Find fun ways to help your family discover fresh food, its origins and get on the path to having healthy eating habits.
by Jessica Corwin, RD
Teaching nutrition, healthy eating habits and cooking classes at farmers’ markets, I find kids watching my every move, perhaps wondering what the heck the purple plant is in my hand. It seems that there are countless children who have no clue that food comes from anywhere but the supermarket shelves. Without this awareness, they don’t recognize the relationship between eating healthful foods and having the energy to run and play. It’s up to us, as parents and caregivers, to teach them where their food comes from.
Research has found that the more involved kids become in the mealtime process (grocery shopping, gardening, harvesting and cooking), the more likely they are to try the new food and (gasp!) enjoy it.
Take a family trip to a farmers’ market, visit a fruit farm where you can pick your own treats, or plant a kitchen garden (see below). Then together, plan meals and create recipes with your bounty while also teaching your kids healthy eating habits. Your kids will feel proud as they become more involved in the process. You will not only be helping your children develop a healthy relationship with their food, you will likely reduce their risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Easy Kitchen Garden
Reuse household containers to grow a moveable feast and teach kids healthy eating habits.
by Hillary Black
• Salad greens and spinach are fast growing and so tasty fresh from the garden. Even if you have just a small deck, porch or windowsill, try your hand at a mini kitchen garden and you’ll never run out of fresh greens again. Perfect containers include plastic water or vinegar bottles (cut a hole in the side but leave the handle) or large tin cans. Make a few holes in the bottom for drainage and a layer of stones or gravel helps, too. Potting soil, seeds, sunshine and water will transform into ingredients for salads, sauces and more in no time.
• Fresh herbs such as Italian parsley, cilantro, sage, oregano and thyme dress up salads, steamed vegetables, soups and omelets.
• Use fresh spinach for an easy sauté in a touch of olive oil with minced garlic and a splash of lemon juice.
• Buy a head of organically grown garlic from the grocery store, plant a few cloves and when the greens appear, snip them to add a mild garlic touch to salads and egg dishes.
• Experiment with different types of greens such as romaine, mache or mesclun—a mix of baby lettuces that may include endive, arugula and red oakleaf, for example. You’ll never run out of salad greens or lettuce for sandwiches.
Teach kids these healthy eating habits that they can use for a lifetime!
Photography by Hillary Black