Children & Healthy Foods

Nutritious Food from Gardening, Berry Picking & Cooking

Healthy foods help regulate a child’s behavior, temper, growth, health and ability to learn. Parents can get creative to interest kids in nutritious foods.

Unless a family lives on a desert island, it can be very difficult to get children to embrace healthy eating. Most modern families are surrounded by unhealthy food temptations at every turn. Gardening, berry picking and cooking can introduce healthy foods to your children.

Grow a Garden

Gardening with children is a particularly rewarding experience. It’s a long-term project that has built in family connection time and visible rewards. Children are often excited to eat foods that they have had a hand in growing. Those that have previously snubbed fresh vegetables may find that they like carrots, lettuce, and other vegetables when they have watched them grow from seed.

Go Berry Picking

Children love to pick berries or other seasonal fruits. Go berry picking in the summer and find ways to incorporate your efforts into meals and snacks. Serve fresh berries for breakfast, make strawberry shortcake, strawberry smoothies and strawberry-rhubarb pie. Continue the theme throughout the summer and fall by visiting local produce farms as crops ripen.

Cook with Children

Cooking with children is not only a great way to spend time together, but a way to introduce healthy foods and build a variety of skills, including reading and math. Children often enjoy looking through recipe books and helping to plan meals. From an early age, most children can begin dumping ingredients into a mixing bowl, stirring and helping with basic food preparation. As children get older, introduce them to chopping vegetables and cooking on the stove.

Many parents balk at allowing children to help in the kitchen because it can create a bigger mess. Here are some tips to minimize the mess and make clean-up easier.

  • Use a large mixing bowl. Using a bowl that is two or three times the size you would normally use will help keep the batter in the bowl when children are vigorously stirring.
  • Mix in the sink. Set a large mixing bowl in the sink and supervise as your child stands on a chair to stir. Any spills from enthusiastic dumping of ingredients or mixing go directly in the sink.
  • Cover the table. Spread a vinyl table cloth over the table while kneading dough or cutting vegetables on a large cutting board. When done, simply wash the cutting board and shake the excess flour and vegetable scraps off the tablecloth outside.

Children don’t have to grow up eating junk food. Parents who struggle with feeding their children a healthy diet can get the kids actively involved in gardening, berry picking, and food preparation. Feed your children a healthier, more holistic diet to thrive on.