The most amazing thing about The Sprouts – Get Out and Grow Garden is that kids ARE eating their vegetables, more of them, more types of them and finding them fun to prepare, explore and eat. In the beginning, when I first dreamt of this garden and cooking with kids concept in the front of a supermarket in summer of 2008, I knew as a former farm and garden girl that growing your own food could make a huge difference on what you eat.
I was honored to be a part of a recent feature in the American Institute for Cancer Research Newsletter – “Kids Thrive with Vegetable Gardening”. And a recent edition of Phil Lempert’s Supermarket Guru Food and Nutrition Science Newsletter – “Involving Kids in Your Grocery Trip“.
To see the “fruits” of my labor help grow kids that are loving vegetables is simply amazing. This year, we are growing over 19 vegetables and herbs and using them in our recipes. Each week when kids come to our classes, we here consistently “I love coming to Sprouts” or “this is so much fun”. Even from kids that are self-proclaimed picky eaters – I consider this quite an accomplishment.
Here is a sampling of what’s been happening! And below you will find 5 ways to get your kids to eat more veggies!
Our first class focused on radishes! A bit peppery yes, but when chopped up fine, the kids thought they were great!
Eat the Rainbow Radish Wraps – delicious. Spread light garden vegetable cream cheese atop a whole grain tortilla, top with your favorite garden-fresh vegetables! Yum!
5 Ways to Veggie Love for Kids
- Let them plant something. Whether your kids grow and tend to it coming out of a garden or a pail by the porch step, they will be invested.
- Play plants and robbers. This is almost too easy of a game to get kids to weed while understanding the concept of why weeds aren’t good for a garden.
- Explore the garden together. Each week, take a look at what has changed in the garden. Kids love to discover the growth and look for life in the garden (bugs and toads beware). I explain that life in the garden means we aren’t using harsh chemicals. If it’s safe for bugs to eat, it’s safe for us to eat.
- Hunt for harvest. I still get excited when I find the first ripe tomato or a bulging bell pepper, kids will do the same. Their enthusiam for finding those vegetables on the plant will carry over to the cooking!
- Cook with what you grow. Let kids come up with ideas as to what to use their veggies for and give them a chance to make something. In Sprouts, we take the harvest to the table (after washing, of course!) and we make a simple recipe. I Spy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese anyone? The kids were asking for seconds and thirds.