Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a really effective way to introduce your child to the first steps of food preparation. There is no better way to show them where food comes from than picking it from the garden and eating it.
In addition to saving money and reducing our environmental footprint, growing your own food has many benefits for your child.
Connection with food
Involving kids in gardening helps foster a connection with their food. Growing your own veggies and tending to them moves the attention away from a ‘yucky’, ‘bitter’ or ‘bland’ piece of vegetable on their plate to something that they can see, touch and watch grow.
Picking a piece of fruit and eating it straight away or selecting the vegetables for dinner helps to provide an understanding and appreciation for the source of food and what goes into producing it.
Benefits of nature-based play
Growing veggies shouldn’t be all work and no play. Let your kids dig holes and make mud with water. Getting their hands dirty is great for their immune health while other benefits of nature-based play include improved moods and a greater appreciation for the natural environment, leading to a desire to protect it.
Us adults can benefit from being in nature too, with improved mood being reason enough to get outdoors. Gardening is a great way to bond with your child while you are both enjoying the full effects of nature.
Not sure where to start? Try some salad basics like spinach, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers, or plant some herbs like parsley and rosemary and use these across a variety of meals. Dwarf fruit trees are a good option if you have limited space and strawberries can be grown in a pot.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you need a yard or a lot of time to grow veggies. All you need is some soil, sunlight, water, and love and you’ve got the makings of a sustainable food source and educational opportunity for your child.
If you’re in the Brisbane area and would like to discuss more tips and advice for your child’s fussy eating or health concerns, visit me in the city for a Children’s Health consultation.