Real food, real quick

The past year has been full of life-changing events amid the backdrop of home renovation. With the second floor bathroom done and the third floor taken apart and put back together again, finding time to cook everyday meals has been a challenge.

We were quickly reined in by a few too many trips to the pediatric dentist’s office, realizing sugar was the culprit. But is this the way to teach kids to dial down the sugar? Can we teach them that food doesn’t have to come in a plastic wrapper or a box covered with claims that it’s healthy when it’s really not? Like many families, we got caught in the tug of war of getting kids to eat and keeping the peace. This is a tightrope to be sure.

Starting small, with leftover lumber from the third floor, we constructed raised garden beds, filled them with organic soil, and planted tomatoes, lettuce and herbs, hoping for the best. BeyondPesticides.org has easy-to-follow resources for organic gardening.

The results came in slowly between bouts of freezing cold spring weather and some sunnier days. The kids ventured outside, away from electronics, without being asked. Greens ended up on dinner plates. There were complaints at the beginning, and some nights there still are. But the greens are being eaten. Any parent who’s gone from zero to “they ate something” knows how truly sweet it is. We now have access to real food that’s as quick as it comes, right out the back door.

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