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  1. We have definitely had the same problem here. My first two sons ate (and still do) pretty much everything, including salads with dinner every night (currently 8 and 11 years old). My two younger sons? Oh my. It’s a struggle. My youngest is currently 23 months and most days he will drink a little smoothie (I hide veggies in it), maybe some raisins, maybe a piece of bagel or waffle. That’s about it! He refuses most foods but I keep offering. At least he still nurses several times a day!

    Keep up the good work!

    • Hah thanks! We had success last night too, with mashed potatoes. I just keep serving them up, and eventually she puts them in her mouth. She seems healthy though, so I don’t worry. I’m just bored! And how good are smoothies! I put all sorts of things in ours πŸ™‚

  2. I’m very thankful our kids will eat or at least try just about anything. They’ve eaten the strangest Japanese foods with no qualms. Takoyaki? Can’t get enough. Natto? More natto sushi please, mummy! But potato? The plain, boring vegetable that is the only veggie many Aussie kids will eat? Gag-ville. The only acceptable form of potato is in fries or chips. Even wedges are scorned. Well, if that means all the roast potatoes are mine, I’m not going to complain πŸ˜‰

  3. I think you may be on your way to solving a conundrum which must be near the top of most parents list of frustrations. We have an allotment and whilst Max will turn his nose up at a broad bean or a tomato in ‘real life’, in allotment life he will strip a tomato plant in minutes and shell beans like a pro. I’ve taken to telling him that every veggie offering comes from our allotment, he may be two but he’s not stupid. You hate fruit?

    • LOATHE. I eat it occasionally because it is good for me, but I don’t choose it on purpose very often! Abby’s never eaten a tomato. It’s annoying, but I can’t say I’m too caught up by it πŸ™‚

  4. You are a far stronger woman than me. I am a bit of a food-control-freak, and I often wonder what problems I am setting myself up for in the future. Dinnertime is a full-on battle with my almost 4yo, while my daughter would happily eat furniture if I cut it up and put it on her plate. How do you stay so zen and whatevs about it? Occasionally, my mum injects a bit of reality into my life and points out that both my kids eat a wide variety of healthy food and I should shut up and hand over the ice-cream. But I’m their mother! I am going to take every health issue for the rest of their lives as a personal FAIL. See how worked up I get? Pass me the ice-cream…

    • Haha mostly because I know they’ll grow out of it. And the more you force, the more they will say no… and possibly end up with negative associations with food, and I want to avoid that at all costs. It’s SO normal for them to eat a narrow menu, most kids do and they survive all right! When I can reason with them, I will think more broadly about getting them to eat more things. But I genuinely don’t think their limited choices are doing them harm. Plus I’m a very laid-back mother as it is, I’m not sure I could get more free range! I also don’t do guilt very well – I do the best I can, and I make my peace with that. I refuse to feel bad for doing my best but still falling short. (But really, falling short of whose standards? Aren’t all two-year-olds supposed to hate broccoli?!)

      • Wise words, lady… I think most people actually hate broccoli, we’ve just talked ourselves into liking it because it’s so healthy…

  5. My eldest who is nearly 19 used to eat a very limited diet. But now she eats and cooks just about anything. I really do believe that by offering choices eventually they will try new foods and may even like them. I also found that the quicker I taught her to cook the more she ate. Goodluck your immersion idea is definitely worth trying.

    • Oh it’s people like you who give me hope! I feel in my bones she will grow out of it, but sometimes there’s that doubt and I wonder if she’ll eat peanut butter on rye sandwiches for dinner for LIFE. Abby is a wonderful little sous chef, and I can see that if she helps to make it, then she may just eat it too. Not often, but we’re getting there!

  6. Just keep on doing what you are doing Stacey Abby will either decide she likes veggies or not ,mine were exactly the same one liked them and one didn’t ,go figure and now they are very different and have completely different tastes I just kept offering and maybe one day you might get lucky xx

  7. I love the book suggestions! (anymore?)
    I struggled with my eldest, but now he is 5 – he is great at ‘trying’ things (how do you know if you don’t like it, if you haven’t tried it? you might be missing out on something?), but hasn’t added much to his ‘like’ list yet. My middle is 3 and has a random palate – frozen peas, raw carrot, very top of broccoli – but doesn’t like sandwiches… toast okay, plain pieces of bread okay, just not sandwiches?

    • Haha aren’t they funny! And you know that there would be some things they’d love if they tried it. Abby wouldn’t go near ice cream, although I knew she’d think it was great if she just gave it a go. That’s why I can’t wait to be able to reason with her. But we’ll keep plodding along for now. I get excited when she at least tries it, even though, like your son, she doesn’t put much on the “like” list!

  8. I am very impressed with the amount of veggie exposure you’ve got going on! My son was a bit the same.. Would eat anything up until he was maybe 12 months then he became annoyingly picky. He’d happily live off bananas, dates and yoghurt with a piece of toast thrown in for good measure every now and then. I used to get myself in quite the state over it (Why won’t you EAT the mushrooms I’ve lovingly sauteed for you in butter and garlic, you ate them last week?!) but now I’m a bit ‘meh’ about the whole thing. I offer him a variety of different veggies every night and sometimes he’ll eat, other time he’ll feed the dog but I figure that slow and steady will eventually win the race.. maybe

  9. You’ve got to be the most sane relaxed person I’ve ever met when it comes to their kids eating habits! I am thoroughly impressed & will be taking some of these ideas on board if Blake deicides to be a butt head in the eating department.

    Let me share the messed up journey I’ve been on with my eldest ( who is now a towering 13.5 yr old)- the kid ate everything until 18 months then overnight stopped. All that would be eaten was cereal, yogurt & sandwiches. At first I didn’t worry but then as the years rolled on I was totally freaking out. By the age of 4 we had seen a dietician, nutritionist & psycologist. The nutritionist suggested a starvation diet- offer the food I want him to eat & if he doesn’t eat to let him starve, he’ll eat when hungry. After a week of this & sitting at the table with my four year old in tears hitting himself in the head saying ” my brain just wont let me do it. My brain wont let me eat those foods” . It was one of the worst days ever. They then sent us to a psych ( who happened to be an ex’s dad!) who more or less told me to CTFD & to not worry it’ll all be OK. So we walked out of there feeling relieved & honestly thinking my kid would eventually eat normal food. We got to age 10 & he still only ate a handful of foods so I took him to a hypnotist, I was that desperate, & nothing changed. At age 11 we went back to counselling & made some very small progress but after a while she said she thought she had done as much as she could. He is now a giant teenager who still only eats about 6 things ( I’m not even joking) & I’ve more or less given up. I still try & get him to eat. It never works & to me it is my biggest parenting failure.
    I wish all those years ago I had been more like you…..

    • Oh dude, that sounds hard core. I have a friend who is an adult and only eats a handful of things and we tease him about it, but he is who he is. Maybe your boy is just meant to be like that too? To be honest, if I was in your position I don’t think I would have been THIS relaxed about it. If we got to four and Abby was saying things like her brain wouldn’t let her eat the food, then you bet I’d be straight up to the experts getting her checked out. I might not stress to the max about it, but I would definitely be concerned. I think you have to look back and honestly evaluate your effort – if you did your absolute best, then you need to make your peace with that and let it go. His reluctance to eat wouldn’t be from anything you did or didn’t do. If you tried your best and this was still the outcome, then it must have been meant to be for some other reason. I feel bad that you feel bad! I guess we all have our guilt triggers and this must be yours. But I think you did what you could, you should be proud of yourself for that.

      • It is crazy & hardcore & it’s only when I tell people our story that I realize how much we’ve tried to overcome it all. Most of the time I let him be. I encourage him to try new food because I know he feels self conscious about it in front of people but you’re right- he is who he is. Who knows , maybe one day he’ll change. Maybe he won’t.

  10. I just pile her plate, day after day with food I know she won’t eat. It’s so frustrating as we did baby led weaning and she ate EVERYTHING as a baby, at 20 months, literally overnight, she stopped eating all together. After 6 months of eating only breakfast food she ate a bit of pizza and some sausage and I did a freakin happy dance! Persistence seems to be the way but even with maple syrup, she won’t eat veggies. Now I’m off to buy some books on veggies, thanks for the tip : )

    • I hope it helps! Isn’t it strange?! I did mostly baby-led weaning with Abby (only I never called it that, and we did do purees for a month or so at the start there) and she literally ate whatever was put on her tray. I have tons of posts here on this blog chronicling that journey and the crazy things she would eat. And then… nothing. Banana and peanut butter sandwiches. Thank goodness she seems to be coming out the other end of it now. I’m sick to death of peanut butter!

  11. From what I read in the comments, it’s a very common scenario for a child to reach that 12 – 18month age mark and suddenly stop eating what they once did without any problems whatsoever, which leads me to conclude that it’s completely normal and not to be stressed over.

    And I too can relate to this scenario, I did BLW with Scarlett and she’d eat (or suck and kind of mush about) pretty much everything I offered her.

    But then yeah, total heels in with a repetitive and limited diet for what seemed like AGES.

    Now at 6 weeks shy of four years old we have a much more experimental eater at our table, she’ll try pretty much anything but won’t necessarily eat it. If she does happen to like something it gets added to her “approve and will eat” list immediately.

    In the meantime I ensure any fruit or vegetable that she does eat readily is always available, her bread is good quality, her porridge is made with added healthy bits and bobs and she has always had access to breastmilk (until I got pregnant), as well we too, do the smoothies as they’re a great vehicle for veggies and supplements.

    With the little ones I think it’s more about what they DON’T eat, i.e. don’t be eating shit and drinking sugary drinks and they’re already in front nutritionally.

    Sorry for the ramble, a *bit* passionate about this topic, can you tell?! x

    • ooh yes I like that! They might not be eating broccoli at every meal, but they’re also not eating deep fried Coke. What they do eat is good quality. You’re a clever clogs, I like you A LOT.

  12. STACEY!!! You are a wonderful role model to your children. These tactics you are casually introducing are actually ones which research supports 100%. It is all about familiarisation and breaking down the fear boundaries. The 12 month mark is often a period that children start to exhibit food neophobia which is basically a fancy word for being scared of foreign foods. It is evolutionary. Genetically, babies are predisposed to preferring sweet and salty and they LEARN to like bitter and sour as these senses are often linked to toxic foods. Hence the evolutionary aspect. Making them familiar, playing with them and eating them with your child, will help desensitise that.
    Maternal eating habits and style is also KEY to healthy eating habit development. All research supports a relaxed mealtime preparation and eating. If they don’t eat it, that is okay, maybe they can just lick it. But by forcing them or becoming stressed will just stress the child out and lead them to associate negativity with eating and mealtime. Bribing, although it appears it is working is short term and does not lend the child to actually liking the rejected food. In fact, they hate it more.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE what you are doing with your monkies. LIKE LOVE!!! Go you good thing πŸ˜‰

    • Dude, you made my day! You know how you just do things instinctively because they feel right, but it’s so much nicer to be reassured that it is the right thing to do? backed up by research and all, that makes me HAPPEEEEE!
      I do try to read things about children’s nutrition, but keep stumbling onto the extreme pages of the internet about weird diets and stuff that I feel is getting too far away from the simplicity of feeding your kids good, wholesome food. So I stopped reading much of it (thank goodness for you!) and just went by feel and good common sense. I am grateful you’ve come to shed some light πŸ™‚

  13. We have that Ikea veggie book too…and love it!
    I just keep trying. Toddler C has gotten a LOT better and will now at least try just about anything I give him. And it constantly amazes me what he decides to like…today he gobbled up a few anchovy stuffed olives! And yet he refuses to eat potato!

  14. So glad that I’m not the only mum that has a child that refuses to eat veggies. She knows all their names because we have a vegetable garden but won’t eat them because she doesn’t like them even thought she hasn’t tasted them. I have had some wins recently with avocado, carrot and cherry tomatoes. Hoping it gets better here on in. It was lovely meeting you at Problogger last week. I may have walked past you at Sea World on Sunday because we took our girls there too… but you were getting your girls ready for the pool. I have sat for the last half hour reading your posts and your blogging journey. Man you’re awesome. πŸ™‚

    • Haha getting my two ready for the pool takes half a day! No wonder I didn’t even see you, I’m so sorry! It was lovely to chat to you at problogger, it is always nice to see a friendly face and meet a new friend. Luckily abby will do avocado on things, and carrot has made it into her mouth a few times. Cherry tomatoes (which I LOVE) are still a work in progress – good for you! Here’s hoping they just grow out of it πŸ™‚

  15. That’s such a great idea! To immerse your kids in vegetables! From now on I’m going to requesting vegetables for my baby’s toys!

  16. This is great, I’d love my kid to eat veggies, and wonder how. Sweet ideas here and importantly – its working for you, hooray for that

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