Herb Gardening with Kids

Herb gardening with kids is a great way to introduce your children to a new hobby. They love playing in the dirt already, why not make it even more fun by letting them grow their own plants? Not only is herb gardening entertaining for kids, but it can be full of educational moments and character building opportunities too!

7 Tips to Herb Gardening with Kids

7 Tips for Herb Gardening with Kids

Start small

You don’t want to overwhelm your child (or yourself) with a large herb garden right off the bat. Stick with 3-5 herbs for this first time gardening. If it’s too time consuming, he may feel like it’s a chore and quickly become disinterested in caring for the plants.

Choose easy to grow herbs

Kids shouldn’t have to work too hard on their herb garden. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun hobby! You can begin with a “pizza garden,” which consists of the herbs that are typically used when making pizza. This includes oregano, basil, and parsley.

What better way to celebrate your child’s gardening success than with a pizza using his own herbs?!

Purchase gardening tools for kids

Don’t just hand over the gardening tools you have used for years. Get the kids excited by giving them their own trowel, watering can, and hand rake. Teach them how to use the tools correctly to take proper care of his herb garden.

Get them to use all five senses

As they tend to the herb garden, let them really explore the plants (and dirt). As they sprout, kids can smell the herb and see if he can tell the difference between each. If you grow spearmint, your child can even chew the leaves for a minty taste!

Let it be fun, while educational

While herb gardening is definitely a learning experience, you want the kids to have fun too. The key is for the garden to be full of teaching moments. Teachable moments when herb gardening include looking up different herbs to learn how to properly care for them and comparing two or more herbs. Don’t forget learning about bugs!

Praise hard work

As your kids continue to grow their own herbs, be sure to show how proud you are of their commitment to the garden. Their self-esteem will be boosted when they realize the plants are actually growing successfully.

Let the child be in charge

It can be easy for parents to take over a project such as herb gardening (as I raise my hand), especially when the child starts to slack on watering and other tasks. However, gardening can teach your children responsibility and the need to nurture and take care of plants. Letting them see the effects of any neglect, including the herbs starting to wilt or die, is a great moment for teaching responsibility.

I hope you are encouraged to try herb gardening with your kids. Besides, it’s easier than getting a pet and a great family project that will test all of your patience.

If it’s not an option you can at least enjoy these fun little Dirt Cups on Instagram!

2 Ingredient Fruit Dip

Our family LOVES fruit! We eat between 15-20 pounds of apples each week, if that tells you anything. We don’t just eat apples, we eat bananas, blueberries, strawberries — basically whatever is in season.

I have readers tell me their kids won’t eat fruit. Although that isn’t something I deal with I have an easy solution, ready for this. Add a dip.

Kids will eat almost anything with a dip.

You may be thinking, I want my kids to be healthy, how is adding a fruit dip going to help? You can use a healthy dip and I’ve got a super easy dip recipe for you. It’s only 2 ingredients so even your kids can “help” you make it.

Chocolate Fruit Dip

Chocolate Fruit Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 6 oz Vanilla So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk  (non-dairy yogurt)

Do

No steps required, just stir the cocoa powder into the non-dairy yogurt. DONE.

This makes an incredible fruit dip to dip for cookies or graham crackers. I haven’t tried it yet on a fruit pizza but I really want to. One day I’ll try it as a frosting or filling for cupcakes but I don’t know how well it will work. It makes a pretty fabulous parfait as well.

Chocolate  Fruit Dip

I chose this type of yogurt because it’s made from coconut milk and safe for people with dairy, soy and tree nut allergies.

My boys loved it and they are picky about their yogurt.

On a side note, So Delicious just calls this cultured coconut milk, they don’t use the word yogurt because technically it isn’t. I use it because we always buy non-dairy versions of yogurt and it is just the word we are used to using.

You can make this with other flavors. Our store only carries plain, vanilla and blueberry but raspberry would be delightful.

If your kids get used to eating fruit with dip they will be more likely to eat it without dip too.

For us, this dip is like a special dessert treat. I don’t make it all the time but they love it. It also works great in a lunch box.

Snackable-Recipe-Contest-BadgeThis recipe is an entry in the So Delicious and Go Dairy Free Snackable Recipe Contest.

You can connect with So Delicious on their Facebook page.

3 Back to School Tips

Back to School

Going back to school after summer vacation can be very stressful for both kids and parents. Even if you kids have been in daycare all summer there is still a big transition. In addition to all of your other duties now you have to worry about home work, after school activities, making sure everyone has everything they need when you leave the house in the morning.

Did I sign that folder and the other billion papers the school sent home?

3 Back to School Tips

Back to School Tips

Truthfully, getting started is probably the hardest part. I’ve been handling this back to school dance for over 10 years (remember I have older kids) and have some great back to school tips to make it a little easier for you.

1. Establish New Routines

By the time the first report card comes home you won’t think twice about your daily routine but as school is starting it can get overwhelming. Talk through everything that needs to be done in the morning before you leave for school, after school and at bed time then make lists. Reserve the list for things that are non-negotiable. Then every day you can ask your child, is the morning list done, after school list, bed time list instead of asking about each specific item on the list.

Our morning list would say:

  • Eat Breakfast
  • Get Dressed (with shoes on)
  • Brush Teeth
  • Get Lunch
  • Get Backpack

Your list might be bigger or smaller. We’ve got little boys, they just want to watch cartoons and play. If they get their list done they will have free time. When our older kids lived at home their morning list included morning chores and making their own lunches.

Come up with appropriate list for after school that may include cleaning out lunch boxes or doing homework. You may want them to pick out their clothes for the next day or that may be on their bed time list. It’s a good idea to put things like “find shoes” or “put backpack away” on the bed time list.

Don’t assume that older kids won’t benefit from lists. I don’t know how many calls I’ve gotten from our older kids saying they forgot their lunch, P.E. uniform, homework, etc. When they ask if they can hang out with friends ask them if they have completed their list.

2. Plan Easy Meals

During seasons of change I find it best to stick to simple meals. It’s OK to try new recipes but keep it simple; Lasagna is probably too ambitious but spaghetti is perfect. You may find your kids ravenously hungry or uninterested for a while. They are probably goofing off a lot during lunch and wanting to eat a big snack after school and ignore dinner or they skip snack and are STARVING at dinner time.

If you have Crock Pot meals or Instant Pot meals to rely on that may make it easier. Soup, pasta and casseroles are easy meals at our house but sometimes we end up with sandwiches and cereal. Between working full-time, running a business on the side and being a wife and mommy cereal can be a life saver.

3. Work Ahead and in Batches

I don’t know about you but I feel like I’m running behind a lot of the time. I have to be very intentional about working ahead. You can get your kids help by preparing a week’s worth of snack on the weekend to use during the week. I will buy large bags pretzels and place them in individual containers for the week.. Then each morning I can send my son to the pantry to grab the snack for that day.

You can also do this with you kids clothes for the week. Pick out a full set of clothes for every day so your child can grab their clothes and get dressed on their own. You can even add hair accessories if you do that sort of thing. You can hang the whole outfit on hangers or buy one of these hanging dividers. This can be a great reminder if you child needs to take money on Wednesday for popcorn, just put it with the clothes for that day.

I also like to prepare a few days of lunch ahead of time. I’ll make lunches for up to three days so I can just grab and go. You can do this trick with dinners too. If you are really in the groove make a few dinners ahead or even individual meals.


Do you have a tip to add? What do feel like needs to be done to make the transition back to school a little easier? Don’t forget to follow my Back to School Pinterest Board for more inspiration.

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Leading by Example

Today’s post was written by my husband, Jim. You can read his last post When the “Vegan” Husband is Tempted or his Weight Loss Story for a little more background. Today he shares the importance of Leading by Example. 
Leading by Example Advice from a plant-based dad

OK so at home, we’ve got little guys, a 3 year old and a 5 year old. For many meals, all the boys want to eat is fruit or cereal.

So what does a good dad\parent do? – Lead by example

Well obviously a good dad\parent has to be patient, consistent, loving and lead by example. Your kids will listen to your actions much more than your words. If your kids are anything like mine, they love to “share with Daddy”. If Daddy is eating corn chips with salsa, that’s what they’ll want. If Daddy is eating an apple and a pear and a peach… that’s what they’ll want. If Daddy is eating spinach, broccoli, sliced apples and blueberries, that’s what they’ll want. OK, so it’s not as linear as I’d like for it to be but, the more they see you eating it, the more they’ll eat it too.

It’s like teaching them to drive – except this is for their health

Have you ever noticed your children doing something that you do while you’re driving… that makes your cringe? I know I have. The sounds of “race ’em Daddy, race ’em”, still make me shake my head. So, as a parent, I want my kids to be good drivers, heck, even great drivers. How much more important is it then, that they have good healthy food habits as they grow up that they learn at home. Once our kids leave our nest, they’ll go off and make their own choices that they will need to live with.

Childhood Obesity

According to the CDC, childhood obesity statistics from 1980 to 2012:
Obesity in children aged from 6 – 11, increased from 7% to 18%
Obesity in children aged from 12 – 19, increased from 5% to 21%
Obesity in children increases many risk factors

Your kids will listen to your actions.

Although I struggle at times with eating a great diet, these statistics are hard to turn away from. Lead by example, eat your fresh vegetables and fruits in front of your kids and with them. They will listen to your actions.


Surely leading by example is one of the most important parts of getting your family to eat healthy. For more tips to get your kids eating healthy check out these popular posts.

My Kids Won’t Eat That! 5 tips for introducing new (healthy) foods.

5 Simple Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies

Plant-Based Kids

 

3 Reasons I Don’t Pack a “Healthy” Lunch Box

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you may have noticed I don’t pack my kindergartener the healthiest lunches. It may even surprise you to find out how deliberate I am with what I pack.

Back to School Month

Since this blog is about “plant-based” living you may expect me to pack veggie wraps and super healthy lunch box fare. I hope I haven’t let you down, but I’m not concerned with my kid having a “Healthy” lunch box.

3 reasons I don't pack a Healthy lunch box

I have complete oversight regarding what my kids eat at home. At school, I really can’t know. I could pack a super healthy lunch box but that doesn’t mean it would be eaten. Instead I focus on the following ideas.

1. What Will Get Eaten

My son is 5 and eating five meals a week away from me. He is not quite used to that amount of freedom. The first few days of school I packed lots of choices. I wanted to get a good idea of “how much” he would eat during his lunch time. I instructed him not to throw anything away and to bring all of the leftover home.

Sandwiches would only have a few nibbles, if that much. Of course, sweet and salty foods were eaten right up. Fruit was hit and miss. His leftovers would normally be eaten after school.

2. Avoiding Ridicule

No one wants to be the kid with a weird lunch. I remember feeling lunch box shame when my lunch didn’t match the cool kids at the lunch table. I was the kid with bologna.

Somewhere between broccoli-flavored tofu nuggets* and bacon-wrapped candy bars* there is a happy medium of  foods that make parents and kids happy. (*Please note that we don’t eat either of those.)

3. Quick and Easy

Have you been in a lunch room during elementary lunch? It’s a mad house, every man for himself. Even though there may be as many as 30 minutes scheduled for lunch by the time kids arrive at their table they may only have 15 or so minutes to eat. They best thing I can do for my kid is to pack food he can eat quickly and easily.

Elementary kids, especially kindergartener like mine don’t really understand how to budget their time. They may spend 10 minutes laughing and telling jokes then 5 minutes waiting for a lunch aide to help open their container. Everything I pack for my son is easy for him to open and can be eaten easily.


 

For more Back to School ideas visit my Back to School Pinterest Board. You can also check out Lunch Box Guide (it’s a printable) and my Lunch Box Essentials post.

Do you pack a lunch for your child? What do you normally pack?

UPDATE

We finished the school year and I have to say I’m pretty happy with our lunches for the year. Using the EasyLunchBoxes system saved my sanity. They held up well and helped us pack great lunches for our kids.

I visited my kindergartner one day for lunch toward the end of the year. The lunch aid said my son always had the healthiest lunch at the table. My son would occasionally ask for foods he saw the other kids eat, like lunchables and Cheetos. Instead we’d occasionally buy Enjoy Life Cookies that are allergy-friendly and once tried Organicasaurus dino shaped corn snacks.

The next Back to School campaign starts in August! Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss incredible giveaways and tips!

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