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Kids Who Won’t Eat Vegetables

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Q: 

If my child won’t eat vegetables, will they miss out on key vitamins and minerals?

A:

There are a lot of healthy kids who won’t eat vegetables. Many children prefer the sweeter taste of fruit over vegetables. Fruit can be a good substitute until your child slowly develops a taste for vegetables. Fruits are similar to vegetables in terms of vitamins and fibre content. See below for some examples:

Nutrient

Vegetable Source

Fruit Source

Vitamin A and Carotenoids Carrots Apricots, Cantaloupe
Folic Acid Spinach Strawberries, Oranges
Potassium Potatoes Bananas, Oranges,
Dried Apricots
Vitamin C Broccoli Citrus Fruit, Kiwi,
Strawberries

Continue to offer vegetables to your child and try the following:

  • Aim for five servings a day, whether from fruit or vegetables.
  • Have kids help choose vegetables when shopping.
  • Encourage your child to help prepare vegetables for meals.
  • Serve vegetables in a variety of ways, some prefer the crunchiness of raw vegetables while others like the softer texture of steamed vegetables (try vegetables with dip, in soups, stir-fry dishes or wrapped in tortillas).
  • Buy vegetables that are in-season for the freshest and most flavourful taste.
  • Serve sweeter tasting vegetables such as sweet potatoes or add some brown sugar to squash, turnip or carrots.
  • Offer new vegetables with familiar and liked ones (ex: give sweet potato chunks with white potato chunks or have kids make a kabob with new and familiar vegetables)
  • Remember kids may need to see a food 10 or more times before they will try it. Be patient.
  • Set a good example by eating together and enjoying a variety of vegetables at meals and as snacks.
  • Don’t make an issue of your child not eating vegetables, over time most kids will learn to enjoy some vegetables.

Vegetables are full of important nutrients and have other health promoting benefits so keep offering those vegetables and some day your child will discover how delicious they are!