July is all about keeping the kiddos busy over summer break. Activities that get them outside are a must! And since we all know that kids love dirt, gardening is a great way to get them more excited about healthy eating! Don’t believe me? I’m going to show you some tricks, don’t worry, you can thank me later! Kids love feeling a sense of accomplishment (I mean, who doesn’t?!) If they spend weeks watching the plants they put in the ground grow from little sprouts to full blown pieces of food, you better believe they’re going to be excited to put them in their mouth! You don’t have to be a landscape expert or horticulturist to plant produce. Seriously, I do not remotely have a green thumb and somehow I manage to keep the greens growing. Refer to our tips in Summer Vacation Activities & Crafts For Kids for simple planting ideas that will allow your family to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables, which inspire healthy eating for kids! First things first…
Pick What’s Ripe
When it comes to better eating, one of the best rules of advice is to eat what’s in season! Ripe, homegrown fruits and veggies are not only more flavorful, they have more nutrients. We’re so accustomed to finding produce at the market year round that it’s easy to forget what FRESH tastes like! Sure, the blueberries you pick off a bush in your yard will only be around a few weeks, but they taste SOOO much better than the ones at the grocery store that have traveled by boat for weeks to get there.
This chart from A Healthy Life For Me shows you all of the fruits and vegetables that are at the peak of ripeness in July. Yeah, I know, little junior probably isn’t going to get too excited about just picked arugula (!), but with cherries, blueberries, cucumber, green beans, peas, rhubarb, strawberries, apricots, and corn making the list, you’ve got a number of healthy foods they’re bound to at least fall “in like” with.
Keep It Colorful
There’s a famous saying: we eat with our eyes. Presentation is everything when it comes to serving food, never more so with kids! Part of the trick to getting kids to eat vegetables (outside of bribing them or starving them out for three days) is 1) cut vegetables and fruits into bite size pieces that look interesting; 2) mix different colors on the plate so that the food looks more appetizing; and 3) serve them fresh rather than cooked (unless you have toddlers who don’t quite have good chewing skills yet). I mean seriously…
I rest my case!
Get Kids Involved In Meal Making
Once your children have helped you plant fruits and vegetables, get them involved in the kitchen. There are hundreds of junior cookbooks out there with easy to follow recipes. Not only does culinary training help reinforce math and organization skills, a big way to get kids more excited about healthy eating is to let them be involved in recipe selection and food preparation. Even the pickiest of eaters will have a hard time complaining about something that they made with their own hands! Another way to inspire a love of cooking is to let your young ones invite friends over for a kitchen party. Not only is eating more fun with friends, cooking is too! While we’re on the topic of friends… you’ve got to check out our Super Secret Party Tips Guide – it’s totally FREE and filled with awesome ideas for entertaining. Moving on…
Farmers Market Fun
Whether you live in a town big or small, most cities have weekly farmers markets now that there’s a push and preference for locally sourced food over that procured at the supermarket. Not only is a morning stroll at the farmers market a fun family activity (at mine there is live music and a bouncy house!), it’s valuable for kids to see where their food comes from (especially if you haven’t planted your own garden yet!) rather than believing it just magically appears at Safeway by some food fairy!
Kids Smoothie Bar
Kids like juice but commercially prepared juices are loaded with as much sugar as soda pop! Getting your kids into smoothies is a healthier approach to fruit drinks because using whole fruits provides added nutrients and you can mask vegetables in the blend with the sweetness of the fruit.
Want to make a meal of it? Add a little plain greek yogurt or avocado to the blend and you’ve got protein as well! All you need is a blender or bullet! Remember, just keep it colorful, throw in a little ice, and they’ll think they’re getting a Slurpee (kind of)!
Everyone Deserves A Cheat Day!
If you put too many restrictions on what your kids eat, they’re going to rebel! Let them have a cheat day one day a week so they can indulge in fun junk food like pizza, burgers, and fries. With all of the endless birthday parties happening just about every weekend, they’re bound to indulge their sweet tooth with candy and cupcakes on at least several occasions each month. All the more reason to keep it healthy and fresh the rest of the week.
And because we love that you love parties, we’re giving this away for FREE! It’s our Super Secret Party Tips Guide that has tons of useful tips for fetes of every shape and size. Check it out!
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