Teaching Our Kids Where Food Comes From

In today’s busy and fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever to make sure our children know where food comes from. It’s easy to rely on quick and easy food options, which aren’t good for our pocketbook, our bodies or our planet. An appreciation for “real” food (natural and homemade) can help us stay away from prepackaged, processed food products. Teaching our children healthy eating habits when they’re young will help them grow up enjoying good foods that are good for them. Here are few ways to help teach our kids where our food really comes from:

Take them to a farm. This one is easy where my family lives. We live in a very rural area and are constantly driving by farms filled with animals like cows, pigs and chickens. If your family eats meat, like mine, talk to your kids about where the meat comes from – from a real animal, not minced in a nugget or inside a bun wrapped in paper. We purchase part of a cow once a year from a local farmer. It was delivered a few weeks ago and was the perfect opportunity to talk to my three-year-old about it. It’s a great way to save money, too, if you can shell out the funds to buy in bulk.

Make homemade. Take the time to make foods yourself, especially with your kids. Show them that applesauce comes from apples, not in small foil-topped plastic cups and that bread comes from yeast, flour and grains (avoid “enriched,” spongy white bread). The more exposure your children have to how food is made, the more they’ll understand and appreciate it.

Grow your own food. There’s no better way to see where food comes from than to actually grow it yourself! Just a small garden in your backyard can be a great educational (and healthful) opportunity for the family. Have little ones help dig holes, plant seeds, pull weeds and harvest the yummy products. Then, put your bounty to good use in the kitchen.

Visit the farmers’ market. This is a fun family outing and a great opportunity to show your kids food that doesn’t come in packages. Talk to them (and the growers) about how each food is grown. Also use this activity to teach them about seasonal foods. Strawberries grow in the summer, apples in the fall, etc.

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