April is a month where we celebrate all things green: Earth Day (April 22nd) and National Garden Week (the second week of April). While it’s easy for parents to understand and honor the environment, there’s a simple way you can carry this theme throughout your kitchen and ensure you’re serving healthy foods for kids: try eating green! Eating greener, plant-based foods are not only good for the environment, they are good for our kids’ health too. Here are a few ways to eat green with your family all year-round:
1. Get outside and garden
The most local you can get, of course, is your own back yard. Depending on where you live, having a small garden can be a source of produce for you and your family. It’s also a great activity that you and your family can do together. Start small, with fresh herbs such as rosemary and basil, and continue from there if you have the time and space!
2. Eat locally
The easiest and simplest way to do this is to see if your city or town has a local farmer’s market. When you shop at a farmer’s market, chances are the food you find there hasn’t traveled far to get to your plate! Also consider joining a CSA (community supported agriculture). Check out Local Harvest to find a farmer’s market or CSA near you. Farmer’s markets are stocked with a variety of healthy foods for kids, and may even help entice you to try a new fruit or vegetable recipe.
3. Cook once, eat twice
When planning for and preparing dinner, buy enough ingredients to make a second batch. You can even triple it if you have the storage space in your fridge, freezer or pantry! It does not take much more effort to cook a larger batch. Plus, you can have the leftovers for another meal in a few days, freeze them for a quick meal at a later date, or gift family or friends with your home-cooked meal.
4. Stock your freezer
A well-stocked freezer uses less energy than one that is almost empty. This is great news for those that like to plan and meal prep a variety of recipes for busy weeks. Just think of the space you can fill with leftover or prepped meals! Just remember to label and date everything clearly, so you know when to toss ingredients or ready-to-eat meals when they’ve expired (hopefully you use them before this point).
5. Add veggies to family-favorite meals
Whether it’s making a tomato sauce with carrots and bell peppers, or adding black beans and cabbage to tacos, consider creating healthier family favorites by adding 1-2 more veggies to your plate. Add diced vegetables in meatloaf and burgers, put roasted veggies on pizza or in pasta sauce, or add kale or spinach to fruit smoothies.
When it comes to being more mindful about what you eat and serve your family, just remember, simple, healthy swaps, can lead to big, green results for you and your family. So tell me: what recipes with a green theme do your kids enjoy?!