Supporting a Growth Mindset for Healthy Eating

Katie Hodgin, Family Engagement National Advisor, Healthier Generation Daniel W. Hatcher, Director of Community Partnerships, Healthier Generation

When children participate in Big Green’s Learning Gardens Program, they are more likely to try new things, including vegetables. Bite-sized changes can help all of us develop healthier habits, but the journey isn’t always easy. As an educator, your positivity, persistence and creativity are powerful motivators to help children and families keep making steps toward healthy eating.

Below are 3 activities to support a growth mindset for healthy eating.

  • Integrate Home-Grown Items into Meals Gradually

A complete recipe or meal from the garden can be intimidating. Start small by adding grated vegetables into recipes, like zucchini into lasagna or peas into pasta. Garden veggies like onions and cucumbers are great add-ons to sandwiches and a handful of hand-picked greens is a great boost to smoothies. 

  • Explore Nature-Themed Books

Not all children enjoy getting their hands dirty in the garden. Reading about plants together is a simple way to encourage outdoor exploration and foster curiosity. Try this list of nature and gardening books.

  • Share Your Healthy Eating Goals

From bulletin boards to vision boards, writing and sharing intentions empowers children to set realistic goals for healthy eating. When we share our goals with each other, we create a community of supporters and allies. An inexpensive pack of paper cut outs and a question prompt like “What new fruit or veggie will you try this week?” is all you need to get started.

  • BONUS: Cultivate Self-Care

Healthy, happy students need healthy, happy educators! Treating yourself to a veggie-packed juice or stepping away from digital devices for a walk in the garden reframes healthy eating as self-care, part of our Healthy Day Checklist. So the next time you’re feeling a setback, head outside and STAR (smile, take 5-10 long deep breaths and relax) while being inspired by the sounds and smells of nature.

For even more resources and ideas, visit Healthier Generation’s family engagement hub created in partnership with Kohl’s for our new Eating Healthy at Home campaign.