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Inspire Healthy Eating in Children Through Gardening

If you were anything like me growing up, you were an extremely picky eater. For years my diet consisted of grilled cheese and chicken fingers, despite my parents' best attempts to get me to eat vegetables or try new foods. It's about twenty years too late to be of any use to my parents, but a new study shows a way to get children more open to trying new foods.

study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior last week suggests that involving children in a school gardening program makes them more interested in trying new foods. Presumably, if the child is involved in how their food is grown and can see exactly where it comes from, they're more invested and willing to eat them. Even better? According to the survey, "educators observed that the children had been introduced to new ingredients and tastes; kids were bringing healthier snacks and bag lunches to school; and parents were reporting that their children had become more adventurous eaters at home." 

This study is exciting news to anyone who cares about healthy eating, and a great reason to get involved in your local community garden. For many families in New York City, fresh grown fruits and vegetables aren't easily accessible, making public spaces important in providing access to healthy eating. 

There are a number of ways you can expand the palates of children across the city - whether they're just picky eaters or if they don't have access to fresh, healthy foods. Sign up to revitalize gardens around the city, get kids excited about the environment on Team Green, or sign up to be a Site Captain for New York Cares Day Spring, when we'll be working with many urban farms and community gardens.  

Exposing children to a wide variety of healthy foods early in life is so important in helping them grow into health-conscious adults. Sign up today and do your part.

By Susan Torres

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