tackling the topic of hiding veggies in other foods for toddlers
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from parents & caregivers that they only way their toddler will eat veggies is if they hide them.
First off, if you’re in this boat – I can guarantee you that you’re not alone. Toddlers are naturally suspicious of new foods (this tends to start around age 2). In addition, they tend to prefer beige foods (think pasta, crackers, french fries, bread) to anything else (yes, even if they happily gobbled up veggies as babies!).
That said, while we might feel good as parents knowing they’re getting veggies in if we bake them into doughnuts, muffins or throw them into smoothies, ultimately it’s short changing your toddler of critical exposure that will help familiarize them with veggies in their natural state.
As someone who loves a good fridge clean-out smoothie and bakes a lot with fruit and veggies for flavor, moisture and fun, it’s easy to come up with recipes that are loaded with produce. And of course, Owen happily gobbles these items up, whereas he’s much more weary of doing so with veggies in their whole form.
That said, I make a conscious effort to ensure that with the majority of meals and snacks, I’m providing at least one whole veggie (and/or fruit). While he might more readily accept hidden veggies, it doesn’t provide him the opportunity to explore & familiarize himself with the taste, texture & form of veggies in their natural form.
Hiding veggies becomes a short-term way for us to easily get veggies into our toddlers but ultimately we’re not teaching the valuable habits of recognizing and appreciating their attributes in their natural state.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with baking with produce or whipping up smoothies that contain fruits & veggies – we do it all the time over here! But it also important to consider the opportunity for exposure & exploration for our toddlers who are learning this new skill of eating.
disclaimer: The above assumes no medical issues or concerns. The content that I share in this space should be used for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for medical advice and does not constitute a client/practitioner relationship.0