smoothies were really just pinkish smoothies with big chunks of green crud in them. I didn’t particularly care for them, and my toddler definitely wanted nothing to do with them.
After getting tired of chewing chunks of kale myself, I finally decided to invest in a good blender. I didn’t really understand how it could be that much better but my dear sister swore by it. I was skeptical. Are blenders really that different? Isn’t a blender a blender?
After my first smoothie, I was completely amazed. The texture. The taste. It was soooooo much better.
And the best part? My kids both wanted to try it!
Yes. Both my toddler and my baby wanted to try my green smoothie full of celery, cumbers, avocado, kale, flaxseed, and more.
I happily shared my drink and…they loved it!
Daily Veggie Routine For My Toddler
Making a green smoothie with our Vitamix is now part of our daily routine. My toddler loves “helping” me make it. And both my toddler and my baby love devouring it with me.
And when my toddler asks what’s in it, I simply tell her the truth. I love getting to say “kale, celery, broccoli, spinach, celery, etc.” Plus, she no longer scrunches her nose when I tell her those veggies are in other meals. I remind her that she likes them in the green smoothie, so she’ll like them in this dish too, and surprisingly, she goes along with it.
I cannot wait to learn even more ways to use my Vitamix to get my kids to eat more vegetables. I know with the smoothies I’m just hitting the tip of the iceberg with the Vitamix possibilities, but at this point it gets my #1 goal accomplished: get my kids to eat veggies!
Because of this one simple kitchen tool, I no longer do I fret about toddler dinner ideas that they refuse to eat or are unhealthy.
In addition to our green smoothie, there are more ways to get toddlers to eat vegetables. I’ll share those tips next.
How to Make Healthier Meals for Picky Eaters
Fruit & Veggie Smoothie
I’m not the greatest at relaying recipes because I don’t measure. The first smoothie I made with the Vitamix I followed the Green Smoothie recipe guide that came with the blender.
It tasted delicious and had a smooth texture and a beautiful green color. It had quite a bit of fruit. I’ve gradually added more veggies and my basic smoothies include a mixture of the following ingredients:
- celery chunks
- cucumber slices
- banana (frozen if I have them)
- frozen blueberries or raspberries
- avocado (adds great smooth texture)
- ground flaxseed
- plain water
- frozen mango (usually if I don’t have banana)
- several handfuls of spinach, kale, or swiss chard
- fresh herbs (especially mint, because…why not?)
- ice cubes
On a rare day when my toddler refuses to eat veggies in her smoothie, I simply offer to let her drink from mine (moms is always better for some reason) with our “special straws,” and she’ll slurp it up.
My toddler loves broccoli! Seriously, she will usually ask for seconds, sometimes thirds.
But it wasn’t always that way.
When I first gave my daughter mac and cheese, it was organic but I still knew it wasn’t the healthiest meal around. So to make me feel better and to get her to eat vegetables, I always added chopped, steamed broccoli.
In addition to macaroni and cheese, I add chopped, steamed broccoli to spaghetti, egg bakes, and even smoothies.
Try these ideas when your toddler won’t eat vegetables and see if you can get more broccoli in her diet.
It took me several months to figure out that fresh asparagus is much better than frozen steamed asparagus. So if that’s the only asparagus you’ve tried feeding your toddler, hang on.
My toddler won’t eat the frozen stuff either. But I took a risk one day and bought the fresh asparagus from Aldi. Luckily, there was a recipe on the back that turned out to be totally simple and delicious. This is a veggie recipe I was surprised that my toddler, baby, and husband all devoured. We easily eat a whole package of fresh asparagus at dinner. Here’s a similar asparagus recipe for you to follow.
Bonus! Fresh asparagus in season is $1.99 at Aldi, so it’s a budget-friendly way to eat healthy and save money.
The recipe calls for coating the asparagus in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt then baking it. Super easy and yummy as a side dish! We often have this on the side of spaghetti. When my toddler refuses to eat this veggie because it’s one of those days, I cut it into smaller pieces and mix it in with her spaghetti.
When your toddler won’t eat vegetables, you need to try sweet potato fries. Sweet potato fries are a favorite veggie for both my toddler and baby. Simply peel a potato, cut it into french fry sticks or wedges, cover them with olive oil and seasonings, then bake.
I typically bake my fries at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, flip them, then bake for another 15 minutes.
You can also broil them for the last 5 minutes too for a little more crispness. For a more specific recipe, this sweet potato fries recipe is pretty much what I do.
I’ve now created the routine that our morning snack is cucumbers and grapes every day. I don’t offer chips, crackers, or cookies. If my kids are hungry, she will eat the fruits and veggies I offer her.
She used to eat the cucumbers plain, but then she started a phase where she was refusing the cucumbers and throwing a fit about it. On these days, I add hummus.
My husband is the only one who eats dairy in our house, so you could potentially add a different type of dip, but adding something like a dip or hummus to raw veggies is another way to get kids to eat veggies.
Make a Juice
If your strong-willed toddler won’t eat vegetables, it might be time to try juicing them. I first bought a juicer after watching the movie Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. If you’re interested in the health benefits of food and how juices can help to heal your body, I highly recommend checking out this movie.
I don’t fully understand the science behind it, but there are different health benefits to smoothies vs juices. Personally, I’ve found investing in a juicer worth it (even though I don’t use it every day) because I’ve noticed how juices make my body feel better AND my toddler and baby both like to drink them. Win-Win!
Personally, I’ve found juices to:
- be an excellent post-workout drink to re-energize after a particularly tough sweat session
- be the absolute best remedy after a night of too many drinks
- consistently make my baby poop when he’s constipated
- be an easy way to get toddlers and babies to “eat” more vegetables
Additionally, it’s a fairly easy way to get toddlers, babies, and even big kids to eat more vegetables. I even eat foods in juices that I don’t care for on their own or in dishes.
My juices typically include:
- lots and lots of greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard, greens of beets and other veggies you’d typically just discard)
- 1/2 – 1 apple (typically the only fruit I add)
You can also add things like beets, peppers, tomatoes, or oranges to get your kids to eat more vegetables and fruits. I borrowed a juicer from a friend to make sure I’d use it first because I was hesitant to spend the money. If you’re not sure about buying another kitchen tool, see if you can borrow one first or check out a second-hand shop. I’ve seen them in the kitchen area before.
Pouches with Veggies
Finally, when all else fails in my house, I give my toddler who refuses vegetables a pouch. You can find pouches with all kinds of veggies in them. Just check out the ingredient list to see what order the ingredients are listed. If I’m buying a pouch because it has kale in it, I make sure kale isn’t like the last ingredient (which means there’s the smallest amount of kale compared to everything else included.)
When my daughter refused butternut squash but I wanted to introduce her to the taste and give her the health benefits, I found a pouch that included squash and she sucked it down no problem.
Here are some pouches that include vegetables:
- Organic Apple, Pea & Spinach by Peter Rabbit
- Variety Pack by Plum Organics – Veggies Include Purple Carrot, Spinach, Pea & Pumpkin
- Organic Zucchini, Pear, Chickpea & Kale by Happy Tot (Love My Veggies)
Pouches can be an easy way to get babies and toddlers alike to eat more vegetables each day.
If Your Toddler Won’t Eat Vegetables…Try These Things!
Honestly, the easiest and healthiest way to get toddlers to eat vegetables is blending smooth green smoothies in a Vitamix Blender. It worked for me and it worked for my neighbor who has 3 little ones as well. She loves her blender and like us, uses it every day.
So stop pulling your hair out and stressing that your kid won’t eat any veggies. Stop making meals that no one eats. And instead do these things:
- Get a Vitamix Blender and start making REAL green smoothies
- Add chopped veggies like steamed broccoli and peppers to casseroles, noodles, and eggs
- Make sweet potato fries
- Try fresh asparagus instead of frozen
- Add hummus or another dip to fresh veggies
- Get pouches that have vegetables in them
- Try a juicer and create vegetable juices (with some apple to sweeten)
If any of these tips turn your toddler who won’t eat vegetables into a toddler who eats vegetables regularly, be sure to comment or email me to let me know. I’ll celebrate that #ParentingWin with you!
Spend your time and money with intention. Happy veggie eating!
Let your light shine,