Visiting a Farmer's Market helps to teach our children to make healthy, green choices

healtheducI mentioned to my husband today that I was brainstorming a post that blends “healthy choices” with “green choices.” He suggested I introduce my readers to sugar snap peas, one of the boys’ favorite snacks. He reminded me of the time we introduced them to the kids: We showed them to take apart the pod and to count the peas as we eat them. Who has the most? Who has the least? Who can find a pod with 5 peas? Who can pop the peas out with their teeth using no fingers? We’ve learned that by creating experiences, the kids are far more likely to try a new food. Just like introducing new concepts, ideas and hobbies, creating an experience is more effective, than just throwing something new and unrecognizable on the table and commanding “eat”. (By-the-way, we usually eat these amazing sources of vitamin C raw.)   

It was after this walk down memory lane that I explained that “green” means environmentally healthy. And while I was talking with him, I glanced past him to one of a few wildflower bouquets he brought me yesterday. Saturdays in Spring and Summer, our town hosts a farmers market which yesterday morning the Huz and Middle walked through after a little male-bonding time at the barbershop and breakfast.

What a thrill for Middle, to spend quality time exploring with his daddy. Togreengether they perused the tables, admiring the bright vegetables and fruits with unique, imperfect shapes along with the scents of the gardenias, tulips, petunias and pansies and the heavenly baked goods. They met local farmers and learned about growing and cooking. It excited Middle, age 4, that he had met real growers. And he looked forward to trying their food and planting their flowers and gifting their beautiful bouquets to Mommy.

I’ve spent a good deal of time recently discussing ways that parents can teach children to make healthy choices. The goal, here, is for the lessons to begin at home, so that as children enter schools, mall food courts and restaurants, they’re learning to distinguish the good and healthy from the not so good and not so healthy.

And how beautiful that like so many other communities our’s has a market where kids can learn about the local foods they can eat. Because kids are much more likely to try a new food when they have an experience with it.

Buying fresh and local is an incredible way to support our local farms and resources, to cut down on packaging and transportation and encourage new, healthy foods. Creating opportunities for our children to be a part the local food selection offers to them the experience of a new, healthy choice.

Visiting local food sources and farmers markets is something both parents and schools (what a great field trip, right?) can encourage children to make healthy, green choices.

This post was inspired by a SVMoms Book Club selection for April Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents which was provided as a sample. Its also a reaction to the Yahoo!  Motherboard topic for April: Recognizing and Celebrating Earth Day with our families.

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mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel (jewelryverse.com) and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2010, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. says

    During the summer one of our regular plans is heading to the farmers market. You can’t beat the fresh food and usually its affordable too. They also have homemade ice cream so you can pick up your fresh veggies and indulge in a treat too!

  2. says

    What a great post and a great way to get kids to eat healthier.

    I love sugar snap peas. Maybe they would like Edamame. You can pop those little green gems out of their shell as well.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your post
    Tamara

  3. says

    Farmers’ Marketers really are such a great, simple way to help our families learn so many valuable lessons. I love the idea about counting peas/seeds/etc.—I’ll be testing that out with my little guys soon!

  4. says

    I love going to the farmers market. Unfortunately ours is such a ZOO that it is hard to take the time to show Evan the different fruits and vegetables b/c we might get taken out. :)

    Evan loves sugar snap peas too. I’ve FINALLY gotten him to agree to eat the edible pods as well as the peas.

  5. says

    Unfortunately it is only open Fri/Sat/Sun & packed the whole time. There are a few local farmer’s markets that open later in the season. We’ve signed up for a CSA this year so we will get some veggies without having to brave the market. I’m hoping that we can make a field trip to the farm sometime this summer!

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