Eight Reasons to Bring Your Kids to the Farmers Market!

Image credit – Natalie Maynor

If you are looking for a fun family activity this weekend, what better place to go than your local farmers market? A trip to the farmers market is a great way to expose your children to new fruits and veggies while introducing them to the idea of eating locally grown seasonal ingredients. Each stand at the market is a hands-on classroom on new textures and tastes with farmers just waiting for inquisitive minds to talk to. Plus, kids are much more likely to try that winter squash if they learned about it and helped pick it out!

Here is a list of eight great reasons to bring your kids to the farmers market this fall:

1. Connecting with “real food”

We have a huge disconnect with our food in America. Break the cycle of processed, packaged food by reconnecting with whole foods at the farmers market. Show your child what a carrot really looks like, or where the corn in that can comes from!

 

2. Talking with farmers

A lot of people don’t know much about where their food comes from or how it is grown, especially if it is done using sustainable or organic methods. As mentioned above, most farmers are happy to field questions about their work and their produce! Farming is pretty amazing, so encourage your kids to ask questions. If you get a chance to discuss growing food with your child beforehand, have them make a list of questions they want to ask the farmer.

 

3. Teaching them how to be a good consumer

If your kids are old enough, give them a small sum to make their own purchases. This allows them to explore the decision process involved behind shopping wisely and will make them excited to try out their very own veggies later for dinner. If you have a toddler, let her give the money to the farmer!

 

4. Introducing new foods

Farmers markets are full of foods your child (or you!) has never seen before. Having such an interactive experience with these new foods makes kids more eager to try them. Combining the new foods with happy memories at the market is a great way to positively reinforce trying different foods. Create a farmers market hunt for your kids – try to find a purple vegetable or foods of different shapes.

 

5. Cooking at home

Cooking with toddlers or young kids can be a messy adventure. But it also cultivates awareness and skills that will help them later in life, as well as bring them closer to their food. If they get to help cook the food they just picked out, it’s even more exciting!

 

6. Learning about nutrition

A day at the farmers market is a great way to talk about nutrition concepts, even basic things like how nutrients can help you see or why it’s healthy to eat a variety of foods. Kids can begin to understand how whole foods are packed with vitamins and minerals as well as being tasty!

 

7. Family bonding time

Weekends are often busy and filled with errands and other obligations as well as family time. An afternoon trip to the farmers market is a great way to get in some quality time enjoying family and food! It may end up being a weekly tradition.

 

8. Experiencing the importance of community

 People from all over your community, no matter how big or small that is, visit the farmers market. Having your child interact with new faces and feel the connections between people is fantastic, no matter how old they are. Eating food grown in their community can also allow older kids to start thinking about the impacts their choices make on those in the area.

 

Ultimately, shopping at the farmers market is an opportunity to connect with your food and the people who grow it. The more you can expose your children to the idea of buying, preparing, and eating real, sustainably grown food, the better they are prepared to make great decisions about their meals and health in the future!


Image credit – Kyle Woollet/Brooks Institute

Farmers markets flourish most during summer and fall, but many are open throughout the winter and spring, offering great cool-weather veggies. To find your local farmers market, click here!

 

Written by Amanda Dunham

 

Sources: EatLocalGrown, Raising Kids With Love blog

Tips and Tricks to Get Your Toddler to Eat Their Veggies!

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Sometimes toddlers need a little time to warm up to new foods. So what is the best way to encourage trying new things and including a diversity of fruits and vegetables?
Most parents give up after 2-3 introductions of a new food, but did you know it takes 10-15 tries with one food for a toddler to fully accept it? Here are some tips and tricks to get your little one to not only eat their veggies but to enjoy them!

Be a good role model.
Remember that your toddler idolizes you. They want to grow up and be just like Mommy and Daddy, so they mimic your actions, as well as your food choices. Make an effort to eat the foods that you are feeding your toddler, and you will both be better off in the long run. Also try to make meal time a fun bonding activity, turn off your screens and eat together at the table in order to establish a good healthy relationship with food.

Get your toddler involved in the food selection and food preparation process.
Toddlers love being mommy’s little helpers and they love trips to the grocery store; they always tend to be attracted to the bright colors of fruits and veggies. Ask your little helper to hold your grocery list while you shop, and occasionally have them help you make decisions: green apples or red? Carrots or celery? Your little one will be more likely to eat the foods that they helped you pick out.

Make meals fun!
Make your child’s meal attractive to them. Cut their foods into fun shapes, arrange them in eye-catching patterns. For example, arrange their veggies to look like a face on their plate, or put their fruit on a fun placemat with colorful toddler friendly silverware.

Juices and smoothies
Juices and smoothies are a great way to get your toddler to reap the health benefits of vegetables while enjoying the taste of fruit. If you have a juicer or blender, combine some fruits and veggies and give them to your toddler in their favorite cup. Juices and smoothies will take on the color of vegetables, but the flavor of fruit. Home made juices and smoothies are the best and can also be a fun activity for you and your toddler to do together.

Most importantly have a great attitude. It is easy to get frustrated when your little one refuses to eat healthy foods, but patience is key, remember it takes 10-15 introductions for them to fully accept a new food!

What are some things that work for you in introducing new fruits and vegetables?