Healthy Meals in a Snap

What if, instead of getting in the car and going to the market, you could just step outside your back door and pick your dinner? Anyone can plant a vegetable garden – and I mean anyone.

You don’t have to live in the country or even the suburbs. Vegetable gardens don’t have to big or time-consuming. You can train vines like cucumber or melon to grow up a trellis. You can grow a small tomato plant in a container on your back porch. If space is really limited, you can even plant herbs in a single clay pot on your windowsill.

Growing a vegetable garden can be fun and educational too. One of the best ways to raise healthy kids is to introduce them to growing their own veggies. Children love to be involved in selecting and preparing meals, if you let them. When our garden is in full bloom, we often start dinner with a trip to the backyard. We let our grandkids choose what they want to eat and then pick it themselves. Once it’s prepared, they can’t wait to try it!

Most kids today have no idea where food comes from beyond the grocery store, and that’s sad. Growing a garden can provide so many teaching moments. It gives them something to be responsible for, and I don’t know a child anywhere that isn’t amazed when they see that first green “thing” break through the soil! It’s really magic.

Growing a garden is easy – you almost can’t go wrong. Onions, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, carrots, garlic, beans, peas, herbs – most vegetables are pretty hardy plants. As long as you water them each day, pick off any dead leaves or wild shoots, and make sure they get direct sun, most will grow well. You don’t have to start from seeds, either. If you want “instant” results, you can buy small vegetable plants at your local store for just a couple of dollars and they will be producing just a few weeks after you plant them.

And your garden doesn’t have to be limited to vegetables, either. We devote a good portion of our garden to herbs. If you’ve never had fresh herbs added to your food, you’re missing something special! Dried herbs from a bottle just don’t compare.

If you’re interested in planting your own garden, I suggest that you start small and minimize the maintenance as much as possible. Use automated drip watering systems if you can, and you might want to try a garden in a container first, even if you have the space for something larger. Half wine barrels can be purchased at most garden stores and they make a great starter gardens.

A great book on vegetable gardening is Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. This book has been around since the 1970s (in fact, it’s one of the first books I read on the subject way back when!). Some of the pictures are pretty outdated (it’s funny to see people in bell bottoms and 70s hair!), but the information is as useful today as it was when the book was originally published. There’s also a Square Foot Gardening website.

Try vegetable gardening. It’s a great way to create healthy meals in a snap!


Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?

For more healthy ideas, check out our FREE eBook, “Do You Wish Your Kid’s Ate Better?” Many of the strategies in this book can be used by both children and adults.
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