Will Gardening Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables?

I know we are not the only parents who have the daily struggle to get kids to eat their veggies.  We are going to test the theory that having our children be involved in the process of growing vegetables will get them more interested in eating them.  My kids, ages two (twins) and five, need 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day (as recommended by the Canada Food Guide). That doesn’t seem like a lot but for a little person eating that much ‘healthy’ food is a daunting task.  This translates to ½ cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruits or vegetables, or 1 cup of leafy greens per serving.  For my kids fruit is not the problem, they would eat an orchards worth all day if I let them, it’s the veggies that are the challenge.  To tell you the truth I didn’t like vegetables much when I was a kid either, but one thing I did do was eat carrots and green onions straight out of the garden, as fresh as you can get, just wipe the dirt off on the grass and tada! Instant snack!

My hope that if the kids plant the seeds, water the plants, and pick the vegetables, that they will also want to complete the cycle and eat the rewards of all that work.  The kids are helping me care for a variety of plants so hopefully there are some new vegetables that will be tasty to them.  Kids love learning new things and there has already been a lot of excitement about the garden this year.  Next year I would expect our five year old to know a fair bit about caring for plants, when they should be harvested,and when they should be left to grow more.  We have planted vegetables with a variety of growing times, including some real fast growing plants, so we can eat from our garden early and throughout the summer.  We will have to see what impact this little gardening experiment will have on our kids but if the early enthusiasm is any indication we should have some more healthy eaters come Fall.

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