It seems that every time I turn around, my children are being bombarded by commercials or advertisements encouraging them to eat the latest sugar, salt and fat laden snack. Such snacks are also cleverly packaged in order to entice the children even more so.
How can you get your children to eat their fruits and vegetables despite the pressure to consume “junk food”?
Grow A Garden
One of the best ways to get your children excited about eating healthy foods is to grow a garden. I haven’t met a child yet that doesn’t love to garden!
You can also create interest in your garden by growing “different” varieties of vegetables than what your children would see in the local grocery store. For example, my children were thrilled when I told them one year that we were growing a patriotic garden! I explained that we’d be growing red, white and blue potatoes in the garden that year and having patriotic potato salad when the potatoes were ready. Since then, I’ve seen “blue” potatoes at the grocery stores, but usually only around July 4th. I assume that other people now make patriotic potato salad too.
When I discovered that my children were having an “I hate green beans” stage, I planted Italian green beans in the garden. For some reason, the children at the Italian green beans without any problem. Years later, they still prefer the Italian green beans!
I’ve found that the more creative my garden layout is, the more vegetables I can get the kids to eat. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. One year, I made a teepee and grew pea plants on the teepee. I was amazed at the number of peas my children ate that year. In fact, most times they shelled and ate the peas right in the garden of the teepee!
Sometimes, getting them to eat what is grown in the garden has nothing at all to do with the garden itself. When I planted raspberry bushes, we read stories about Brer Rabbit and how Brer Fox threw him into a brier patch. It worked; my kids ate the raspberries which they previously mentioned that they disliked. I also discovered that they ate a large amount of strawberries after I allowed them to decorate the strawberry pot I’d purchased!
I suppose it could be said that I am engaging in my own advertising campaign. I am trying to make eating fruits and vegetables seem fun, just like the advertisers on television are trying to make eating junk food seem fun. So far, I think my campaign is working!