Vegetables. We know they are good for our bodies – especially the bodies of growing children. But as any parent knows, getting children to eat vegetables is a task that makes the twelve labors of Hercules seem like a picnic in the park.
There are many ways to encourage children to eat vegetables – mixing them in other foods, spicing them up, leading by example and eating them yourself, etc. But perhaps one of the best ways to encourage kids to eat vegetables, is to get them involved with them from start to finish. And that means introducing your children to the wonderful world of gardening. Let them help you as you prepare the soil (what kid doesn’t love to play in dirt?), plant the seeds, and water the developing plants. Or better yet, allow your child to “sharecrop” a portion of your garden by giving them a space that’s theirs and theirs alone to plant whatever they wish. As the plant grows, the child’s excitement and interest will grow along with it. After all, they planted it and took care of it. Their pride is now at stake. When the time comes to harvest the rewards of their labors, the child will become even more proud and excited to see the fruit or vegetable that came into this world because of their efforts. And maybe – just maybe – they’ll be interested and intrigued enough to take a bite – or two – or more.
Look at it another way. Many children are rather wary when a strange person approaches them. Even if the person is known to their parents and the parents say it’s okay, the child may still be reluctant to approach this individual. In the same way, when we dump strange looking foods onto a child’s plate, they may be quite reluctant to eat it even though mom and dad say it’s okay. But a vegetable that they grew themselves becomes a known entity and not a stranger. A child may be more willing to eat something that’s known and familiar to them.
So if you want your children to eat their vegetables without a fuss, then get them involved in the growing process. Because gardening is the fuss-buster!