• Where Does Food Come From?

    Where Does Your Food Come From?

    If your kids think all their food originates at the supermarket, there’s a problem. Food education, or learning how food gets from the farm or the wild to the table is essential knowledge for youngsters. It can inspire them to be more thoughtful about their diet and make healthier choices. Since many schools no longer have the time or the budget to teach kids about food, check out these ideas for educating your child about their food.

    children-eating-apples-and-laughing

    Food Education is Key

    For many kids, the problem stems from the fact a lowly carrot can’t compete with the marketing power behind their favorite brand of chips. So it’s time they knew just what went into making that carrot. If there’s a local farmer’s market near you, bring the kids along next time. They can meet the farmer who grew that carrot, and perhaps, if you make the effort to arrange it, the farmer will let you visit their farm. A farm visit can be an excellent opportunity to show kids how animals, fruits, and vegetables grow, and how much hard work goes into making what they eat.

    The Vegetarian Question

    Investigating the sources of “real” food is not only fun, it makes that food more relatable to kids. But there’s a difference between relating to a vegetable and relating to a cute and cuddly lamb that’s soon to become a lamb chop. How do you explain meat eating to impressionable youngsters?

    Ultimately it’s up to you to determine whether your child is mature enough to hear about how animals are slaughtered, but once your child is ready to have that conversation, be honest. “Why do humans eat animals?” your child might ask. Weigh in with your own opinion on the subject, but point your child toward some books, too. There’s plenty of literature out there about the moral thorniness of food production, some of it meant for younger readers. If you provide your child with some varied sources, it will encourage them to make their own informed decisions about what they eat.

    Experimenting with Food

    All this consideration of food might convince your child to consider changing their diet significantly. If they want to try out something new, support them, but also be sure to ask questions about how they feel. If they seem tired all the time or start losing or gaining weight drastically, it might be time to suggest a few tweaks to make sure their new diet is balanced. Consider consulting your child’s pediatrician.

    When kids care about food, they automatically care more about eating well; apathy means they’re more likely to eat chips for breakfast. So next time you’re at the dinner table, it’s time to try a new conversation: where dinner really came from.

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