why do toddlers almost universally hate vegetables, when they are so essential for our nutrition?



Why is it that almost all toddlers around the age of 2-3 have a tendency to just want carbs and hate vegetables? Especially green vegetables? I know that toddlers are fussy, like to control things, and are afraid of new foods. But why is it almost universally vegetables that they hate, when they’re so essential for our nutrition?

In: Biology

Evolutionarily speaking, we desire sugar and fat as they are quick energy sources. We want instant energy that can be used straight away.

That being said, toddlers are fine with flavourless vegetable mush if they don’t know any different. You should avoid exposing young children to excessive sugar, and intense favours until they are able to discern between healthy and unhealthy.

I noticed it depends on how you introduce new food to them as well.

My 6 year old, we didn’t do baby led weaning (meaning giving him our food to taste and try at 6 months old, we stuck to bottles with him to a year)

He didn’t get the experience early on of different types of food and textures and until only last year, he wouldn’t even eat Mac and Cheese. He’s come far from then and now eats some veggies, but it’s still a challenge (I know Mac isn’t a vegetable)

My 18 month old however, we baby led weaned. He will eat anything we put in front of him. From Avocado to broccoli, to greens. He likes it all.

Our sense of taste changes as we age.

Young children have a higher sensitivity for bitter taste, so children should be expected to have a different reaction

Also, people tend to over cook or poorly prepare most veggies. So don’t over cook your veggies and be prepared to include salt and butter (or olive oil)

They realise they can make choices and manipulate you into getting what they want instead of accepting what is provided, I have a 2 year old right now turns 2 February, and I know what you mean. That’s what I see is happening he has experience lots of foods and can now know what to expect when presented with certain things but he know there are more tastier things to be had and maybe if he can get those things if he wants by having a tantrum or refuse to eat etc. what I’m trying to say is they are getting smarter and more aware of the world around them

I feel like most toddlers’ first experiences with vegetables is when they are in their raw form (especially broccoli) so when they are faced with it later on, no matter how it is presented to them, their first experience is the basis to how they treat and react to it.

You have been misinformed. Vegetables are not essential for our nutrition at all. For millions of years our ancestors ate almost entirely meat. Vegetables, if they were eaten, were as a last resort in times of starvation.

Note that modern vegetables are very different from their wild ancestors, which were even less palatable than the varieties grown today, and it is only in the last few thousand years that plant matter has been a substantial part of the human diet.

Even recently there were societies which still adhered to this traditional way of eating. Either because vegetables just didn’t grow (eg the Inuit) or because meat was still plentiful and the area hadn’t been overrun by pastoralists (eg the plains Indians pre-Columbus).

And right now, if you wanted to, you could quite happily do without eating plant matter of any sort and be totally healthy.