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1992 - Dedication of Santa Clarita's first Metrolink station (Santa Clarita Station) [brochure]


The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Mar 23, 2013

JenniferFischerWe are plowing through the ABCs of the Santa Clarita Valley: Animals, Bicycle Trails, Central Park, Drums, Education, Family Dinner, Golf, Hiking, Imagination, and J for Jammin’ last week. Now it is time for K – Kids in the Kitchen.

Even though my boys are young (3 and 1.5 years), we have lots of fun cooking together, mostly with my older son, Sky. He loves helping me bake cookies and other items, especially things like muffins and French toast. He also enjoys helping me unload groceries and has learned a lot about fruits and vegetables in the process; engaging kids in the kitchen also helps them explore more foods and become less picky eaters.

I am benefiting from this the most with my littlest, who has been engaged with different foods more regularly since his birth. The other day, he even ate some kale, and some creativity in the kitchen had Sky enjoying collard greens, which were baked into a cornbread.

Hands-on experiences with foods really make a difference in helping children become more adventurous with what they eat. Planting the seeds for healthy eating habits – even if they do not always try new fruits and vegetables at the time -, learning about them and knowing they exist will pay off in the future.

Sky unpacks a produce box.

Sky unpacks a produce box.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, visiting either the Old Town Newhall Farmer’s Market on Thursdays from 4 p.m.to 8 p.m. or the Ventura County Farmer’s Market on Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the College of the Canyons parking lot, offers opportunities for children to explore all types of fruits and vegetables – and often taste samples, as well. Plus, they can interact directly with farmers and learn more about what farmers do.

A fun activity is to create a simple Farmer’s Market Scavenger Hunt. Make a list of fruits and vegetables and cut out corresponding pictures from the weekly grocery store ads that come in the mail or from simple images you print out online. Or older kids can draw the fruits and vegetables themselves. Once you get to the market, the hunt begins. If a certain produce items is missing, it is probably because it is not in season – another lesson for children in learning about food.

Our family takes advantage of Abundant Harvest Organics, which connects us to local farmers and provides us with affordable organic produce. Sky loves it when we pick up our box of vegetables and unpack it. I love it because it helps me include a variety of fruits and vegetables in our diet – and I have discovered that I really love vegetables that I never really bought before, like leeks and turnips – while allowing us to support local farmers who farm in sustainable ways.

Benjamin tries quinoa.

Benjamin tries quinoa.

Farm Fresh To You is another service that provides organic produce straight from the farm and delivers it right to your home or office. Abundant Harvest has a range of delivery sites and times in the Santa Clarita Valley that can be found online at abundantharvestorganics.com.

The bonus, with Spring upon us and bathing suit season just around the corner, is that eating more vegetables and fruits is not only healthier for the kids; it’s healthier for us parents, too, and is a simple way to cut calories. Eat more of the good stuff and less of the bad – and set a healthy example for the kids. I find much inspiration in my kitchen from my produce box, and I enjoy sharing that inspiration in the kitchen with the kids.

Thanks for reading. Pop over to The Good Long Road on Facebook and share a favorite recipe or see what we have been cooking. On Mondays, I share a weekly meal plan.

Eat well. Be happy.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

 

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