By Diana, Contributing Writer

I’m always so excited to share a bit about my passions here at Keeper of the Home.  Recently, I’ve enjoyed sharing a couple of posts on budgeting in real food and cooking with seasonal vegetables that both nourish and taste phenomenal.

Many of you have started to follow me on instagram where I frequently post pictures of my ridiculously good lunches for kids.

As you can tell, I enjoy loading up my children’s diets on vegetables.  A frequent question that I get is, “How do your children react to that food?”

As much as I’d love to respond that my children LOVE their vegetables, well, they’re kids. There are vegetables that they truly enjoy, others that they tolerate, and some that they just can’t stand.

However, they always eat their vegetables, and it’s usually because we strike up conversations on growing them. You see, a great way to teach your children to love, or tolerate, vegetables starts by gardening with your children.  At least that’s been my experience.

Gardening with Children

Each year, while the weather is frigid and our soil is still covered in snow, my children and I pore over brilliantly colored pages of seed catalogs. Together, we pick out vegetables in all shapes and sizes and circle the ones that we’d like to learn about and grow.

We talk about how they grow and what kinds of foods we can make with them.

With both new and saved seeds in hand, we start to plant lettuces, brassicas, and warm summer vegetables indoors.

Again, we talk about how the vegetables will taste once they grow.

As the snow melts and the birds begin to chirp, my children and I excitedly hurry ourselves outdoors and slosh around in the mud as we prepare our beds for the season’s first sowing.

Tiny hands experiencing the miracles of life and anticipating food they’ll get to eat.

As the weather warms, we continue to sow, plant, and tend.

And as my children have gotten older, it’s been a blessing to see them sweat a good sweat and understand that it takes hard work to eat good food.

As the garden grows, we all get excited to harvest after months of hard work.

Together, we choose a recipe and learn what it means to harvest when our vegetables are at their peak of freshness.

It’s after all of those months of hard work that when I serve them a dish like these chicken poblano enchiladas, although they may look at it weary, they are usually more than eager to take a big bite and savor every ounce of sweat they poured into their meal.

My children eat their vegetables because they are involved in the food that they eat.  They know how vegetables are grown and most importantly understand the hard work that it takes to grow them.  All of these efforts is showing them how to appreciate their food.

There are other ways to teach our kids to love vegetables; however, I can’t think of a more fruitful way than by gardening, side-by-side, with my children.

Oh… and we cook together to ;)

How do you teach your children to love vegetables?