Gardening to Promote Healthy Eating
Gardening can be fun for the whole family, and studies have shown that children are twice as likely to eat the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables if they are homegrown. Involving children in gardening also encourages them to eat a larger variety of fruits and vegetables, which increases the likelihood of a healthy diet. Below are suggestions for ways to get kids involved:
- Have kids help choose seeds for planting. Children will be excited to help make decisions about what to grow and will be more eager to eat what they have chosen.
- Delegate gardening tasks, such as planting seeds and watering the garden. Gardening is a great source of outdoor physical activity for the whole family.
- Involve the entire family in garden harvesting and preparation of meals. Children who assist with meal preparation will more likely consume food that is served.
- Express excitement about gardening. If parents are growing, harvesting and eating fruits and vegetables, their behavior is more likely to be adopted by their children.
To create a family garden, simply select a sunny location in the yard. Start with a small spot for the first year to reduce the amount of garden upkeep. When buying seeds or plants, be sure to choose selections that your family will eat, and follow the seed planting instructions carefully. When caring for the garden, it is important to water regularly and keep the area free of weeds. If yard space is minimal, consider growing items such as tomatoes, peppers and herbs in flower pots or other small containers.