Grit Blogs > A Long Time Coming

Does Gardening Help Kids Eat Better?

A photo of Shannon SaiaIn my opinion - absolutely!

One of the first posts I wrote here at Grit was about gardening with kids, and we've come a long way since then. Sometimes when we're shopping together she'll say, "We don't have to buy that. We grow that."  She now understands what is going on in the garden and respects it. She stays on paths. She never steps on plants. She enjoys harvesting things that are ripe. She has her own small garden space, where she is growing green beans and petunias. Plus, her willingness to eat fresh fruits and vegetables has grown over the past few years. Here's my anecdotal evidence:

My daughter never ate broccoli before we started growing it. Now broccoli is something she eats regularly.

Ditto with green beans. In fact, last year I couldn't get her to eat a yellow wax bean. This week, after I harvested a huge bowl of green and yellow beans, she asked to try a yellow one, and she was hooked. Now I can put a pile of them on her plate at lunch or dinner time and she'll eat every one willingly.

In early spring it's a big treat for her to eat peas fresh right out of the pod. My daughter eats the peas, and her favorite dog eats the pods, which makes it a double treat for her!

She enjoys picking strawberries right off the pots on the deck and plopping them right into her mouth.

Ditto with the blackberries growing out back along the fence.

The other day she came walking inside, and she had something in her mouth. I immediately went into Mommy mode: "What's that in your mouth!"

"A green bean," she says. "I picked it out of the garden and just ate it."

And that is music to a mother's ears.

s.m.r. saia
6/26/2012 4:21:45 PM

Oh, yeah - there is nothing like those homemade french fries! Yum!

nebraska dave
6/26/2012 12:50:30 AM

S.M.R., your gardening with kids has paid off. I'm just starting with Bradley my grandson. He's only seven and not too interested yet. I did get him to help plant the sweet corn because he loves sweet corn. I'm hoping to branch out as he sees the things that come from the garden. Being a city kid all his life food comes from the store. He had no idea that it took so long to grow an ear of corn. And really, potatoes grow under the ground? It opened his eyes for sure when I cut up a potato and made french fries at home. His response was "You can do that at home?" French fries come from McDonald's. Right? Living with grandpa has been a learning experience in more ways than one. Happy kid gardening.