I have learned a lot as a family about the importance of cooking with fresh ingredients and eating less processed foods since Adrian's diagnosis with life-threatening food allergies. I have always preferred to eat all-natural or organic products, but have been forced to cook differently in the past four years in order to accommodate Adrian's diet. While not everyone eats with the same restrictions, in many ways we have all benefited from Adrian's diet. Most notably we all eat more foods in their natural form and have learned about healthy alternatives to incorporate different food items with unique nutritional value.
Part of our food journey has focused on allowing the boys to see food as exciting instead of limiting. It is easy to see all the things Adrian cannot eat and it remains incredibly important to me that Adrian not become afraid of food. One of the easiest ways to approach this has been to involve the boys in food preparation from a very young age. We have regular family cooking nights the weekend and each day we menu plan together. Now that the boys are getting older we made the decision to participate in a farm CSA close to our home as yet another way to learn about the food we eat and to become better educated on the inner-workings of farm life.
Our plan is to take advantage of our time on the farm each week to learn about one new aspect of farm life. On our first pick up of the season we spent time exploring the farm, familiarizing ourselves with the various areas including growing fields, livestock, even the learning center. I asked the boys to make a list of the things they saw and once we were back home they made a list of the items they wanted to learn more about during future pick up visits. The boys are also keeping a log of the foods we take home with us each week and help with brainstorming recipes and have to pick one new food item each week to try. This week everyone decided to try the radishes and the consensus was to describe them as "spicy".
Given the different ages and learning levels of the boys I have scaffolded the different activities to make our visits accessible for everyone. For the first visit this included the following:
The activities are not designed to be lengthy or cumbersome, but a natural learning opportunity based on the experience at the farm. This week everyone was most interested in the chicken coop and the majority of our conversation, both during and after, centered around furthering our understanding of raising chickens. This focus allowed us to circle back to Adrian's food allergies given that eggs is one of the foods he cannot eat.
As our summer adventures continue it is clear the weekly farm visits are going to be a favorite. The boys have already begun planning the next agenda of places they want to investigate on the farm. And, while all three boys have always been great eaters, their interest in trying new ingredients has already been invigorated and they are asking more question about the flavors in their food.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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