Helping Parents Deal with Kids Who Won’t Eat Their Veggies {Interview}

Helping Parents Deal with Kids Who Won’t Eat Their Veggies {Interview}




We all know and hear about what we SHOULD feed our young children, but parents everywhere know the struggle. The true story about what kids are really eating may surprise you.

One landmark study soon to be published in the Journal of Nutrition now finds that more than one quarter of toddlers and preschoolers do not eat a single vegetable serving on a given day and of those who do, French fries are the most common.

Other findings include:

  • One in five infants’ diets are falling short on iron: instrumental for brain development and learning
  • Three out of four toddlers and preschoolers consume too much sodium: putting them at risk for developing high blood pressure and heart disease later in life[1]
  • Fewer than 25% of kids 0 to 48 months old get the recommended amount of vitamin D in their diet: needed for bone growth and development

Ensuring that young kids get the healthy foods they need is by no means a simple task, but it’s worth it. Research suggests that how and what you feed a baby beginning from their first bites of solid food will impact their later eating habits and taste preferences. Exposure to a variety of foods and flavors early and often may encourage acceptance of new foods later on.[2

So what’s a parent to do? Don’t give up! It may take up to 10 tries for a new food to be accepted so keep offering those veggies[3]. Feed your babies a variety like pureed or mashed peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and green beans.  For toddlers, try finger foods as snacks to spark some kid-friendly creativity including red/green pepper slices, cooked peas or green beans, cucumber slices and small, soft-cooked dices of sweet potatoes.


Join me in a recent interview with pediatrician Ryan Carvalho, Vice President, Medical and Scientific Affairs at Gerber and Dr. Regan Bailey, Associate Professor at Purdue University for an eye-opening look at infant and toddler nutrition in this country, and solutions to help your child eat healthy and set the foundation for a healthy future.

For the entire interview:

For more information, go to



Regan Lucas Bailey, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., C.P.H.

Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University

Regan Lucas Bailey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, and directs the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Purdue Nutrition Assessment Center.

Prior to academic life, Dr. Bailey was a Nutritional Epidemiologist and Director of Career Development and Outreach at the Office of Dietary Supplements, Office of Disease Prevention at the National Institutes of Health. The overarching goal of Dr. Bailey’s research program is to prevent or lessen the risk of chronic disease through improved nutrition.  Much of Dr. Bailey’s research focuses on monitoring the health and nutritional status of the United States population through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). She utilizes the NHANES data to determine the usage patterns of and methodological issues relating to dietary supplements, to characterize the American dietary landscape, to identify the best methods for assessment of biomarkers of nutritional status, and importantly, to understand how nutritional exposures relate to health outcomes.  Dr. Bailey is a Registered Dietitian who completed a dietetic internship and M.S. in Food and Nutrition from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bailey received her Ph.D. in Nutrition Science from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Bailey completed an M.P.H from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, and is Certified in Public Health.

Ryan Carvalho M.D.

Vice President, Medical & Scientific Affairs, Gerber

Dr. Ryan Carvalho is the Medical Director for Gerber. Prior to joining Nestlé in 2014, Carvalho severed as an attending physician, specializing in pediatric gastroenterology & nutrition, at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.   Carvalho is a member of, the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition Committee, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has also acted as a scientific advisor for iCAN research. Carvalho is an alumnus of the Seth G.S. Medical College Mumbai University and completed his fellowship training at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. His research interests include nutrition in early childhood, probiotics and health outcomes in nutrition disorders.


[2] De Cosmi, et al, Nutrients 2017 .

[3] Nicklaus, Int J of Enviro Res and Pub Heath 2016

Interview is courtesy: Gerber

Cynthia Tait

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