- Parker Barry
When I was a kid, my walking route to and from school passed by my grandma’s garden. This meant every day for weeks in the fall, I detoured through the garden for my after-school snack: crunchy sounding, sunny tasting snap beans right from the vine. I’ve loved green beans ever since.
Many kids today, including my own, aren’t walking home from school or living close enough to grandparents with gardens to experience that sort of everyday, fresh-picked treat, and canned green beans just don’t have the same fall-in-love effect.
But it’s more important than ever in our fast-food culture to introduce our kids to the joys of fruits and veggies. Use these six tips to make it more likely that your kid will see that eating healthy can be fun.
C: Cook and eat together. If your kid can help you cook with fresh produce and see you enjoying eating it, they likely will, too. Fresh produce not available? Frozen usually beats canned in retaining nutrients.
R: Read. Share cookbooks and children’s books about gardens and food with your kid. Check out Growing Minds searchable database of food-related children’s literature.
E: Explore. Find ways to explore how food is grown. Garden together at home, in a community garden, or help your kid’s school start a garden. At home, indoor herb gardens are a good start, and you can grow them year-round.
A: Allow. Empower kids to make some of their own food choices. Once they’re old enough, encourage them to make their own school lunch (from a range of choices that’s acceptable to you both).
T: Talk. Explain how natural foods help your kid grow and stay healthy. Talk about how food choices impact the environment. Michael Pollan’s young reader edition of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” is a great place to dig into this issue with older elementary and middle school-age kids.
E: Eat together. Even if life is too busy for family dinners every night, gathering just a few times a week gives parents and kids the opportunity to check in with each other and eat mindfully.
Header photo courtesy of National Farm to School Network.