How I tricked my kids into eating vegetables, with a garden

By Cynthia Grout | Sept 21, 2020

Raising kids, and kale

Ask any kid under the age of 10 what they want for dinner, and the result is almost unanimously mac and cheese or chicken nuggets. I don't blame them, those are fantastically delicious choices... but if your dietary preferences are equivalent to what Mommy and Daddy ate a decade ago at 3am from a college dorm room microwave, let's just say there's room for improvement...


We have a 4 and a half year old, and a 2 year old, so a grand total of 6 and half years of total time on this planet, carefully and meticulously nurtured by me and my husband, and despite our best efforts, they eat like 18 year old middle-linebackers that just got back from a two-week training camp. We even went so far to draw our own food pyramid on the fridge to show that ranch dressing wasn't part of that geometric equation.


Between daycare and preschool snacks, birthday parties and play dates, exhausted evening dinners, and uncontrollable cafeteria lunches, it's just really darn hard to feed kids healthy food. Even if you do pack a lunch with the most delicious kaleidoscope of nutritional fruits and veggies, if your child is sitting next to a classmate with pizza and french fries, you're going to face an uphill battle.

Here's the top 3 solutions that I've found to help build a healthy diet with my kids:

1. Stir it up, little darling

Smoothies and vegetable pouches were a godsend, especially in the early days for their first solids (although let's be honest, I've totally snuck many a blueberry kale oatmeal pouches off to work! Age recommendations be damned!). As my littles got less little, smoothies were still a wonderful way to ensure they got a well-rounded assortment of nutrients, and the inclusion of a banana or apple usually over-powered the cornucopia of lesser-palatable leafy greens.


Their favorite all-time combination was purple carrot, beet, kale and blueberry, purely because of the awesome blue-purple color. As they got older I tried to involve them as much as possible with the making of the smoothies, where they'd choose the perfect carrot, tear off a handful of kale leaves, and count out 10 blueberries. It helped build that understanding of what actual food went into the smoothie, and they got to make their own elaborate concoctions. I will advise to limit the raw ingredients to ensure you don't end up with a drink that tastes like the underside of a lawn-mower.

2. Planting good habits

One day while watching parenting youtube videos, I stumbled upon a Ted Talk clip from Jamie Oliver which sadly featured a kindergarten class in the UK where the majority of the class couldn't identify popular plants, fruits, and vegetables. In his talk, Jamie argued that if kids don't know where their food comes from, they won't have an appreciation of it, and will prefer to eat unhealthy fast food alternatives.


That video, coupled with the fact that lockdowns turned our house into a science class, really made me want to start a garden with my kids. My parents always grew gardens, but I think it's a recessive gene that skipped me...? Some googling later I found the Pizza Garden by Seedsheet (How does one grow pizza!?!?), and my kids even designed two other container gardens online where they got to choose what plants they wanted to grow. It's truly amazing, my kids have become obsessed with their gardens, checking and watering them each day, and relentlessly asking what shade of orange is indicative of a ripe tomato! Prior to growing our gardens I would have to smother vegetables in dressing to even sneak them onto a plate, and now my kids are eating beans, peas, and tomatoes right off the vine by the handful!


3. Even "The Rock" has a cheat day

The pandemic has definitely affected our diets, starting with sourdough everything, and thankfully saved by our fresh vegetables and salads from our gardens. My husband recently started a diet that he found on Instagram that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was doing, which included a "Cheat Day"; where once per week he would reward his meticulous adherence to healthy food choices for the other 6-days, and he would gorge on whatever unhealthy junk he craved.


While I don't necessarily agree with my husbands insistence they he personally earned all of the dozen donuts, I do applaud his consistency on the diet, and I know first-hand that diets fail because dieters inevitably fall off the wagon. I'm not advocating for putting any kids on a diet, but I am saying that it's 100% alright if you're not feeding your kids perfect meals every single day, even The Rock needs a break!

So keep it up, you're doing great! Make some delicious smoothies, plant a garden with your kids, and don't be too hard on yourself!

See what I'm growing

$41.98 $34.99

$41.98 $34.99

See what I'm growing

$63.98 $49.99

Learn More

$29.99 $24.99