When your child hates vegetables

My son hates fruits & vegetables.

Okay, he’s not even 2, so I doubt Little Y hates them but he won’t let a raw fruit or vegetable (apart from a banana) pass his lips.

My family (aka me) is very into fresh foods – salads, veggie sticks to dip in dressing, cut up fruit and whole fruit is at every meal. I am not a big cook, so if something can be eaten raw then why would I bother cooking it. I don’t love winter fruits, but summer times find my older two kids fighting over the mangoes and watermelon. Just this morning my 4 year old looked at me accusingly and said: Mommy, why don’t you buy me mangoes anymore?

Lunch boxes are filled with cherry tomatoes, bananas, grapes and orange wedges –  nutritious foods which take no preparation.

So this realization freaked me out.

My mind is racing with guilt.

It’s because he’s my third and is neglected and gets to eat way more junk than my other kids knew existed at this age

It’s because I don’t make an effort with this meals

It’s because of me letting him eat whatever he wants just to keep him quiet and now it’s a habit I can’t break

How can he possibly be healthy without any nutrients from fruit and vegetables?

How can a feeding coach’s son be so unhealthy?

I thought following DOR (Division of Responsibility) guarantees your children eat healthily?

Wow. So much fear. I am so tempted to give in to this fear and get these foods into him no matter what.

Until I took a breath and remembered what I teach parents every single day:

Fearful feeding drives control, anxiety, and pressure and leads to power struggles and worse nutrition in the short and long term. 

So, while the fear is still there I am choosing to follow this plan of action:

  1. Trust – he’s not even 2. His likes and dislikes haven’t been set. I will trust that with time he will learn to expand his food preferences and enjoy the foods we enjoy. It’s a stage and it will pass most probably.
  2. Perspective – if I make a huge issue of fruit and vegetables and force him to eat them it will guarantee he won’t eat them when he’s older and make it stressful and unpleasant for both of his. His age – almost 2 – combined with his fiercely strong personality which makes Stalin seem meek means that getting him to do anything he doesn’t want to a formidable task which I know I will lose. I do not have any extra energy to expand on this operation which I cannot succeed at. My goal is for him to enjoy these foods as he gets older and by forcing him continuously it will make it hard to achieve that.
  3. Get creative  – I am going to gently prepare these foods in different ways to offer him an enjoyable way to eat these nutritious sources of foods. Think freshly squeezed juices (he does seem to like those), put more veggies in the chicken soup, smoothies, carrot muffins and more. I will not make these especially for him and will offer them without pressure. #ididmyjob
  4. Patience. He’s got loads of growing up to do. He’s a typical toddler who is neophobic which means he doesn’t like new things. I am going to wait this one out, and as per #1 trust that in time he will gradually expand his tastes. I will not stop offering him these foods, nor will I insist that he tastes them or eats them.

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