A while back a friend stopped by unexpectedly while I was preparing dinner. It was pasta night (her favorite) so we asked her to stay and join us. During dinner she could not stop raving about one thing: the fact that my daughter was eating cucumbers.
“How on earth do you get her to eat cucumbers?” she asked, her eyes exuding curiosity and bewilderment. She was referring to the thinly sliced cucumbers I had dressed with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and Himalayan pink salt.
My answer was simple: “Little B eats what the family eats.”
This answer seemed to confuse her because she kept asking me every time Little B asked for more cucumber. I think Little B was about 10 months at the time and she devoured at least 7 slices of cucumber.
She is now 16 months and still enjoys cucumbers but also olives, green peas, broccoli, romaine lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, potatoes and much more.
Today the vegetable question came up again, courtesy of another curious friend. Now that I have had time to ponder the situation I’ve come to realize one thing and that’s what I’d like to share today.
So what is my crazy secret? Simple: get them involved!
Please allow me to explain. Let’s take a peek into my cooking process.
What I Do To Get My Baby To Eat Vegetables
Little B sits in her highchair and watches me wash, peel and slice veggies every day for dinner. I allow her to touch, feel, smell and taste every step of the process (when possible).
For instance, if I am going to make a carrot salad I’ll ask her to help me get the carrots out of the fridge. Afterwards, she watches me wash and grate the carrots (all from the comfort of her high chair). Then I offer her a piece or two of grated carrot or tossing the veggies into a bowl and dressing them with olive oil. She gets to taste the salad again once we sit down for our meal.
Today she helped me wash romaine lettuce. Then she wanted to ‘spin’ the salad so I helped her pull the string on the salad spinner. She did this again and again until she opened the lid of the spinner and started eating lettuce all on her own. This was her ‘reward’ for all her hard work.
So…you see, the way I get my baby to eat veggies is to have her interact with them in a non-threatening way. She gets to ‘play’ with them before eating them. She also sees mommy, daddy and grandpa eating their veggies everyday so it is ‘normal’ for her to join us in our eating habits. If she doesn’t like something I offer it again but without any pressure. If she doesn’t like it she doesn’t have to eat it (but it doesn’t stop me from introducing it to her at a later date – which has seemed to work for us).
Also, I serve the baby fresh veggies before she eats anything else. This way if she is hungry she’ll be more inclined to eat veggies before the rest of our meal is officially served.
I know every baby is different but I encourage you to try this method. It has worked for us and I hope it works for you, as well.