# 3 - EXPANDING "SCD" > * HEALTHY FOOD HABITS FOR KIDS: TEACHING CHILDREN TO EAT FRUITS & VEGETABLES


Parents can stop arguing with their kids over food. Use these tips to teach your kids to eat well and love it.

In the days of preservatives and fast food, it is so important for parents to teach their kids about how to have life-long healthy eating habits.

We all know that vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet but it can be extremely difficult for parents to persuade their children to eat anything but junk food. Parents, don’t fret over food anymore; try these fun and educational ways to teach kids to like fruits and vegetables.

Garden:

Young children are endlessly fascinated with the wonderful world of science. Gardening is a great way to combine a child’s yearning to understand the way the world works with concepts about health and food. Helping children grow their own fruits and vegetables will encourage them to eat the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. Chances are they will decide they like something they never used to eat

Before choosing a seed, consider the current growing conditions in your region and find a seed that is compatible with them. If you aren’t sure about what seeds will do well in your area, look for a guide on the back of the seed packet, visit a local nursery, or go to the library and check out books on gardening. Also consider space; do you have a huge yard or a small patio. Plants can flourish in containers on patios and balconies as long as you buy a plant or seed that is meant for container gardening.

Decide on a seed or plant. To start a family garden, choose the plants you want to grow as a family. You and the kids can research the topic ahead of time to decide which plants are able to grow and then narrow the list from there. Let each child and each adult choose one plant to grow. Introduce new kinds of vegetables to them, such as baby ball carrots or cherry tomatoes. Citrus trees are available at fine nurseries and yield smaller versions of such delicious and good-for-you fruits as oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits. It is best to let kids start the plant from seed because they get to invest more time watching it grow and produce fruits. But if you and the kids are anxious to start eating sooner, buy a plant that’s already been started.

Be sure that the kids spend at least 30 minutes each day tending to the plants. The gardening habits your kids develop now can progress over time. When they are adults, they’ll be growing and eating their own vegetables and passing the tradition on to their kids.

Shopping:

Another way to win the healthy habits battle is to allow your kids to have some say so once you are in the grocery store, just not in the salty snacks aisle. Walk your kids down the produce aisle and let them pick three items for their lunchboxes or a few side items of their choice for dinner. They’ll feel like grown-ups because the get to shop for themselves so it will be fun. At the same time, you are secretly teaching them how to make wise choices for themselves. Of course they might need some assistance selecting one tomato from the hundreds, but after a few trips like this, they’ll be able to identify the edible pieces on their own, yet another educational tidbit they can use for life.

Cooking:

Of course if you let them help you prepare the fruits and veggies, they’ll be eager to find out how they taste. Just remember to compliment your kids over the deliciousness of the foods they helped to prepare.

 

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