Healthy Eating and Garden Ideas Now that Spring is Here

Farmers Market produce

We drove past the huge block where our seasonal farmers’ market was opening the stand for the season. That’s a sign of spring for us. Get to know the farmers at your local farmers’ market and learn about how their produce is grown. Organic and sustainable farmers are not just feeding your family tonight. Their practices keep soil replenished and healthy for years, and crops,to come.

Take a look at this study to learn more about organic gardening practices.

We also filled our seed trays over the weekend for our vegetable garden. Get your kids involved with planting seeds to grow vegetables for future meals and help them understand where their food comes from. We use tomatoes in the summer to make our own ketchup for burgers from the grill. It helps promote healthy eating habits to teach children that something like a jar of ketchup starts with a tomato!

The following Bobby Flay ketchup recipe is one we have enjoyed for years. It has added flavor thanks to the tomatoes being roasted.

There are plenty of fruits and vegetables, like zucchini, tomatoes,eggplant, and melons,that areeasy to start from seed. You can have the kids recycle clear egg cartons and grow the plants in the wells of the carton. Simply fill each well with a seed starter medium, poke a hole with a pencil, drop the seeds in and cover. Mist the inside cover with a spray bottle and close the top.

Place clear containers in a sunny window. You’ll notice condensation form on the inside. Don’t let the mixture dry out. Spray again when it looks like there is less condensation. Most seeds will start to sprout in a week or so. Once the plants get taller you can leave the top of the egg container open and lightly water.

Don’t forget that there are many varieties of fruits and vegetables to choose from in the seed packets. The expert growers at Better Homes and Gardens share the statistic that 86%of home gardeners grow tomatoes. The hot names in tomato plantsthis season? A hybrid tomato called Tye Dye and Black Pearl. See the BHG site for other garden ideas.

Do you feel like you’re skimping on your New Year’s resolution to get more vegetables and fruit in your diet? Get started this Monday with the Meatless Monday campaign. Their philosophy is tolook at each Monday as a new beginning for healthier eating. Take a look at their site for recipe ideas.

Go vegetarian for one day a week forbettereating choicesand to befriendly to the environment.Now is the perfect starting point to get more fruit and vegetables in your diet sincethis is the start of the farmers’ market and growing season.

Alice Knisley Matthias is a mom of two boys who love to trade weird-but-true facts. She writes about food, family, education and garden. She loves to cook and to grow fresh herbs, and believes in an organic lifestyle for her family in the kitchen and the garden. Her work has appeared in Eating Well, Highlights for Children, Boys’ Life, Chicken Soup for the Soul, What to Expect, Cook n’ Scribble and an America’s Test Kitchen Cook’s Country Cookbook. She is the author of and a regular blogger for KIDS DISCOVER. Find Alice on Twitter: @AKnisleyMatth

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