gardening with kids

Teaching kids about healthy food

I’m sure you are well aware that children will turn their noses up at pretty much anything they don’t recognise or looks strange to them. This is why you need to try and expand their knowledge of different foods. The only way they are going to discover and try different foods that they may not usually want to even try is by you teaching them.

This can be easier than you may think! When you are going round the supermarket or grocery store show them a fruit or vegetable that they don’t recognise, tell them what it is and then the next time you go, you can ask them if they remember what it is called and before you know it, after a few shopping trips you will be surprised how many different items they will now recognise.

You don’t even have to buy all the things that you are looking at, just by making them involved and teaching them about these new fruits and vegetables they will be more inclined to try them when you do decide to put them on their plate.

By doing this you are taking away the unknown aspect that is quite often the reason why children do not want to try new things. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how well this very simple little trick will work.

Once your child has a better understanding of healthy food and what’s good for them you need to get them involved in the whole preparation and cooking process.

Even if your child is very young, just having them in the kitchen with you while you are cooking is going to help them understand the cooking process and they will pick up on things quite quickly.

Once they are old enough to start helping you out in the kitchen get them to help you by peeling, chopping (under supervision of course) and mixing. Before you know it you will find that you won’t even need to ask them to help you because they will jump at the chance to cook healthy meals with you.

Setting the foundations for your child to eat healthy food is just about getting them used to trying new foods and teaching them how to cook. But the most important thing you need to do is keep things consistent. Get into the routine of cooking with them, teaching them about new foods and keep it up!

Another way of getting your children more involved in the whole cooking and eating process is to start growing your own fruit and vegetables. Something that they have had involvement in growing from a tiny seed will then encourage them to eat it as well.

If you don’t have a lot of room to grow your own fruit and vegetables you would be surprised how much you could still actually do. Even if you live in a flat or apartment you can still grow things in pots on your balcony, or even just growing herbs on your windowsill or window box is a great idea.

Let your child choose which seeds they want to buy and before you know it you won’t be able to keep them away from the idea of growing their own food.

Here are a few ideas of things that are easy and fun for you and your children to grow at home:

  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Strawberries
  • Beans
  • Sunflowers (The kids will love to see how tall they grow!)
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Courgettes

Even if gardening isn’t really something that interests you but you would still like your kids to give it a go, there are always people who could help you out. Grandparents for example, would love the chance of spending time with the grandchildren whilst teaching them how to grow their own food, or maybe you have friends that would be happy to get dirty in the garden.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with getting your kids excited about growing their very own fruit and vegetables.

  • Start small – you don’t want to over stretch yourself by taking on too much, start by growing one or two different things and then you can always expand as you and your children get better and more confident.
  • Don’t take it too seriously – try and make the whole experience fun, if you turn it into a military operation with no room for error then your child will soon get frustrated and fed up.
  • Be prepared to get messy – make sure you and your child wear old clothes because it is inevitably going to get messy!
  • Get them their own tools – you can pick up some children’s gardening tools and a watering can for next to nothing at your local garden centre so they can copy you.
  • Keep them involved – ask them lots of questions, make sure they know what to do next and keep them involved so that they feel part of the whole process.
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