As I mentioned last week, my 2-year-old daughter, Danica, has a monstrous sweet tooth and getting her to eat healthy foods is a challenge I face daily. Fruit is one of the few foods on which she is willing to compromise.
Living in the country has its perks and we are lucky enough to not only live close to a couple of markets where we can buy fresh, locally grown produce, but also a handful of farms. Summer is my favorite season for many reasons, but topping the list is the berry picking these farms offer from May to July.
It has become a family tradition during the summer to spend a little time on weekends picking our own blueberries and strawberries. I love this for several reasons. First, it gives Danica a sneak peek into where her food comes from. She is given a bucket of her very own to fill with the berries she picks. This is a big change from picking up a plastic carton of berries from the grocery store. Second, she is more invested in eating the fruits of her labor (pun intended). Since she has spent all that time handpicking them, she intends on eating them. Finally, all the berries are fresh, organic and pesticide free. Since strawberries are notorious for containing high levels of pesticides when grown conventionally, I consider this a big plus. Not to mention, we save money by picking them ourselves and we’re supporting our local farmers.
Finding a way to use all these berries before they go bad is always a challenge, albeit a delicious one. Since Summer months in the South are scorching hot, a berry smoothie is a family favorite. I especially love this because it’s a great way to sneak a little milk into Danica’s diet without the need for chocolate syrup.
I also incorporate them into breakfast each morning. Strawberries and blueberries are even more tasty when mixed with yogurt, another of Danica’s favorite foods, or to top a bowl of cheerios.
Little by little, we are finding ways to encourage healthy eating habits in our sweets enthusiast.