More On Dieting

We spoke about dieting in a previous blog. The number one thing we learned is that we shouldn’t have children dieting at all. Instead, you want to thrive for the family to all have healthy eating habits. This is actually true for adults also !

close up of salad in plate
Photo by Jill Wellington

Nutrition is super important no matter the age. Your children need proper nutrients to stay healthy and strong and to grow up being the best that they can be. Nutrition for children can also help them to establish a foundation for healthy eating habits and nutritional knowledge that they can apply throughout life.

One of the best ways for you to get your child to eat healthy is to choose healthy foods for them. Like you, they just want something delicious. What’s harder for them, they often don’t understand the importance of choosing broccoli over a cupcake.

“Dieting” Food Categories

When it comes to protein, be sure that you choose lean cuts of meat and seafood. If you’re not a meat eater opt for plenty of beans, nuts and seeds. If you’re eating dairy, get low fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Keep in mind that children under age 1 should NOT be drinking cow milk. Until the age of 2, if you do give them dairy, make sure it’s whole milk.

Eat fruits and vegetables every single day, ideally with every meal. It doesn’t matter if it’s fresh, canned or frozen. If you’re getting them canned or frozen, make sure you get the ones without added sugar or salt. Make sure your fruits are in 100% juice or water instead of in syrup.

If you’re going for grains, make sure they’re whole. That goes for breads, cereals and pastas; make them high in fiber too ! You should limit or completely abstain from added and refined sugars. The same goes for refined grains. Also beware of sodium, trans and saturated fats and food that’s low in nutrients in general.

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Children’s Portion Sizes

Trying to gauge the portion sizes your kids need is like an olympic sport. The doctors and other sources say one thing, your instincts are telling you something but the 100 times your kids ask for food tells you something else ! Hopefully these little tidbits help. The goal is to raise healthy children, whatever that looks like for you. Just remember that no matter what, you know your children better than strangers on the internet.

family making breakfast in the kitchen
Photo by August de Richelieu

Are They Hungry ?

First things first, the portion sizes kids should have don’t always coordinate with being hungry. This is where it’s really important to know your kids individually. Sometimes kids want to eat simply because they’re bored. Other times, they’re actually just thirsty. Still, sometimes they’re just reminiscing about the taste of something and it has nothing to do with their belly. These are all super true for adults too. The main difference is, for us, it’s usually a self-control problem. But for children who are still learning their bodies, they actually have no clue what’s going on.

Meal Portion

Now, the nitty gritty. Let’s start by saying the obesity problem going on in the States has really warped our thinking. Take a look at portions sizes for adults at McDonald’s in 1955. They were pretty identical to the size of a happy meal today. And that actually used to suffice. Probably because it was closer to being actual real food and not just processed blobs (delicious blobs).

Additionally, portion size directly correlates to activity levels. If your child is in sports for example, they may need an extra meal sometimes. Also, when going through a growth spurt it gets pretty crazy. For everything else, we found this nifty chart, enjoy !

Portion By Age

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How To Make Pizza From Scratch

We eat pizza at least once a week. We love it because it’s delicious and it’s super easy to make. It’s also fairly cheap. So we’re here to teach you how to make one now ! One part of our gardening program is teaching children how to cook. We want you to be able to make things with the food you grow. In the indoor gardening kits and the physical garden alike we’ll be growing food that goes great on…

pepperoni pizza with basil leaves

PIZZA ! Basil, bell peppers, tomatoes, rosemary and more will be grown to make a delicious pizza.

If you want to try it at home with your kiddos, here’s the recipe on how to make the dough from scratch.

Making Pizza Dough

This recipe makes about 12 servings and only takes 30 minutes total (5 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to cook). Each serving is roughly 67kcal

Equipment

  • glass batter bowl
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • a rolling pin
  • pizza stone

Pizza Ingredients

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • A tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease your pizza pan and set it aside.
  2. Put warm water into your large glass batter bowl.
  3. Add sugar and yeast and stir to combine.
  4. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes, or until it becomes frothy.
  5. Add the olive oil and gently stir to combine.
  6. Add 2 cups of flour and salt and mix with a spatula until a ball begins to form (dough will still be slightly sticky). Include more flour as needed to form a dough ball.
  7. Transfer to a floured surface and knead into a smooth dough, adding up to 0.5 cup extra flour if needed.
  8. Roll dough into your desired shape and gently transfer to your prepared pan. 
  9. To ensure the dough doesn’t form air pockets, use a fork to prick to the dough all around (gently so you do not poke holes all the way through the crust).
  10. Bake on the lower rack of your preheated oven for 5 minutes and remove from your oven. (this is just to very slightly pre-bake the dough). If you notice air bubbles forming, poke them with a fork to let the air out. 
  11. Add pizza sauce and toppings of choice !
  12. Bake on the lower rack of your oven for around 15-20 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.
  13. Let cool, cut and serve.

The Super Quick Version

Sometimes we don’t feel like doing all that and instead we go to Kroger and gran Naan pita rounds, Larosas pizza sauce, the Kraft Pizza blend and some Hormel Turkey pepperonis. It only takes about 9 minutes to bake !

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Composting

Composting is using decomposed organic material like leaves, loose grass and produce scraps. Cardboard can be included too ! It provides a lot of important nutrients for plant growth and is often used as fertilizer. Compost improves the soil for your plants because the soil can easily hold the correct amount of moisture, nutrients and air with it.

white flower in brown clay pot
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Composting With Kids

Composting is one of the funnest parts for kids when they help you garden. They get the best experience when they can have a compost bowl and container of their own. You can use a regular garbage bin for outside, it’s just recommended that you make 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall. Drill about 25 large holes all around the container you choose to too allow air in and water drainage.

Compost Recipes

An excellent compost has three different main ingredient: Dead plant materials, household waste and a layer of soil.

Dead Plant Material

This includes dry leaves, twigs and sticks. It can also include grass clippings. If something happens to one of your plants, such as damage or uprooting, you can include those in your compost too ! But refrain from including bitten or diseased plants as they’ll contaminate the entire pile.

Household Waste For Composting

Most importantly, NEVER use meat, fat, dairy or pet waste in your compost. These will actually disease the soil and prevent your plants from growing big and strong. Things that are great to include are veggie and fruit scraps, shredded newspaper (specifically shredded), coffee grounds and eggshells.

A Layer Of Soil

A layer of soil in between your layers of compost helps to add earthworms and other microorganisms that are necessary to break down all of the other materials. Without this layer, the compost pile will take quite a long time to actually become compost.

Worm Composting

Not necessary but super fun for kids, you can also consider worm composting ! Make a worm farm by getting a medium sized plastic bin and drilling holes in it. Make a bed for the worms out of damp, shredded newspaper. Fluff it up to make it about 6 inches deep. Keep misting it if it dries out after you add your red wigglers to it ! They’re the best kind of composting worm. You can feed the worms by adding tucking fruits and vegetables into the bedding.

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Transplanting Outside

A lot of love indoor plants but would really prefer to be outside with our babies. Winter months don’t make that possible. One option you have is to take your indoor plants and transplant them outside. When transplanting, however, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure it goes smoothly !

crop man with flowers in hands

Transplanting Compatibility

Most potted plants will survive in the ground but not all of them and the conditions have to be right ! Keep the package from your seeds or look them up online to see the best combination of sun, soil and water for them. It also helps to keep it in the pot itself outside for just a few days before putting it in the soil.

Prepare Soil

If you don’t already have a flower bed prepared you’ll want to pick a section and till the soil. It’s good practice to add a little compost to the area too. This will make sure your transplanting allows enough nutrients to reach the plant while it reroots. Then you’ll want to refer back to the seed package again to see how deep you should make the hole !

Take It Out The Pot

You have to do this gently ! Place one hand around the base and one directly on top of the potted soil. You want to be very careful so that it doesn’t fall apart. If it starts to crumble, the roots could get damaged beyond repair. Be sure that you never just pull the plant out. If it’s been in the pot for a long time the roots may be wrapped around the inside wall of the pot. If this happens, do not just pull it ! Use a toothpick or something similar to tease the roots off of the wall.

Transplanting Time

Now you can place the roots in the hole and gentle cover the hole ! Pat the soil down to eliminate any gaps so that your plant stays sturdy. Be sure to water and care for your plant as normal and recycle your pot if you can.


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4 Amazing Indoor Gardening Tips

In the winter months most of us have our outside gardens closed down and begin to focus on indoor gardening ! So this month we’ll be reintroducing our Indoor Gardening Box and we have 4 awesome tips on how to care for your plant babies !

potted green indoor plants
Photo by Huy Phan

Indoor Garden Care

Not every type of indoor plant needs the same type of care so it’s important to always read your seed packet or the information that came along with your plant for specific instructions. You can usually find the info on the back of the packet.

The Right Pot

You’ll want to make sure the pot you choose has drainage holes at the bottom. It shouldn’t be more than a few inches wider in diameter than the plants roots. If it’s a plant that’ll grow pretty big, you can always transplant it later. If you start off in the larger pot, the plants roots won’t be able get absorb enough water.

Plastic pots are super lightweight which makes them ideal for wall and ceiling hangs. Terracotta plans, my personal aesthetic fave, is heavier and more porous, which means it doesn’t hold water as well as plastic.

The Right Light

Different plants require different amounts of light and it’s a matter of life or death for them. With the exception of cacti and other succulents, most indoor plants require indirect light. These plants will do best on a windowsill that’s facing west. For plants that require bright light but not necessarily sun, they do best by south facing windows. Plants that are happiest when it’s shady belong on the eastern perimeter of your home.

The Right Soil

You’ll want to use potting soil for your indoor plants. It’s very different than store-bought soil for outside and natural soil. Potting soil mixes usually include peat moss, shredded pine bark, perlite, and vermiculite. High-quality potting soil helps plant roots grow by providing the perfect balance of nutrition, aeration, and water absorption.

The Right Water

It’s a lot easier to drown your plants than to dry them out. Most only need to be kept moist and not actually wet at all. Succulents are the exception and need soaked every now and then. In general, pour water slowly into soil until it trickles out from the drainage holes. Once a week is fine. Every other week in the winter months. An easy way to check if your plant needs a drink is to stick your finger two inches deep into the soil. If it feels dry, then it’s most likely time to water !

Do you have any tips about indoor gardening ? We’d love to know what they are in the comments ! Next week we’ll talk about transplanting your potted plants. Sign up so that you don’t miss it 🙂

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Gardening and Child Development


Gardening helps younger children with their development and provides them with the skills needed to navigate the world efficiently. Gardening helps the kiddos practice locomotor, management, and object control skills as they haul materials back and forth to put the garden together and to water it.

They also learn balance and hand-eye coordination. Fine motor skills include whole hand grasping and the pincer grasp. You see those skills demonstrated whenever they pick up something like a hoe or a rake.

Photo Cred: Bunny Roberts

Physical Development

One important factor in physical development is sensory stimulation. Younger children need to see, feel, hear, taste and smell as many different things as possible to grow into well rounded adults. Feeling the water cascading across their skin is excellent sensory stimulation ! For many kids too, it’s the highlight of gardening. There’s also the texture of the soil beneath your toes and between your fingers. You can smell the flowers. You can see the explosion of colors. And with much of what’s planted, you can even taste it !

Literacy In Gardening

As you may know, one thing we’re passionate about is literacy. Literacy skills can easily be a part of gardening as well. As you plant and garden together you can teach them the different names we have for each plant and they can help you read the instructions on the back of the seed packets. You could also have them help you draw out a map with a key so you know what is planted where. Alternatively, they can help you make signs to stick by each plant type.

Gardening For The Brain

Gardening can help children with cognitive development too. They glean intellectual skills such as remembering and analyzing information. They also learn to accurately predict outcomes by seeing how the different weather and unforeseen occurrences affect the plants. To boost this skill, as you go through the process, ask your child what they think you’re about to do next.

Bonding With Your Child

Last but not least, actually what’s most important, is the bonding that takes place while gardening. The togetherness with no electronics, just nature, helps to build up your child’s emotional intelligence. You get to use this time, undistracted, to see more about how your child thinks, what why do and don’t like and how capable they are.

2022 Community Gardening

This year we’re looking for another space to open a community garden or for an existing community garden to partner with in Dayton. If you have any leads, we’d appreciate the heads up ! You can email us here.

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