Healthy eating is not easy in our society – well, at least not at first. Everyone wants to be healthy and happy, but might not always feel like we have the time or money to spend. The key to eating healthy is to have healthy foods readily available to you to replace those convenient fast food drive-thrus. What better place than in your own backyard? Here are four reasons you should plant a garden with your family this year.
- You’ll have healthy ingredients ready for your favorite foods! Plant what you love to eat. I love green smoothies, so I planted lots of greens this year. My kids love peppers and cucumbers, so they planted those. My husband makes a tasty salsa, so we planted tomatoes too. Pick what you love – peppers, onions, and tomatoes for salsa, cucumbers for snacks or salads, or just herbs. (The simple step of adding parsley to your eggs in the morning makes them healthier by alkalizing them.) You’ll be surprised at the difference between the taste of a canned vegetable heated up in the microwave to the fresh, nutritious vegetable you grew with your own hands.
- Be in control of what is in your food! Do you cringe at the sight of some of the prices of organic produce? Grow your own and reduce the cost of feeding your family nutritious food. Plant organic seeds or starter plants and use natural fertilizer. Consider starting a compost pile. Use compost to fertilize the garden while reducing the amount of food that goes to the landfills and emits methane, negatively affecting our environment.
- Enjoy the opportunities to spend quality time with your children! Plan the garden together, pick out the seeds or plants together, dig in the dirt together, weed and water together. It is so fulfilling to see the looks on the faces of children when they see that a small pepper has grown into a large one or that tomato blossoms appeared overnight! And, there are so many hands-on lessons about our ecosystem and the life cycle of plants.
- Spending time outdoors is good for you! The time your family spends outside to water and weed your garden is time away from wi-fi, cell phones, and electronics that can cause chaos in your body. Take off your shoes! The energy from the earth and the sunlight recharges and rebalances us.
If this is your first garden, you can start small. Don’t be overwhelmed by building a garden; you can always plant in pots. Enjoy the process. Supplement your small garden with produce grown by local farmers. You can join a CSA, shop at a farmer’s market, or even find some locally grown organic produce in some grocery stores. Happy gardening and healthy eating!
~ Theresa Sonderman
Speech-Language Pathologist at Marian Hope