How can gardening with our kids create healthy habits? We are all well aware of the benefits of getting outside. Not only physically, emotionally, and psychologically, but also in order to promote a healthy lifestyle and create habits that will have lifelong positive effects. This holds true for all outdoor activities; whether we’re exercising, playing, having a picnic, or even gardening… yes, gardening.
But, when it comes to gardening, we’re not always clear on how exactly this might have a positive impact on our eating habits. So, allow me to list just 5 ways in which gardening with our kids creates healthy habits when it comes to their relationship with food?
This is a paid partnership with Nestle – Nestlé for Healthier Kids
1. It fosters care and understanding of the food they consume.
When children grow the food they eat, even if only a small portion of the food they eat, they begin to understand that food is not simply a commodity that gets picked up from the grocery store. They learn to appreciate the effort and work that goes into growing food, and how much it takes to actually stock those grocery stores. It also teaches them to take care that they don’t waste, or take for granted, the food they have access to.
2. They build a relationship with the food they grow.
This sounds strange, I know, but when children grow food, they have the privilege of witnessing the growth and life-cycle of that particular vegetable or fruit. The whole process plays off before their eyes as a wonderful moving picture of how nature’s gifts sustain us. What is this if not a relationship? and best of all, it’s a relationship rooted in gratitude.
3. It offers a sense of pride in eating what they have grown.
Children take tremendous pride in showing others their art, or their medals, or whatever new tricks they’ve learned. The same holds true if they’ve grown the food that makes an appearance at a special dinner. Perhaps we might even have less trouble convincing our children to eat some broccoli if they’ve actually grown it. I, for one, love seeing the beaming smiles of pride when moms and dads tell their kids how delicious the food is that they’ve grown.
4. Growing your own food creates an eagerness/willingness to taste it.
I want to elaborate a little on something I mentioned under the previous point. Most children are notoriously picky eaters... ask any parent who has had the misfortune of trying to convince their 4-year-old to just try the spinach. When children grow the food they have before them, there is a greater willingness to at least “give it a go” when a new vegetable or fruit ends up on their plate. This also encourages a more confident approach to food in general and expands the culinary horizons of our children from a young age.
5. A respect for the environment around them.
Finally, when children grow their own food, they develop an understanding of what is required to actually grow that food. Healthy soil, enough water, etc. And they begin to grow in their respect for the environment as a whole. This cultivates a readiness to care for creation by making healthy choices that go beyond food – like recycling, using water sparingly, and minimizing waste.
Want to know more about healthy food alternatives? Like some inspiration in choosing an activity that will get the whole family moving and feeling fitter? Visit NESTLÉ
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