If You Grow It, They Will Eat It

U.S. researchers report, children who regularly eat homegrown fruits and veggies eat twice as much healthy food as kids who occasionally eat garden vegetables. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News has more:
The study, by a team at the Saint Louis University Medical Center, involved interviews with about 1,600 parents of preschool-aged children in rural southeast Missouri.

The team found that children who grow up eating homegrown produce prefer the taste of fruits and vegetables to other foods.

"It was a simple, clear finding. Whether a food is homegrown makes a difference. Garden produce creates what we call a 'positive food environment,'" study author Debra Haire-Joshu, director of the university's Obesity Prevention Center, said in a prepared statement.

She and her colleagues found that garden-fed children were more likely to see their parents eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and that people in homes with gardens had access to greater variety of produce.
Makes sense to me. Growing up both my grandparents had huge gardens—with all the trimmings! String beans, peas, fig trees from Italy (black and white), eggplants, hot peppers, sweet peppers, strawberries, escarole, tomatoes—yes, I could go on and on. Now, since I grew up eating all this good stuff, transitioning to a vegetable-based diet like Eat to Live was pretty easy—Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup sounds good to me!

But, I think gardening is a lost art. I drive by my old neighborhood and it seems like fewer and fewer people have potted tomatoes and fresh herbs on their porch. That’s why programs like Urban Sprouts School Gardens are so great. Just look at all the great stuff they’re growing and cooking:
Garden crops are ready to harvest! We've got greens, lettuces, strawberries, onions, broccoli, and fava beans galore! Have a taste in the garden before the gophers get it all!

A few weeks ago, 6th graders at Martin Luther King Jr., Middle School made a delicious stir fry with Urban Sprouts' educator Herman Yee. Special thanks to Herman's mom, Eleanor, who helped out too!
According to Dr. Fuhrman this kind of involvement is crucial. In Disease-Proof Your Child he shares some secrets to getting your kids to eat healthy. Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear, healthy eating is a family affair:
1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.

2. Offer and feed a wholesome diversity of natural foods, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit, while giving each child as much latitude as possible to eat what they prefer.

3. Don't attempt to manage your children's caloric intake. They can do that on their own.

4. If you, as parents, do not demonstrate proper respect for your own bodies by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthful lifestyle practices, don't expect your children to do any better than you, now or in the future.

5. Educate your children about their nutritional needs and the importance of eating healthfully. Start this when they are young and continue to reinforce their learning, as they will be exposed to more toxic food choices as they get older and spend more time out of their home.
So just imagine what the results could be if you’re kids were actually helping you grow the fruits and veggies you feed your family.
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Kirsten - May 20, 2007 9:55 AM

My boys helped me harvest some broccoli yesterday and ended up eating ALL of it raw. They love the fruits of our garden and like grazing in our "snack" yard!

I am very excited about getting a chance to work on school meals and schoolyard gardening when my boys reach school-age. :)

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