On Call: Sneaking In Veggies
Q. Our toddler hates vegetables. Are juices a good substitute?
A. Don't give up so fast! This is the perfect time to teach your child healthy habits, while he'll still listen to you and before TV and junk-food-loving friends can influence him. Vegetable juices don't pack the fiber or same variety of nutrients that actual veggies do, so they should really be an addition to your child's diet instead of a substitute. To make sure juices are healthy, look for ones with no added salt or sugar, or make your own in a blender or juicer.
The best way to get your kid to eat vegetables is to keep offering them (it can take ten or more tries before a child accepts a new food). Top them with cheese, salad dressing, or ketchup, or stir them into soups or sauces -- get creative! Veggie burgers are a fave of my just-turned-2-year-old, and I mix frozen vegetables into almost anything else I'm giving him.
Remember, too, that if you eat your veggies, your child is more likely to do the same.