Smart Idea: Get Kids to Grow Veggies to Encourage Healthy Eating


One tried and true strategy to encourage kids to try new foods is to get them involved in the cooking process. Their new “I made this!” attitude can often make a once-strange food suddenly intriguing and worthy of a taste test.

Well, taking this strategy one step further, there’s evidence that helping kids grow their own vegetables can also encourage healthier eating. A new study out of Cornell University looked at eating habits of students. Researchers found that when school-grown garden vegetables were put into cafeteria salads, kids were over four times as likely to take a salad.

The percentage of students who picked up a salad rose from two to ten percent, and they ate about two-thirds of their salads on average.

More research needs to be done but the study gives leaders of school garden programs some encouragement. Try the tactic out on picky eaters of any age. Have your little one help you plant veggies like peppers or zucchini—as the fruits of your labor start to grow, be sure to show your child and explain what’s happening. By the time it’s ready to harvest, he’ll ideally be excited to try it out!


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