7 Tips to Help Your Baby Learn to Like Veggies


Read time: 3 minutes

What to know about teaching your baby to eat vegetables

  • Repeated exposure to all different vegetables is most important when it comes to acceptance

  • Your baby will likely eat more vegetables if they see you eating them as well

  • Any exposure to vegetables, including looking, smelling, or playing with them, is important

How do I get my child to like vegetables? This is one of the most common questions when it comes to feeding infants and toddlers.

It turns out that the bitter taste of vegetables actually does take some time to get used to. As humans, we’re genetically hardwired to have a preference for sweet foods.1,2 So, when your little one is given a choice between a fruit or a vegetable, they will certainly gravitate toward the sweeter option!

Fortunately, there are many ways to get your baby interested in vegetables (and none of them involve tricking or hiding veggies!).

Here are the top seven tips for getting your baby to like vegetables.

1. Repeat, repeat, repeat

Don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t seem to like a new veggie on the first try. In fact, it can take 10 or more tries for a baby to like a new food, especially when it comes to bitter vegetables.3,4,5

A negative facial reaction to a food doesn’t necessarily mean your little one dislikes the food. Oftentimes they react with strong facial cues in response to any new flavor or texture.6

Repeatedly offer small amounts of each vegetable to let babies get used to the taste. Once they accept the taste, keep that veggie in their weekly rotation!

Read more: Helping Your Child Build a Taste for Healthy Foods

2. Introduce veggies early and feed them often

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend a specific order for introduction to various food groups.7 With that said, there are a few studies indicating that babies who started solids with vegetables and were given veggies frequently, had a higher vegetable intake and acceptance as compared with babies who started with fruit.8,9

Whether you start with infant cereal, pureed fruit, smashed avocado, or pureed peas, be sure to offer veggies every day to help your little one build a taste for these foods.

3. Provide a variety of vegetables

Infants fed a variety of vegetables regularly are more likely to accept new vegetables and new foods in general.10,11,12 There is no shortage of vegetables to try, just be sure they’re prepared in a texture appropriate for your baby.

You can also try different cooking methods (steam, roast, sauté) and ways to add flavor (fresh or dried herbs and different cooking oils like olive and avocado oil) to not only expose your baby to even more flavors and textures, but also help increase the likelihood that they’ll accept a new veggie.

Read more: How Can I Get My Baby to Love Veggies

4. Gradually advance textures

When preparing a new vegetable, you can gradually advance how it is prepared, starting with the vegetable pureed with breastmilk or prepared formula, and then advancing to mix the vegetable with another already accepted food, such as a fruit puree or cereal.13

As your baby gets older, you’ll progressively advance to lumpy mashes, soft finger foods, and soft table foods as your baby shows readiness and their ability to eat solids develops. Once your baby is self-feeding, be sure veggies are cooked enough to be “smushable” between your fingers and pea-sized to help prevent choking.17

Read more:

Starting Solids: First Foods and Textures

Preventing Choking in Infants and Toddlers

5. Role model eating vegetables

Aim to eat meals together as much as possible, even when your child is under 1 year old.

Babies tend to mimic parents’ behaviors, so when they see you consistently eating veggies at mealtime, they’ll be more likely to want to take part! Research indicates that little ones who saw their parents modeling healthy eating at one year were more likely to eat vegetables at 2 years and beyond.14

Learn about: Family Meals: Developing Healthy Eating Patterns

6. Seeing and touching vegetables is just as important as eating them

As frustrating as it is to see your baby refuse veggies time and time again, keep in mind that exposure doesn’t necessarily mean your baby has to eat the vegetable. Simply letting your baby touch, smell, lick, or even play with the food on their tray can help them begin to accept vegetables.

This visual and tactual exposure is beneficial in bridging the gap between your baby refusing a veggie to one day trying it because of the repeated past visual exposure.15

7. Breastfeed if possible

Even breastfeeding contributes to early vegetable acceptance, particularly if your diet includes vegetables. The different flavors in mom’s diet impact the taste of the breastmilk, which gives your baby exposure to new flavors before they’ve even begun solids!2,4,16

Learn more: Picky Eating: Taste Imprinting during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

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Our Happy Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitian nutritionists certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too! They’re here to offer personalized support on our free, one-on-one, live chat platform Mon-Fri 8am-6pm (ET). No appointment needed, no email or sign-up required. Chat Now!

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For more on this topic, check out the following articles:

Helping Avoid Picky Eating in Babies and Toddlers

Meal Plan for 6 to 9 Month Old Baby

Nutrient Needs and Feeding Tips for 6 to 12 Month Olds

Nutritious Snack for Babies and Toddlers

Avoid Giving your Child too much Sugar and Salt