Prepared by Janis G. Hunter, HGIC Nutrition Specialist, and Katherine L. Cason, Professor, Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences, Clemson University, 09/05.
Parents and children seem to have more struggles over vegetables than any other kind of food. Vegetables should be offered in the same matter-of-fact way that all other foods are offered.
Start vegetables in infancy. Talk to your doctor or WIC program about how and when to begin solid foods. Some nutritionists recommend introducing vegetables before fruits, so baby gets used to the taste of vegetables first. If your baby doesn’t seem thrilled with a new vegetable, don’t assume he/she doesn’t like it. Try it again next week. If it still doesn’t win smiles, try it again in another week, and so on.
What if you have at toddler or preschooler who has decided already that he/she/doesn’t like vegetables?
Here are 18 Pointers That Might Help:
If you take your child to the grocery store, involve her/him in selecting vegetables. You might say:
Let your child choose a vegetable for a meal. You might want to offer a choice, such as, "Which should we have, white potatoes or sweet potatoes?"
Think of safe, interesting ways your child can help prepare vegetables at home. Help him wash hands well before he handles food.
A Toddler Can:
A Preschooler Can:
Children develop the motor skills involved in chewing and swallowing at different rates. Each child is ready at his own pace to progress from soft, pureed food to more texture. Although a child can choke on any food, there are certain foods to be especially cautious about with very young children (under three years of age).
|Unsafe||To Make Safer|
|Round, smooth foods, such as grapes, hot dogs and hot dog rounds||Quarter|
|Cheese||Cut into small pieces|
|Marshmallow||Cut into small pieces|
|Hard candy, popcorn, nuts and peanuts||Do not offer|
|Raw, hard fruits and vegetables||Cook hard fruits and vegetables. Peel and remove seeds. Slice very thin, chop or mash.|
|Peanut butter, soft cheese||Spread thinly on bread or crackers|
University of Illinois Extension fact sheet; originally developed by Michigan State University Extension
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