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Gardening With Your Preschooler

Preschoolers who eat produce from home gardens are more than twice as likely to get five servings daily (the recommended amount), says a recent Saint Louis University study. To put the news to use:

 

If you have a garden...

Get your child to help you. Give her kid-size gardening gear (since mom-size tools don't fit so well in little hands). Always supervise her in the garden and teach her to hold tools, like rakes and hoes, by their handles only.

Choose fast-growing plants. Since preschoolers are eager to see the fruits of their efforts, start by planting quick-to-sprout vegetables like radishes, spinach, and beans. Then try growing your child's favorites

 

If you don't have a garden...

Join a community garden. With your own plot of land for growing, it'll be like having one in your backyard.

Visit a local farmers market. Ask the growers about where and how the food is grown, and encourage your child to ask her own questions. Then pick out produce to buy together.

Plant herbs in a window box. Cook with what grows. It may not get your kid to eat more fruits and veggies, but exposing her to new flavors could expand her palate.

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