This week’s Super Moon invites reflection, clarity and a fresh approach. Coupled with the fickle snowy/sunny weather, the changing season beckons us to look around, look within, notice. There are so many ways to mimic springtime’s rejuvenation—what would you like to create?
As an individual, I plant seeds for my own growth. As a mother nurturing my two sprouts, I seek new seeds to plant in their hearts and heads. As a nutritionist, I reflect upon how I’m planting seeds to develop curious eaters and to inspire positive relationships with food.
We could use a fresh approach to the food routine in my house! Sometimes, yes, I have the entire week’s meals planned, sourdough starter fermenting and homemade-something-with-chocolate-and-nuts ready for an afterschool snack. These days, my fridge typically lacks veggie inspiration and the kids want noodles every day.
To model good behaviors, how do we foster food values while involving kids in food experiences without reprimand?
How do we release our obsession for perfectly balanced meals and remain nonjudgmental when children refuse to eat? More proactively, how can we turn meals into teaching moments?
Plant seeds. This simple act bears many benefits. Planting seeds about food can shift how families talk about and appreciate food.
Start with the senses and rely on nature. Children experience the world through their senses; when they can grow food, new perspectives arise. For example, when kids connect a radish on their plate to the radish they watched sprout and later uprooted with soil, bugs and worms, their eating behaviors can transform.
Benefits of planting seeds with children:
1. Playing with dirt.
2. Cultivating connection with nature’s miraculous process.
3. Learning science and marveling about the earth.
4. Tuning in to the seasons with mindfulness.
5. Reminding ourselves of the time, effort and resources needed for something to germinate, sprout, grow and mature.
6. Learning patience.
7. Slowing down.
8. Enjoying quality time together.
9. Discovering food in a tangible, inquisitive way.
10. Reveling in the tiny life a child helped to grow.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb—I’m a terrible gardener. You needn’t plant an entire garden to reap the benefits of your labor! Choose a seed-planting project that is doable—anything intentional will result in an experience you can ponder at the dinner table.
Seed planting ideas:
1. Plant herb seeds in pots on your front porch.
2. Use an egg carton to grow starts in a sunny window.
3. Grow microgreens in your kitchen (where you won’t forget to water them).
4. Convert a small space in your yard to an experimental kid garden (faeries welcome).
5. Plant and water different dried beans in separate jars to see which ones will grow.
6. For an extension of nature’s wonder, plant seeds of pollinator-attracting flowers.
Encourage children to choose heirloom or organic seeds that become edible plants—leafy greens and others with a shorter growing season. Gather ingredients and tools together. Whether or not you’re a parent, plant the seed with intention, perhaps as a metaphor for what you would like to cultivate in your life. Tend to it daily. Watch it grow.
Jamie Truppi, MSN, is an integrative nutritionist focusing on functional foods and family wellness.