They’re a food group that remains a constant source of frustration for parents, but veggies don’t have to be hard work if you take the right steps right from the start. Rafferty’s Garden nutritionist Karen Kingham leads the way.

What the research says

Results from one of Australia’s most recent surveys show that less than a quarter of our young children get their daily veggie intake. And as grown-ups we don’t do much better. If we can’t do it, how can we expect our children to. Right? Wrong!

Familiarity brings love

Including vegetables at as many meals and snacks as you can makes a world of difference, as exposure is everything to young children. Try the tips below:

Be a good role model

Let your children see YOU eat and enjoy lots of different vegetables. Research shows when mum and dad make an effort children will too.

Don’t give up

Keep putting veggies on the plate. Many babies and young children need to be familiar with foods before they will eat them so they need to see them often.

Think outside the square

Veggies don’t just have to be cooked and served up with a meal.  Raw or lightly steamed vegetables (cucumber, snow peas, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli) make a great snack to dip into mashed avocado, cream cheese or a smooth vegetable puree.

So how much?

Australian guidelines recommend:

  • Babies 7-12 months: 1½ – 2 serves/day

A serve is 20g or approx one tablespoon cooked vegetables or legumes

  • Toddler’s 13-23 months: 2-3 serves/day
  • Young children 2-3 years: 2 ½ serves/day

A serve is ½ cup cooked vegetables or legumes or 1 cup raw green leafy vegetables

Do you have a little veggie lover at home? SHARE WITH US in the comments below. 

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  • Children wont know about certain foods and sweets if you dont give them to them.
    A friend of mine told me that her kids didnt like tasty cheese. I asked her how she knew? She looked stunned. When they came to my house I gave them Tasty cheese. Turns out her kids did like it and it was her that didnt.


  • Raising them is easy – keeping them loving vegies is a whole new ball game. I managed by growing a little vegie patch and telling them they weren’t allowed to pick anything unless I was there. It was amazing how they ate the peas and beans and baby sweet corn behind my back.


  • Due to our Asian culture we always cook a lot of greens such as buk choy or broccoli in our food especially in stir frys etc. Due to this habit , and part of our diet our kids had no choice but eat what we eat. I think it is more easier if you start as soon as they are ready to eat solids. Start small such as mashed potatoes , carrots etc and then start into the greens . Mix colurs such as orange , green , yellow so it looks colourful . Keep doing it even if they whinge out loud because simply you will starve if you don’t eat .


  • I’ve introduced veggies (before fruits) from a young age and they’re a big part of our diet. My kids love them !! It certainly helps when we can stick some carrot, cucumber, celery sticks, tomato’s, raw broccoli or raw mushrooms into their crunch & sip – or lunch boxes.


  • To be honest, I still hate vegies….despite my mum trying everything possible to get me to eat them. It’s always been a texture thing so I grate or puree everything I can and mix it into whatever I’m cooking. Fortunately the kids do like their vegies but when they were young I had to tell them I ate mine while I was cooking because they looked so good.
    The things we tell our kids hahahaha


  • Great tips thanks for sharing


  • I found getting my son to eat veggies needed to start from the moment he could eat solids. Instead of commercial baby food, we fed him the same veggies we ate, just mashed up – finely to start with and then progressively with more lumps until he just ate the same as us. I found mixing in some vegemite or cheese gave it some more taste. I can tell you that when I feel a little off, my immediate go to food is mashed veggies with vegemite. Always makes me feel better.


  • Perseverance and continual exposure is the key. We have an 8 year old who insists on veggies with every meal.


  • When my babies first started solids, all they had to eat was fruits and veggies. Lots of fruits and veggies were included in their diet from then on. They don’t like every one in existence, but there’s not too many refusals


  • I love it when my kids eat their vegies without fuss, it de-stresses tea time.


  • I had one who loved his veggies and the another that would spit them out, but we perservered and he started to eat some, now he eats all his veggies but don’t start me on his aversion to eating fruit.


  • This article is great. I’m very lucky that my 5 children eat most vegetables :)


  • Present food and especially veggies in a variety of ways and continue to give ones that were not such a ‘hit’ over and over and eventually they become part of the everyday diet.


  • Thankfully my little one doesn’t mind most of her veggies (-:


  • also yeah i do agree with familiarity. give them a vegie to try and if they don’t like it, try it again and again and they will.


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