Doing the right thing these days, especially for our kids, can be very confusing. Less TV, less sugar, less fat, more good fat, more exercise, less stress – and that’s all before 9AM!
If there’s one thing we do know that’s right, it’s what our mum’s taught us – eating more fruit and more veggies is always the right thing to do.
As parents, we know that healthy kids are happy kids. And we know it’s important that our children get the right nutrition throughout their little lives to make sure they stay healthy.
But getting kids to try, let alone eat, fruit and veggies can be a challenge. Gritted teeth and waving arms are only some of the barriers we face when we’re maneuvering mashed pumpkin towards our unwelcoming recipients. But, there is hope. Studies show that kids are more likely to try fruit and veggies if they understand where they come from. And this understanding can begin at home, outside in the backyard veggie patch.
These days, there is a veggie patch that’s perfect for every kind of backyard. From posses of pots, to up-cycled wooden crates, to elaborate arrays of garden beds, the humble veggie patch can be tailored to fit every home.
Apart from adding kudos to your yard, the veggie patch is an amazing place for kids. It gets them away from the TV and off our phone! It also encourages them to take part in physical activity. Digging compost, weeding and planting seeds keeps kids moving and burns up that endless energy that we wish we had!
It’s a place where children learn. Watering seeds and watching for first sprouts to appear is an experiential science lesson that can happen at home.
Children see plants developing, bees pollinating, and fruit and vegetables forming. The veggie patch teaches kids about responsibility.
Children learn about nurturing and caring for plants and begin to appreciate that food takes time to grow. This understanding helps build a connection between them and their food.
It also promotes time spent together with our kids. We can watch them ponder which seeds to plant, and then delight in finding ripe produce that they have helped to grow. Kids love to help, and the garden is the perfect place for them to take charge. We can let them enjoy being kids with no worry of wrecking the carpet or spilling water about.
The veggie patch also helps us harness the benefits of seasonal produce. It gives us access to year-round nutritional eating, providing us with the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need with each change of season.
Which brings us to what the veggie patch is all about – giving our children the fun experience of growing healthy food. The veggie patch gives our kids the time they need to discover things for themselves. We can let them take all the kid-time they need to look, dig and dawdle at whatever it is that grabs their attention. And we can know that they are learning and experiencing the healthy benefits of eating home grown produce.
Healthy food really is on our doorstep, and it’s also the food that our kids will be happy to eat. And that’s a win for parents and kids alike.
Have you started a veggie patch with your kids? Do they now try more veggies? Please share in the comments below.