My sister asked me to ask a question for her.

My niece is 16 months old and has recently started refusing to eat any fruits or vegetables. She only wants to have milk, bread and cheese. She cries and pushes away the food she does not want to eat. My sister has tried hiding fruits and veggies in other foods, but my niece sees the hidden food and refuses it. She is starting to get constipated and my sister is looking for suggestions for getting her baby to eat more fruits and vegetables.

I'm sure someone will suggest speaking to her doctor, so I want to let everyone know that she has already spoken to her baby's doctor and he has suggested that this is just a phase and will get over it.

But, in the mean time, any suggestions for how to get a 16 month old to eat fruits and vegetables?

asked 16 Dec '09, 01:18

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%


Cereals, wholegrain bread, pulses are good for constipation too. As is drinking plenty.

(07 Jan '10, 10:15) Benjol

Has your sister tried to prepare some of the food in front of her daughter?

With fruit I am pretty sure its easier to make progress because you could just wash and peel it directly next to her while maybe playing a game at the same time with the colours of the fruit and saying the names and even hiding the fruit and then asking where the fruit is, followed by "Which one shall we eat?"

Additionaly I used to prepare funny faces with the veg or fruit that were not her favourite and that helped quite a bit.

The recommendations below were referenced from this Website

Prepare Fruits and Raw Vegetables in Different Ways

Slice and arrange a few types of fruits creatively on a small platter for children between meals. Make it fun for them too. Try asking them to make a face or funny picture using grapes, sliced apples, cut raw carrots and celeries. Kids are more likely to eat them when they look appealing!

Make Great-Tasting Vegetable Dishes

To make vegetables more appealing to children’s taste buds, add grated cheese, herbs, olive oil, sweet chili sauce, honey or soy sauce to cooked vegetables. Trying out different methods of cooking such as steaming, roasting and stir-frying may help too as different ways of cooking bring out different tastes and flavors.


answered 16 Dec '09, 08:08

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%


+1 for suggesting preparing the food in front of her. (Just so you know, I added the +1 yesterday, but couldn't write a comment at that time.) We tried cutting up kiwi and bananas in front of her and everyone had some. After she saw we were all doing something she wasn't, she decided she wanted to participate too.

(18 Dec '09, 01:07) cat_g

Tammy is careful to introduce foods in a least sweet to most sweet order during dinner time. So she starts out with vegetables and meat, then adds bread, then fruit or other stuff later, being careful not to let our daughter see what, if anything, is coming next.

The other thing is she generally eats what we eat, and if she doesn't like it, that's fine, she doesn't have to eat it. But she doesn't get anything special (other than milk).

For the constipation, in our experience, put a cap on cheese and meat, but focus on grains, vegetables and anything with some fiber. Make sure to include water.


answered 16 Dec '09, 01:26

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%


We have the opposite problem where my son ONLY wants to eat fruit & vegetables. But we do exactly as Scott does and hide these things until he has eaten the other things we have for him otherwise if he SEES them it's all over and he will cry and refuse to eat anything.

(16 Dec '09, 05:48) Sabrina

+1 for the order of foods least sweet to sweeter!

(16 Dec '09, 07:41) Emi

These are all good suggestions, but unfortunately for my niece, it doesn't matter what order the food is presented to her. At the moment, she has little or no interest in anything other than milk, bread and cheese.

(18 Dec '09, 01:04) cat_g

I wanted to add an other suggestion (even though it is my own question).

In an attempt to get my niece to eat some fruit (and fibre), my sister and I made a fruit smoothie. We blended together 1 cup plain organic yogurt, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup whole milk, 1 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup pineapple and 1 banana together. My niece loved it. (The adults enjoyed the left-overs too!)


answered 18 Dec '09, 01:14

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%


+1 Brilliant :) Smoothies are a great idea for all.

(18 Dec '09, 06:53) Emi

I like the idea if used sparingly. The problem with going to a fruit-heavy diet is that it may make the kid expect everything to be sweet, and that could make veggies and other savories an even more uphill battle later.

(18 Dec '09, 22:32) lgritz

@Igritz My niece has has happily eaten many types of foods in the past including veggies and other savoury foods. But at the moment, the concern is that she is not eating ANY fruits or veggies and needs to so that she will not continue to be constipated.

Also, breast milk is very, very sweet. And breastfed babies do go on to eat lots of non-sweet foods. So, I'm not convinced that offering a baby fruits will keep them from eating other types of foods later on. But, that is just my opinion. :)

(19 Dec '09, 00:20) cat_g

I've never met a kid (or adult for that matter) that didn't love this recipe. It's full of iron, vitamin C, fiber, flavor and veggies. It's very adaptable, so feel free to play with the suggestions. It also doesn't suffer if you decrease the amount of sugar some because the veggie choices are pretty sweet.

Pumpkin Spice Loaf

Sift in one bowl:
1/2 cup each: chick pea flour, whole wheat flour, white flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/ tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp baking powder

Combine in another bowl:
1/3 cup water, milk, soy milk, almond milk, OR eggnog (whatever floats your boat ;))
1/2 tsp vanilla

In yet another bowl, beat until creamy:
6 Tbsp Butter or Margarine
1 1/3 cup sugar (can be white, combo of white and brown, combo of no more than 1/3 cup molasses and other sugar)(molasses is a good source of iron, so it's a good choice)
then, beat in
2 large eggs
then, add
1 cup of cooked orange mash. Let it be pumpkin, yam, carrot, squash. You choose!

Add 1/3 flour mix to sugar mix, then one half of milk, then 1/3 of flour, then rest of milk, then rest of flour.

At this point, you can add in dried fruit (minced prunes, apricots, raisins, figs) and/or chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds-my personal fave) If you so choose. Use 1/3 cup of each.

Bake in muffin tins, loaf pans or whatever you choose at 350 degrees. Cooking times will vary depending on the pan, from about 20 minutes in a muffin tin, to about 1 1/2 hours in a loaf pan. watch, though: it will be done when a toothpick comes out clean.


answered 17 Dec '09, 19:51

DarwinsMom's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

edited 18 Dec '09, 19:16

+1 for a delicious recipe! I actually bought a pumpkin a few days ago with the intention of making some pumpkin loaf for my son and niece.

(18 Dec '09, 01:09) cat_g

When we have veggies that my daughter won't eat I will make it in a casserole of sorts and feed it to her together with noodles and meat. I have also given her smashed cooked peas on bread so she can't pick it apart and she had no problem eating that. My daughter loves fruits though so we haven't had to find ways to hide those as much (could make a pure fruit puree and spread it on bread/toast like jam).

My paediatrician also recommended that if my daughter got constipated that we could give her fruit juice like apple juice as long as there was no sugar added.


answered 16 Dec '09, 02:10

nikjoyce's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%

My son likes the jars of cereal, oats, etc with fruit in them. Stuff like Rolled Oats with Raisins or whatever. When we first started him on jars, I would mix a little of the cereal flakes into the fruits and veggies, mostly to thicken them up and make it easier to feed them to him, but he also seemed to prefer the mixed taste to just getting the cereal or fruits and veggies.


answered 16 Dec '09, 03:00

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

For the constipation, I believe raisins are a good remedy. Given that your niece is currently avoiding fruits and vegetables, maybe raisins are un-veggie-like enough that she might snack on them.

I try to make most things I read on the Internet with a grain of salt (irony intended) but there were several links that came up when searching for "raisins constipation". By taking a grain of salt, in this case I mean that all the remedies I read seem to promote soaking raisins for several hours and drinking the water therefrom. However, for a toddler I think I'd be happy if she would just snack on them. They're high in fibre, and generally a pretty good natural laxative on their own.


answered 16 Dec '09, 17:55

Jeff's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

As well as trying to persuade her to eat fruit and veg (many others have provided excellent ideas on how to persuade her to eat those) I would suggest making sure all the starchy foods she eats contain plenty of fibre. Whole meal bread, whole grain rice, wholemeal pasta, mashed potatoes with the skins left on are all good sources of fibre.


answered 16 Dec '09, 18:22

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

+1 for including whole grains

(16 Dec '09, 19:59) Tammy ♦♦

I also had the same difficulty with my son, he doesn't like eating fruits and vegetables before. Up to now he is a very picky eater. Good thing now he loves to eat carrots and apples. What we did is that, we make his eating more fun and rewarding for him. Like we say wow, and yummy, when we offer him carrots, and then I also eat carrots and or apple in front of him, so he can see. Whenever he tries or follows what we do, we reward him by saying very good, clapping our hands and so on. The reward system works. Sometimes, I also invited other kids or we visit his cousins, so he can see them eating fruits and veggies. I also make sure, to include this ingredients in his favorite foods like in his noodles, or soup, so at least he can be familiar with it. I really have to do all this effort, because my son is a bit slim, he is not like other babies who are chubby. So I really have to make sure that he is getting the right amount of nutrients that his body needs. As parents, we always want our kids to have a normal baby weight and a healthy body.


answered 20 Dec '12, 21:47

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accept rate: 0%

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Asked: 16 Dec '09, 01:18

Seen: 17,061 times

Last updated: 20 Dec '12, 21:47