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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Kids Like Homegrown Vegetables

Here's a good follow-up to my recent post on the growing obesity problem amongst kids: Children Eat More Fruits and Vegetables If They Are Homegrown.

The study found that preschool kids served homegrown fruits and vegetables were nearly twice as likely to eat five servings per day than those who rarely or never had homegrown produce. These kids prefer the taste of fruits and vegetables to other foods and eat a greater variety of fruits and vegetables. This is obviously a great finding. Kids that learn healthful eating habits as young'ins will tend to grow up to be healthier adults. Overweight kids tend to grow up to be overweight adults, so reducing the intake of McDonald's and Burger King in favor of meat and produce is a positive step.

I'm not sure planting a garden is necessary. I bet that much of the reason for the difference is that those that grow their own vegetables just have more vegetables readily available than those that don't. I surmise that a study comparing two groups of families, one group eating 5+ servings/day of homegrown vegetables and one group eating 5+ servings/day of store-bought vegetables, would yield very little difference in the attitudes of kids toward produce. The key is availability and familiarity rather than where the produce is grown. Granted kids are probably more excited about eating something that is grown by mom and/or dad, but I think just having a menu replete with fruits and vegetables will accomplish at least 90% of getting kids to eat their vegetables. And of course mom and dad have to eat them too.

I am working on building my own garden. I've been so busy with the new house and such that I haven't found the time yet and since we're fast approaching summer, it won't happen this year. However, I have picked a spot in my backyard and will start working on getting the soil up to snuff soon. I'm also deciding on what I would like to grow. I'm thinking about broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, some sort of lettuce, perhaps onions, and squash. I'd also like to plant some herbs and maybe a chili pepper plant. As I've never really grown anything before, we'll see how my first "harvest" turns out. No kids yet, but hopefully by the time they come along, I'll have a nice green thumb and can provide them with fresh, homegrown produce.