Raising Healthy Kids: Plant Good Habits and Watch Them Grow

As a mom, making sure my little one is healthy and happy are my top priorities. So what's a mom to do when it seems impossible to make both happen at the same time? Yep, I have a four year old. And like many typical four year olds, she's less than interested in getting in her daily quota of leafy greens. Sometimes you have to get creative in order to make healthy food choices a habit for your kids. Lucky for us there are companies like Annie's Homegrown who are in the trenches with us- making healthy foods fun and good choices easier for little ones to make!

Annie's products have been a staple in our house ever since this little lovebug starting eating solids. Their Cheddar Bunnies and Macaroni and Cheese are literally always in our pantry. Always. So imagine my excitement when they reached out to us at Camp Makery! They sent Delaney a wonderful crate filled with goodies. There were veggies, fruits, and spices, coloring sheets, TONS of snacks and goodies, and most exciting of all- the most adorable Kid's Garden Seed Kit. The garden kit came complete with seeds, teeny gloves, and a Laney-sized shovel, trowel and rake to get us started!

Laney was excited about the snacks, but she was PSYCHED about the garden kit. She just could not wait to get growing! Seeing her excitement made me so happy. One of the ways I get her to eat well is by getting her invested in the process of shopping for and preparing healthy foods. I knew that if she actually grew her own healthy foods from seeds she would be that much happier to munch on them later!

The seeds included things that are regular in our diet, like blueberries, beans and carrots. We were also sent some items that Laney was less familiar with, like beets and sunflowers! When I explained to her that her beloved Cheddar Bunnies that were sent in the crate had been colored using the beets, she was intrigued and excited.

She was able to complete most of the seedling process on her own. The little soil pellets puffed right up when she added some warm water. We transferred the soil to our peat pots and then she was able to press a few seeds from each tin into the pots. It was so much fun to be able to plant inside- especially in the middle of a pretty intense cold snap!

Delaney added the finishing touch by making sure each pot was properly labeled and we put them in a nice, sunny spot under a couple of glass domes. According to the instructions, we should see them sprout in five to seven days. I cannot wait to see the look on her face when she realizes the fruits (and veggies and flowers!) of her efforts.

After all of that hard work, Delaney had quite the appetite. What did she want to eat for lunch? Bernie's Farm macaroni and cheese in fun farmyard shapes- naturally! Here are my top three tips for getting kiddos to eat healthy:

1. Get them invested in their choices. Like I talked about above, planting a garden or even going all out and raising chickens are incredible ways to get your kids invested in their health and good food choices. But it doesn't have to be that elaborate! Invite your children to help you prepare meals and they will be excited to try what they helped make.

2. Make it an adventure. One of my favorite tricks is to take Laney to the grocery store with me and let her pick out one fruit and one veggie to try that week. No rules, other than it has to be something she has never tried before. It doesn't always end in a new favorite, but the point is getting them to try new, healthy things.

3. Start with what works and use it against what doesn't. So your kid will only eat pizza? Try making your own with whole wheat dough and let them choose one new veggie to add to their pizza. They won't eat chicken? Try making some nuggets from scratch with fresh, organic chicken and replacing the breading with crushed Cheddar Bunnies in fun, naturally dyed colors to make rainbow nuggets! We did that this past week with Laney and it was an instant hit!

What do you do to get your little ones to happily eat healthy foods? Camp Makery has recently turned into Camp Baby Makery, with four of us Counselors either pregnant or new mamas. We would all love to hear your tips and tricks! Connect with us and Annie's on Twitter by tagging @campmakery and @annieshomegrown. Use the hashtag #realfoodisfun and join the conversation!