Gardening and Picky Eaters: Promote a Positive Relationship With Food!

With spring almost here, there are many fun activities you can do in order to help a picky eater build a positive relationship with food. One activity is gardening. Here are some ways for why gardening is an excellent hands-on activity that promotes a positive relationship with food. ---

  1. Gardening gets kids and their parents talking about food in a positive manner. Show your child different seed packets and have him or her talk about which vegetable or fruit they want to grow. Have a conversation with your child about why they selected a certain vegetable/fruit and what characteristics it may have. Will it be big or small? Will it be short or long? How many will grow? Gardening allows for positive and exciting conversations to occur involving the topic of food that normally would not occur around the dinner table.

  2. Gardening may help your child associate food with fun! Have your child decorate the garden plot or the planters with fun art and colors. Plant the seeds making your child’s favorite shape or his or hers first name initial. Your child will have so much fun creating a fun space for the food he or she is growing.

  3. Gardening is a great way to teach kids about how our food grows. Children often don't know where their food comes from and how it grows. Introducing the concept of growing a seed into something they can eat is super exciting for children. Your child will learn the different things that are needed to grow fruits and vegetables, which may help develop a nurturing and positive relationship with food. Your child will feel so proud once the first sign of growth starts popping out of the soil!

  4. Gardening is a great way to incorporate food exploration into a child’s daily life. From watching the seedlings grow to seeing the various fruits and vegetables form, it allows for many opportunities for children to see, touch, and smell food in an environment very different from their dinner table.

  5. Gardening is a gradual process that allows for a child to interact with food without the pressure to eat. Because your child has had plenty of time to positively interact with the food he or she decided to grow, you may see less anxiety and more willingness in trying the food once it is time to harvest.

Happy Gardening!

Written by: Juliette Koepp, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist