Just like grown-ups, children will develop a preference for certain foods. At around 2 years old, a child’s taste buds begin to change, resulting in the picky eating phase that is common to many toddlers. They have also realized that they have control over few things in life – and eating is one of them!
Many children prefer fruits to vegetables naturally; they are sweet, and babies are born with a predisposition to like sweet things due to the sweet taste of breast milk. Not all children will carry this sweet tooth into later life, however, and some will decide vegetables are more their thing. Even more commonly, they will come to like some fruits and vegetables while disliking others.
There is nothing wrong with developing a personal sense of taste, but it’s important to make sure your child is eating a balanced children diet as well. If your little one has a distinct preference for one or the other of these two nutritious choices, it isn’t the end of the world, but you should make sure you try to keep them both on the menu.
When Your Child Will Only Eat Fruit
Luckily, fruit is generally a pretty healthy choice for a child, and is certainly better choice than some of the other favorite foods kids have a tendency to choose. Your child can get a great source of vitamins and minerals from fruits, as long as the choices are varied. Eating only bananas won’t provide all the needed nutrition. Keep offering different fruits, but don’t give up on vegetables.
Sometimes, a child who likes only fruits will be more likely to try vegetables if you add a little sweetness to the mix. Try cooking carrots with a little honey; they are already naturally sweet, and the added sweetness of the honey might just put them over the top for your little one. Throw a sweet fruit in with the vegetables; try dried fruits mixed with green beans or peas, or combine sweet potatoes with apples.
If your child doesn’t like the texture of vegetables, try serving them raw or only slightly steamed instead. Keep a close eye out for possible choking hazards, but give fresh veggies and dip a try. If your child prefers fruit because it is crisp, cold, and uncooked, trying fresh vegetables might help.
If Your Little One Prefers Vegetables
It’s a rare child who chooses veggies over fruits, but it certainly does happen! If your child prefers vegetables, there really isn’t a whole lot to worry about as the nutrition provided by a diet rich in various vegetables is very well balanced.
Still, don’t skip the fruits. As with a child who prefers fruit, it’s a good idea to keep the diet as balanced as possible to ensure the best sources of nutrition. Keep offering fruit, and again try mixing it into the vegetables. Fruit makes a wonderful, convenient snack – try serving it with a yogurt dip to make it more fun.
Throughout childhood, your child will likely have several changes of heart as to what foods are on the in list and which are out. It is a time of developing tastes and opinions, and your little one is discovering personal preferences and learning how to express them. The best thing a parent can do is to keep offering different foods. The more often your child sees a food, the more likely it will eventually make it onto the “like” list.