This Earth Day, think about making more earth-friendly food choices that will help promote the health of both your family and the planet. The food that we eat has a tremendous impact on our health. By helping your children eat cancer-fighting foods now, you can help reduce their risk of acquiring preventable cancers later. Because the formation of healthy bodies and healthy habits begins when we’re young, it’s never too early to help your children make healthy choices.
With a few easy steps, you can improve the planet and your family’s health all while planting a seed for cancer-combating habits!
- Grow an herb garden! Herbs are jam-packed with disease-fighting phytonutrients. Plus, many contain phenolic acids, which can prevent certain types of cancer. Eating even just a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs can provide as much antioxidant power as an entire piece of fruit! Try adding fresh herbs to pastas, salads, or grilled fish to boost flavor and nutrition. When starting your garden, go organic with your herbs and soil and invite your kids to help research natural ways to combat pests and avoid using unnecessary chemicals.
- Get dirty! Playing in the dirt may actually be good for kids’ developing immune systems. Let your children work the soil, dig, plant seeds, and care for the garden. They’ll see that growing food is not only easy, but also healthy and fun. Gardening is also great exercise. Point out to your kids that every time they squat when planting, removing a bug or trimming the plants, they are building muscle. Use this teachable moment to explain the benefits of building muscles, burning energy, and why they’re so good for your body! Teaching your kids to appreciate and care for the earth segues easily into valuing the types of foods you put into your body. Ask your children how taking care of the garden is like taking care of their bodies.
- Next get kids in the kitchen with the foods they grow! Children are more likely to eat foods that they help grow and prepare. Get some colorful cutting boards, plastic bowls, and child-friendly knives and invite your kids to take on tasks such as washing, mixing, and simple cutting. Cooking doesn’t have to be intricate or time-consuming, especially when fresh herbs turn even the simplest dish into a flavorful treat. Just this week, I found we were low on food, with little more than some tomatoes, brown rice, and a can of beans on hands. My daughter helped add fresh chopped chives and cilantro, which she planted and grew, to make a delicious meal that everyone enjoyed.
Just as we don’t want to litter all over the place we live, we don’t want to litter our bodies with wrong food choices. After all, the body provides a means to do everything we need, just as the earth provides us with nutrients and a place to live. By eating well and making smart choices when deciding what foods to eat, we can care for them both. Learn more with Get Your Kids To Eat More Plant-Based Foods in Honor of Earth Day!