Vegetables are an important part of a baby’s diet because they provide a valuable source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
So something all parents need to know is what are the best vegetables to introduce into your infant’s diet once they move on to solids.
For a young baby, the best vegetables to serve are ones that are soft and easily blendable once cooked.
But how many vegetables should an infant baby eat each day?
Are there any you should avoid?
And what can you do if your baby is a fussy eater and refusing to eat any?
Let’s find out.
Best First Vegetables For Babies?
The best vegetables for young babies are ones that are soft and easily blendable once cooked.
Some examples include:
- Sweet Potato
- Butternut Squash
What Are The Benefits of Eating Vegetables For Babies?
Vegetables offer a multitude of benefits for babies, toddlers, older children and adults alike.
Some of the key benefits include providing your child with essential nutrients, fibre, vitamins and minerals, which is why pregnant women may crave fruit and vegetables.
The nutrients in vegetables are also required for your baby’s optimum growth and development, and will help protect your child against chronic diseases later in life.
What Is The Correct Vegetable Portion Size For A Baby?
The amount of vegetables to give your child will depend on their age.
For babies aged 6 months who have just started eating solids, about 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable (in pureed form) per day is a good amount.
When your baby reaches 8 months to one year, the portion size should roughly double or treble in size to 4-8 tablespoons (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup).
For more information on the move to solids, check out our Baby & Toddler Feeding Guide.
How To Encourage Babies to Eat Vegetables?
Even with the best intentions it can be difficult to get fussy eaters to eat vegetables, but there are some things you can do to increase the chances.
Try these tips if your baby needs some extra encouragement to eat their veggies.
Serve Vegetables First
One of the best tips to encourage your child to eat their vegetables is to serve veggies first, before the rest of their meal.
So try seating your baby in their high chair and offering them a few pieces of veggie and nothing else for a few minutes, before you put anything else on their table or plate.
Set A Good Example
Babies like to copy other children, adults and especially their parents.
So try eating a well rounded meal with plenty of vegetables in front of your baby, and if your baby wishes allow them to eat the veggies off your plate.
Add More Flavour
Contrary to belief, baby food doesn’t have to be boring.
So try adding seasoning (everything except salt) to their veggies and other food in order to make it more appetizing.
Paprika, oregano, pepper, garlic and cumin are all excellent ways of easily adding flavour to any vegetable or meal.
Make A Dip
Just like adults, many babies love the idea of dipping finger food into a dip.
So try blending vegetables into a tasty dip, so your child can dip their food into it.
Stay Calm & Patient
Getting angry at your baby or trying to force them to eat any vegetables is likely to backfire and make the situation worse.
So try and stay calm and patient in your bid to encourage your baby to eat veggies, and whatever you do, don’t lose hope!
Your child is more likely to eat their greens if they are offered some at most meals.
So even if your baby is frustratingly refusing to eat their veggies, try not to despair and continue serving some vegetables with most or all meals.
Mixing With Other Foods
This one is sneaky but can be very effective.
By mixing veggies into other foods – for example mixing zucchini or peas into a pasta sauce – your baby might not realise they’re eating something packed full of veggies.
What Happens If Your Baby Doesn’t Eat Vegetables?
A child that doesn’t eat any vegetables is likely to have constipation and other digestive issues.
However, if your baby still eats other foods such as fruit, grains, nuts, dairy, fish and meat, and are not eating sugary foods like chocolate, then they are still likely to have a healthy diet.
So try not to worry too much if your child is going through a temporary phase of not eating any vegetables.
Can A Baby Eat Too Many Vegetables?
Vegetables are high in fiber, so it’s important that a baby doesn’t eat an excessively large amount of veggies.
If they do, your child may experience digestive discomfort including gas, bloating and cramps.
What Vegetables To Avoid Giving Babies
While most veggies are safe for babies, you should avoid serving your child anything that is hard or raw, because these may pose a serious choking hazard.