The Trick to Getting Baby to Eat (and Like!) Veggies

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
January 30, 2017
Hero Image

Getting your kids to eat their vegetables is a war many parents wage for years. But a new study from the University of Leeds in the U.K. found a weapon for early intervention: vegetable puree.

Okay, not exactly a news flash. But they found a strategy that makes babies almost twice as receptive to veggies in less than a month: adding tiny amounts of vegetable puree to milk and then rice at the time of weaning.

Of the 36 babies involved in the study, half were given plain milk (breast milk or formula) for 12 consecutive days, followed by plain rice for 12 consecutive days. The other half were given milk with vegetable puree mixed in for the first 12 days and rice with puree for the next 12.

For the moment of truth, milk and rice were taken away for the next 11 days. All babies consumed straight vegetable puree in a rotation of carrots, peas, broccoli and spinach. (Glad you’re not a baby?) While carrots were highly favored by all, babies who had already been introduced to vegetable puree ate significantly more than the others.

“What this study shows is that by doing a relatively simple thing, like adding vegetable puree to milk and then baby rice, children eat vegetables more readily,” says Professor Marion Hetherington, lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Appetite. “Vegetables tend to be bitter, so a gradual introduction is an easy way to let children get used to them.”

And not only is it on you to gradually introduce veggies; you have to walk the walk, too. “Breast milk contains flavors carried from the maternal diet to the infants, so it is important for [moms] to eat a variety of vegetables and to maintain a healthy diet, too,” says Hetherington.

Do you have any tricks for getting baby to eat healthy?

Related Video
Holle baby food brand launches in the United States at Whole foods, image of Holle's cow milk product.

This Cult-Favorite European Baby Formula Brand Is Coming to America

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
mom holding her newborn baby close to her chest

New Study Finds 9 Out of 10 Newborns Are Born With Gut Deficiency

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Collage of banana slices and watermelon pieces.

The Best Finger Foods for Baby

profile picture of Katherine Martinelli
Katherine Martinelli
Baby being fed food on a spoon by his father.

The Dos and Don’ts of Homemade Baby Food

profile picture of Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH
Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH
10 slides

Top 10 Sippy Cups

profile picture of Anisa Arsenault
Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
dad feeding his baby a bottle while on bed with dog

How to Tell if You're Overfeeding Baby

profile picture of Jennifer L.W. Fink
Jennifer L.W. Fink
Registered Nurse
dad feeding baby organic baby food

Best Organic Baby Food

profile picture of Kathleen Harris
Kathleen Harris
mom holds baby while dad kisses her cheek

Parents Make 1,750 Tough Decisions in Baby’s First Year, Survey Says

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
dad feeding newborn baby formula bottle

How Much Should a Newborn Eat?

profile picture of Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie
Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie
Contributing Writer
Article removed.