5 Ways to Encourage Infants to Eat More Vegetables

Hi friends! I’m excited to share a guest post today from two fellow Registered Dietitians. If you’re interested in learning more about baby led weaning, or looking for recipes or ways to encourage infants to eat more vegetables and plant-based foods, this post is for you! Read on for 5 tips to encourage infants to eat more vegetables – plus, a recipe for baby-friendly beet hummus. I can’t wait to try that recipe out on Riese – and tip #3 below, too!

baby led weaning visual guide for vegetables

5 Ways to Encourage Infants to Eat More Vegetables

by Whitney English Tabaie MS, RDN and Alexandra Caspero MA, RDN, Creators of Plant-Based Juniors

As new parents, we were only vaguely aware of the term “baby-led weaning” before we were thrusted into the new-mom community and saw many of our friends doing it. Isn’t that the funny thing about becoming a parent? Suddenly, the things you never knew you cared about become all you think about. AM feedings quickly become optimal research times, scrolling on our phone in the dark looking for answers to the day’s questions.

If you’re not sure what baby-led weaning means, let us explain. It’s essentially the concept of giving babies solid food right from the start–without the use of purees. However, the term “weaning” can often be confusing. We aren’t weaning them off breast milk or formula as you’ll still want to offer that until at least the first birthday. Instead, it refers to gently weaning baby on to solid foods, allowing him time to explore various flavors and textures.

In our new ebook, Plant-Based Juniors: First Bites, we outline everything you need to know about baby-led weaning, from how to start, troubleshooting, nutrition, meal prep, a grocery list and more. We also include 20 delicious plant-based, baby-led weaning recipes. (Interested? Use code ‘pbjpartner’ for 10% off your own copy.)

baby led weaning tips vegetables

While there are a few advantages of offering solids right from the start, we think the biggest plus is increased acceptance of more interesting and varied flavors and textures since babies get to experience food in its natural state. Think of your baby’s palate like a blank canvas, easily shaped by each new taste and experience. As dietitians and parents, we’re focused on shaping that palate to enjoy all foods, especially nutrient-rich foods like vegetables.

Therefore, whatever approach to feeding you take, we recommend adding vegetables at almost every meal. Studies have shown that babies who eat a wide variety of vegetables during the first year of life go onto eat more vegetables than those that don’t. Sweet-tasting vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes might be more accepted than bitter-tasting vegetables but that’s OK. Continuing to offer vegetables in different ways helps improve acceptability.

Want more ideas? Here are 5 ways to encourage kids to eat more plants.

  1. Vary your own diet

Breastfeeding? Then your diet may be just as important as baby’s! According to recent studies, babies are more likely to enjoy the foods their moms ate while breastfeeding over new foods they were never exposed to. If you are nursing, here’s one more reason to pile on the vegetables.

  1. Add spice!

Yes, babies like flavor! We don’t know where the idea of bland baby food came from, but it likely wasn’t from a baby! Season baby’s food the same way you would yours. All seasonings are on the table, except for salt, sugar and anything too spicy. Experimenting with different spice blends is a great way to expose your baby to new flavors.

  1. Make superfood popsicles

We consider popsicles to be the perfect place for leftover smoothies and green juices – throw them into a popsicle mold, freeze and you’re done! Since whole leafy greens can be a choking hazard for young infants, serving them blended in popsicle form is a great solution! There’s a full recipe in the e-book, but we like to make superfood popsicles with spinach or kale, fruit, and breast milk or formula. A bonus point is that popsicles are a nice treat for teething babes!

baby led weaning popsicle

  1. Offer them often

The key to acceptability? Making vegetables part of the everyday routine. This is true for kids of all ages, the more they are exposed to veggies, the more they are willing to try them. We like to offer a vegetable in some form at every meal; it doesn’t need to be fancy – even steamed broccoli or finely chopped spinach in scrambled eggs works!

  1. Try it in a puree

We all know that kids love dips! If your baby is less than a year old, dollop the vegetable dip onto steamed vegetable fingers or spread a thin layer on toast. For older kids, offer the dip alongside items you know they will eat. Our beet hummus recipe below is great for kids of all ages! For infants, we omit the salt completely as their growing kidneys don’t need it. For older kids and adults, add salt to taste.

Here’s the recipe to get you started!

Beet Hummus

This is a great dip to serve with steamed vegetables, spread onto toast, or simply with a baby spoon. This hummus is packed with all of the good stuff : iron, protein, fiber and antioxidants. It’s also a great way to introduce baby to sesame, a potential allergen. For older babies and adults, add salt to taste.

baby led weaning beet hummus recipe


  • 1 (15 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • ½ cup cooked beets, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or water


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until creamy and thick. Add additional water or oil as needed to blend.
  2. Remove and place in the fridge to keep for up to 5 days.

Want more baby led weaning friendly recipes? Be sure to check out the e-book First Bites! In addition to helpful info about starting your baby on solids, it’s packed with 20 delicious plant-based recipes that can be used for baby-led weaning and beyond the first year. Use code ‘pbjpartner’ for 10% off.

Please note there are affiliate links in this post.


  1. 1
    Anne Taylor says

    We have been doing really well with this with our one year old daughter. She adores carrots and broccoli and green beans. Our big issue now is getting enough protein into her. She would rather just eat veggies!

    Another issue we are just beginning to deal with is how to ensure that Sophie has a healthy relationship with food. Both of us come from generations of clean your plate club, emotional eating, food as reward, withholding food as punishment. I so want those traditions to end with us, and not get passed on to her. We are not sure exactly how to do it though.

    • 2

      That’s awesome – go you! What sort of protein have you tried? Have you tried beans? I love that you want to set her up with a healthy relationship with food, too. I’d suggest reading the book Born to Eat if you haven’t already – it’s a great resource on raising intuitive eaters! I’d love to hear if others have book/resource recs too, though – this is such an important topic!

  2. 3

    This is a great resource! I didn’t do baby-led weaning with my daughter (we did purees up until she was about a year), but I will say I think #4 is the most important one on this list! After we stopped with purees, my now 4 year old has always just eaten whatever we eat…no special “kid friendly” meals, so to her, it’s not like veggies are gross or something to avoid, they are just part of her meal. She’ll pretty much eat anything.

  3. 5

    Such a helpful resources and great tips! I think I may be making that beet hummus recipe for myself haha, to use up some of the beets from my garden! :)

  4. 7

    What’s that orange spoon?

  5. 9

    Just curious — why is salt off the table for seasoning baby food?

  6. 11

    Just made the pink hummus for my kids and it’s delicious and my daughter loved it because of the vibrant colour :) Thanks for the recipe.

  7. 13
    Anne Taylor says

    Thank you for the idea to try beans with our baby girl. We cooked them simply, then mashed them, leaving it a bit chunky for texture. She loved them! Perhaps I am raising a vegetarian. As long as she gets what she needs to thrive, I will be happy.

  8. 15


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.