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How to Actually Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food

It can be a struggle to feed kids healthy food, especially picky eaters. It is possible though, even on a budget. 

How to get kids to eat healthy food

How do you get kids to actually eat healthy food? Can we feed kids 100% organic and homemade food all the time? That’s not always attainable, especially in Oklahoma where good food can be hard to get. My goal is to make more things from scratch, learn to make better choices, and feed my kids as well as I can with the time and money available. The more organic, the better of course.

Are you a picky eater? Is your child? I sure used to be. The only vegetables I liked were french fries and corn. Don’t forget ketchup too. Those are not the makings of a healthy diet. I eat such a great variety of fruits and vegetables now, people are amazed. My daycare kids eat a great variety as well.

The best way to learn to like new things is to figure out how you like them. Usually, we don’t like a vegetable because we tried it when it wasn’t cooked well. Soggy, overcooked broccoli tastes awful and so does canned asparagus. There are ways you can make fruits and veggies taste amazing. The secret is to learn to cook them well and find out which way tastes good to you.

If you are wondering if I can help you with your picky child, believe me, I can. I have cared for 82 kids over the past 23 years in my home daycare, and I have met some of the world’s pickiest kids. It takes some work and creativity, but you CAN change at least some of the eating habits of any child. (and your husband too, believe it or not!) You CAN be a nutrition hero! Check out Little Sprouts Learning to see more about raising healthy kids.

How to Actually Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food!

Start early teaching kids to eat healthy

The earlier you begin to try to help your child enjoy healthy choices, the easier it will be. I remember changing our diet drastically from all processed food to home cooked, whole foods when my daughter was around the age 8 or 9. She was so upset, she asked for prayer about it at church. The changes we made gave her a much better life, but had we started earlier, it would have been much easier on her.

She is 24 now and on her own. Her diet is surprisingly healthy for a young woman who is just learning to cook for herself. I’m super proud of her for so many reasons, but it’s cool to see her see the importance of real, nourishing foods.

If you can begin making wholesome foods when your child is an infant, that’s great. Forget the jarred food and whip up easy-peasy baby food of your own. It’s super easy to bake a winter squash or sweet potato and toss it in the blender with a little water or chicken stock to thin it out. You can also buy bags of frozen peas or green beans, cook them up, and blend them with a bit of the cooking water.

No matter what age your kids are, it’s not too late. Try to introduce healthy foods to them anyway. Over time, they will get used to it. My husband and I learned new eating habits in our 30s. You can do it too.

How to get kids to eat healthy food

Be a good role model to get kids to eat healthy

Your kids are not going to want a heaping plate of broccoli if you are across the table making gagging noises and faces like a 2-year-old. If you are having a big mac and fries, they aren’t going to want the broccoli either. You have to learn to enjoy healthy foods yourself to entice your precious little ones on the path to health.

How to Actually Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food!

If you want even more tips on how to go from a nutrition zero to a nutrition hero, check out my new e-book, Zero to Hero Nutrition: How to Actually Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food. It will show you how to transition your family’s diet in manageable steps. Using my menus, shopping lists and cooking instructions, you can transform your family’s diet.

The book includes meal plans, recipes, and everything you need to be successful in changing your family’s diet along with information about why you need to make the changes. You can feed your kids healthy food without going broke or spending 24 hours a day in the kitchen. Pick up your copy of Zero to Hero Nutrition: How to Actually Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food today and find out how to bring more nutrition to your family and be a nutrition hero for them and you!

How to Actually Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food!

How to get your kids to eat healthy food, feeding kids healthy food, picky eaters


8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Is it that important to teach kids how to take care of the earth? We all know it’s important to care for the earth because that’s what we will be leaving for our kids, but it’s also important to be a good example for them. We need to teach them what they can do now and in the future to help our earth as well. It takes a village to make a change. Everyone has to work together for change to happen and the damage we have done to be reversed.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Over the past few years, we have seen some serious results of the way we’ve been living on this planet like there is no tomorrow. I want our grandchildren to inherit a wonderful, healthy place to live so we have to teach the next generation how to be good stewards.

The climate is changing, the earth is groaning for us to stop the damage. Are we listening? Have we made any changes? Does anyone care?

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

The society we live in is a disposable one. We don’t care what we waste. We don’t care what could be reused or donated instead of piled in a landfill. Why bring a cup to get your coffee when they have perfectly good ones there at the store? What about shopping bags? What about saving energy or fuel? It’s up to all of us to make a difference. Small changes can add up over time, so it’s important that we look at the small things.

Before I realized what was going on, I could use up a 12 pack of Bounty paper towels in my daycare in a month. That was one of the small changes I made, to pay attention to what I could use a washrag for or something else that could be reused. I still use paper towels, but two rolls last me about a year. I use them for very few things.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Daycare is messy business, so it’s tough to find ways to cut back on wasting resources. I have gone from getting approximately 10 plastic bags a week from the grocery store to maybe 25 in a year when I forget my bags. I have even taught my husband to ask not to have a bag when he buys just one thing. Ten bags a week is about 500 a year! I reuse some of them to send home soiled clothing but that’s a LOT of bags I was throwing away and then recycling. Eventually we pared it down to what we do now.

There are so many ways I can save resources in daycare AND it saves me money as well. I love that I’m being a good example to my kids. They know where the recycle bin is and if they are going to throw something away that’s recyclable, I tell them, put that in the recycle and they do it. That’s teaching them early what needs to be done.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth


Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Why should I care if my kids learn these lessons? There are many reasons, I’ll name a few here to get you thinking.

  1. It is SOOOO much easier to be disciplined to do something if you are used to doing it. There are many habits I really wish I would have been taught as a child. When I became an adult, it was so hard to discipline MYSELF to be a good worker, to clean up after myself, and other things. I wish I would have been a disciplined child, but I just wasn’t. I would love for my kids to have good earth friendly habits as second nature BEFORE they are the ones responsible for it.
  2. It teaches them respect for resources and doing the right thing. It’s in our nature to cast off doing what isn’t fun. An object at rest stays at rest. If kids feel compelled to recycle, pre-cycle or upcycle their trash instead of piling it all on someone else to deal with, that feeling stays with them. Teaching kids how hard it is to acquire resources or how things are made teaches them a greater appreciation for what they are choosing and using.
  3. They will be here after I’m gone. When I’m too old to make my shopping choices or to guide anyone else anymore, someone will need to carry on my beliefs about caring for the environment. The lessons they learn now will take them into the future.
  4. We need MORE people to care. I believe children are the future. They are the ones that will unite together to form a larger group of people who care if we teach them young. They can teach others as well.
  5. Kids have such unbridled passion. I remember seeing my daughter learn about being a good steward of the earth. She is still shouting it from the mountaintops. Young people have such vigor for what they believe in. I believe she is changing the world and I believe SHE can change our future.
  6. If they don’t take care of it, there may be nothing left. As quickly as we see the environment changing, we may not have much time left to make a change. If we don’t get as many people on board as we can now, it may be too late when these children are grown.
  7. It’s fun. Thinking of creative ways to care for the environment around us can be made into a game. It’s like a puzzle trying to figure out the best ways to make a difference. Kids can make it more fun for us as we teach them that it’s a pleasure to make this choice!
  8. It helps kids think about something outside of themselves. It’s never too early to teach children their wants and needs aren’t the most important thing. It teaches them empathy and patience if we show them that materialism is not good for anyone. Learning where many of our products come from is a big eye opener for kids and adults.

It’s a great and valuable lesson to teach children or other adults why these issues matter. Making small changes is a great way to take baby steps in making a different future than we are headed for now. Think of one thing you can do today to change the future and invite some kids to do it with you. You will plant a seed in them that will make a difference in our world for generations.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Green Tips

  • Start using reusable shopping bags.
  • Bring your own cup instead of getting a disposable one.
  • Serve food on real washable dishes and can the paper and Styrofoam products.
  • Chose glass as often as you can and recycle it when you’re finished using it. Glass can be recycled indefinitely and lasts nearly forever in a landfill.
  • Turn your heat or air two degrees cooler in winter and warmer in summer to save valuable resources. You might not even notice two degrees.
  • Start composting your food scraps for your garden or your neighbor’s.
  • Buy from bulk bins using your own containers to save packing. If you don’t have bulk bins, buy the biggest package possible so there is less packaging involved.
  • Use as little soap, shampoo, detergent, etc. as it takes to get the job done. Start by trying using half and see if things are still getting as clean.
  • Use vinegar, a great disinfectant, to clean as many things as you can. It’s great on glass diluted by half, it makes a great fabric softener, it can be used for tons of things and doesn’t leave harsh chemicals in the water supply and air.

There are many more things that can be super effective. Check into it and make small changes today!

For more on Little Sprouts Learning Garden please visit our website or Facebook page.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Gardening With Kids, Why It’s Important

What’s the big deal about growing your own food?  Our food supply in the United States is increasingly becoming unhealthier.  Fast food and convenience foods are so processed and loaded with synthetic chemicals that groceries are more like a science experiment than a meal.  We can shop for whole foods like meat, dairy, and produce for a healthier diet, right?  With the increasing use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides even our fresh foods are becoming more polluted than ever before.

My name is Christina and I run Little Sprouts Learning Garden, a home daycare in Oklahoma.  The more I learn about our food supply, the more careful I want to be about what I feed my daycare kids and my family.  In small town Oklahoma, organic food is hard to find, although it is more available than ever before.  How can I KNOW what I’m feeding my kids is as synthetic chemical free as possible?  By growing it myself.

Kids are 80% more likely to try foods that they helped grow, harvest, and prepare.  The best way to encourage them to try a variety of healthy produce is by helping them grow it and teaching them to prepare it themselves.  For the first 16 years of daycare, I tried to grow food with my kids.  We had smothering weeds, inadequate light, poor soil, bug attacks, bad seeds, and innumerable big mistakes.  But three years ago I got a call from my friend Claudia.  She had gotten a flyer in the mail about a class about gardening with our daycare kids.  She asked me if I wanted to go with her and I emphatically said YES!  She signed us up and we learned the basics of gardening with kids.

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Doug Walton was the teacher of the “gardening 101” portion of our class.  The information he shared was life changing.  He went over every part of basic gardening.  One thing I learned in the class is plants do not grow well in clay soil.  The clay holds too much water and suffocates the roots of the plants.  The soil in my yard has so much clay you can dig a shovel full of it and begin to sculpt.  So the answer for us was raised beds.  The class provided one 3×10 raised bed for each daycare facility.  When we got ours, we got to growing and finally found some successes.

One of my daycare parents built us a second raised bed and taught us how he built the simple frame.  The second year, we built four more and added some other containers.  The third year we talked to the owner of the field next to our house and he said we could grow whatever we wanted in it.

We were no longer bound by limited space, so we set out to expand.  We wanted to keep the expansion small enough that we could still manage it.  We did some research and drew up some plans and ended up with a 20 x 80 area that we planned to use.  We needed a fence, beds, soil, seeds, plants, and some type of weed barrier.

We went door to door in our town to local businesses and people asking them to help us build this dream for the kids.  People donated used chain link fencing, old privacy fence, landscape timbers and other used wood, seeds, money, advice, and labor.  We built the outer fence, and then began building raised beds from the privacy fence pieces.  Next we bought cedar planks to build the remaining beds.  Then we got a load of garden soil and filled all the beds.  The daycare families were instrumental in getting all of the materials in place.

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Once we had most of the beds filled (several still remain empty as we ran out of funding, time, and energy), we let the kids plant a variety of seeds and plants that we had grown inside earlier in the season.

What have my Little Sprouts learned from this experience?

They are trying and enjoying a much wider variety of fresh produce than they were even at the beginning of this summer.  When introducing a new food, I let them decide when they want to try it and if I like it, I let them know.  I never pressure them to try anything.  I just let nature take its course.  Lots of healthy fresh foods are being eaten here that just a few years ago I would never have imagined kids even trying much less begging for.

They have also learned to prepare dishes they can recreate or ask for at home, which is teaching their families to like healthier foods.  I even have some older kids creating recipes of their own with our home grown produce.

I have children as young as 1 that can plant a seed or seedling properly all on their own with just a few words of guidance from me.  I use their knuckles to tell them how many knuckles deep the seeds need to be.  I show the youngest ones, and after that, they can do it.  With this knowledge, we have the chance to save the beautiful art of gardening from dying with an older generation.  There are fewer and fewer people that have the knowledge to produce food.  Our future needs that knowledge.

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They are learning about life cycles, metamorphosis, germination, botany, entomology, pollinators, caring for the earth, and so many things they could never be listed.  This is knowledge this world needs!

The garden brings knowledge, closeness to nature, health, exercise, fresh air, and many other things.  It’s a place where the world is at peace and makes sense.  Some of my children have remarked that working in the garden is more fun than video games, and it keeps them out of trouble, is cool, yummy, fun, and smells good.  These are just a small example of the benefits we receive from this magical place we call the garden.

My hope is sharing our garden with others will plant a seed in them.  If you have the knowledge to grow your food, do it and teach it.  If you don’t, seek it out and learn it.  Gardening can change the world.  It begins with a little sprout and it grows and grows….  Grow something today!

For more on Little Sprouts Learning Garden please visit our website or Facebook page.