Help My Child does not Eat Vegetables

Help My Child does not Eat Vegetables

Do you worry that your child isn’t eating enough? Or doesn’t eat some foods? If so, you’re not alone. We know parents want to give their children the best start. It’s easy to get caught up in what your child is or isn’t eating. The long-term goal is for your child to have a healthy relationship with all food.

Foods like vegetables have an important role in nourishing our bodies. But they are only one part of the variety of foods we eat for health. Having a neutral approach to food can help reduce the pressure on both on yourself and your child. Read more about staying positive about food and eating

Children learn from those around them and that includes you. The best place to start is to eat vegetables as part of your meals and snacks. If eating vegetables is what your family eats, eventually your child will as well. For some children this is a rockier journey than for others. Practical ways we can all include vegetables every day:

  • Add vegetables to dishes for taste and texture such as pasta sauces, soups and casseroles.
  • Base some meals around vegetables:
    • filled jacket potatoes
    • stir fries
    • vegetable fritters
    • make salads containing vegetables such as roasted pumpkin, cauliflower or chickpeas.
  • Vegetables like cucumber, bell peppers and carrot served raw make a good snack. Offer with a dip like store bought or homemade hummus.
  • Make your own vegetable dips:
    • add grated cucumber to yoghurt with lemon juice and dill
    • blend beetroot or carrot to canned chickpeas and olive oil to make colourful hummus. Add flavour with tahini, cumin or lemon juice.
  • Snack plates with chopped vegetables are great for hungry kids. They are perfect for pre-dinner hungriness. Read more on how to make vegetables safe for under 3s - by grating, mashing and cooking
  • Mix it up a bit – trying new types and new recipes helps keep it interesting. They may not eat it at first but don’t give up if the family enjoys the new food.
  • Keep offering your child a variety of vegetables in different ways at most meals and snacks. Don’t save them all up until dinner, this adds too much expectation to that meal.

Other tips:

  • Be patient as some children accept most vegetables straight away and others take years. Don’t give up! Keep offering vegetables without pressure even if your child doesn’t eat all kinds yet. One day they might surprise you.
  • Buy local and in season where possible – they usually are fresher and taste better.
  • Grow your own vegetables – if you don’t have space in the ground, try growing some in pots.
  • Include children in shopping, meal planning and cooking.
  • Eat with your children.

If you would like some help, a good place to start is to talk to your child health nurse or an Accredited Practising Dietitian.