What would your child want to buy at the farmers market? After watching thIS video, I starting thinking again about how to involve children in their food choices. In the video, a group of children are given $10 to buy whatever they wanted at the farmers market, and all of them bought at least some very healthy ingredients. Children don't need to be involved in food preparation constantly, but I think that most children would enjoy being involved more then they currently are. I bet that it is helpful for them to be involved with their food before it magically appears on the table in front of them, especially if we are trying to encourage them to eat healthy food. I can see how being part of the process could help children feel ownership over their mealtimes in a healthy way.
One example from our life is planting some carrots in a little planter in the backyard. I am a terrible gardener, but we managed to harvest most of the carrots. Actually, I should say that my 5-year-old helped both plant and harvest them herself. Everyday she would ask to go out and pick a carrot to eat. The funny thing is that these carrots really didn't taste that great (perhaps it was the variety; they were a type of stubby ball-shaped carrot meant for small spaces). But to her, the fact that she got to pluck it out of the ground made it so much more desirable than the sweeter, store-bought carrots in the refrigerator.
So, planting food with a child seems like an excellent way to include them. But what about making some buying choices of their own? I asked Elena what she would like to buy at our local farmers market if she could buy whatever she wanted. She answered, "Berries, carrots, lettuce, radishes and bread." What a sensible little thing she is! Of course, if she went and saw some special treat there, she'd probably end up buying that too, but her answer was insightful to me as her mother. I haven't bought radishes in a long time because I didn't realize that she liked them. It has made me realize that handing her a bit of money to do some shopping might not be a bad idea after all. I might just try it...