From Soil to City

5 ways to get your kids to eat local

IMG_4272We all know how crucial it is for kids to get the vitamins and minerals essential to growing muscles and bones. That’s one reason why you joined our nutrient-dense, organic CSA in the first place! Nutrients in fresh, local produce help the brain develop and keep skin, hair, nails and eyesight strong and healthy. But what can you do if your kid doesn’t crave the crudite?

Here are 5 ways to help the kiddos jump on the local veggie train:

  1. Lead by Example: Kids eat what they know. If meals at home offer a variety seasonal vegetables, this is what they’ll expect and like. Kids are like sponges soaking up mannerisms, dialect and even food preferences of the people around them. Eat seasonally and locally — that way you’ll vary to vary the vegetables and the cooking preparations all year long.

  1. Get Creative: Make eating vegetables fun! A cucumber slice might become the wheel of a taxicab or bus. A red pepper slice might be a clown smile. It might seem silly at first but if the main focus is how many mini trees the giant dinosaur can eat, it might be forgotten that the mini trees are nutrient rich broccoli florets.

  1. Sneak the Veggies In: Roast your organic zucchini and summer squash, and then toss them with pasta, butter and Parmesan cheese. Finely chopped portabella mushrooms can be incorporated into meatballs or meatloaf.  Broccoli can even be incorporated into breakfast in a frittata or quiche or with these delicious broccoli pancakes courtesy of The Today Show’s, Joy Bauer. (But be sure your broccoli is freshly picked from our Local Roots CSA or a local farm– broccoli’s nutrients diminish rapidly after it’s harvested!)

  1. Appoint a Sous Chef: Give each kid a simple job in the kitchen like shucking corn or tearing the lettuce for salad into bite-sized pieces. Bring them along to the local farmers market, CSA or grocery store and teach them where their vegetables come eat come from and to participate in vegetable selection. Research suggests that involving children in meal preparation positively influences the amount of vegetables consumed.

  2. Incorporate Butter, Garlic, Salt and Even Sugar: Healthy kids can handle the extra calories in butter or sugar. Almost any veggie sautéed with butter, garlic and a sprinkle of salt increases the yum factor. If a little brown sugar sprinkled on roasted carrots makes them more appealing, then go for it! Just make sure tooth brushing is part of the daily routine to ward off any dental cavities.