Inspiring Children To Appreciate Real Food


Child Gardening

Real food has become a high priority in our lives. We want our children to understand the difference between food and food-like substances. We want them to choose real food. As a result, we’ve given much thought to integrating an appreciation for real food into our family’s culture. Below is a list of some thoughts we’ve compiled on ways to teach children about truly nourishing food. We’ve done each of these suggestions to some extent and our children are more knowledgeable about food than their peers, and even if they find a dish unappealing, are swayed to give it a try knowing that we would only serve them what is best for them. Though they still let us know they don’t like it!

Educate yourself first

We’ve watched, listened to, and read material by people whose goal it is to promote sustainability and real food. We scour these resources for ideas, inspirations, and tips. Having knowledge about the topic gives us plenty of material to offer curious children when a teachable moment presents itself.

When the atmosphere of a home includes books, magazines, podcasts, and videos about sustainability and food production, the children can’t help but pick up on the fact that this is something important to their parents. The print material is available for them to pick-up; they hear the audio played in the vehicle; and when suitable, watch how-to videos and vlogs. In our home, we all like to watch the vlogs from Abundant Permaculture because they show an entire family working together to raise their own food. I must confess, we share these vlogs with our children in the hopes of inspiring them to pitch in and help more.

Take advantage of teachable moments

Plenty of opportunities to discuss food come about when you go shopping with children! The list of possibilities is almost endless: why we choose not to buy a given product, why we choose non-GMO, why we buy the produce from the local market instead of the chain store, why we seek out and travel for certain items, why we buy in bulk and in-season and store or preserve the abundance.

An area in which we struggle in getting the message through is candy and chocolate. We’ve got a sweet tooth! For the most part, we are replacing refined white sugar with natural sweeteners and exploiting our local honey and maple syrup. But the purchased candies and chocolates still make their way into our home. The silver lining is that we have an opportunity to teach our children moderation and restraint. And to remind them that the only people to really gain from the consumption of that treat are those who profit from its sale.

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