Nature-Based Ways to Nurture Healthy Habits
This post is part of our Wellness & Nature series, featuring simple and inexpensive ideas to support physical and social-emotional health through nature-based activities.
In this post, I share simple nature-based enrichment activities to help you celebrate National Nutrition Month and reflect on the indoor garden I planted at the start of this year.
Indoor Garden Check-In
This month, my garden is teaching me a lesson in patience. The Mid-Atlantic region where I live has been dark, cold, and snowy and my herbs and flowers have been growing much slower than usual. I’ve even tried moving them around to get as much sun as possible. If you’re like me and your harvest hasn’t been what you hoped for, you can still add more plant-based foods to your diet by trying the 1-week Commit to Health Plant-Based Breakfast Challenge. I started the challenge with simple but tasty whole grain oatmeal.
Enrichment, While You Wait
While you patiently watch your seedlings grow, a quick activity with a STEM education twist is to re-grow vegetables. It is possible to grow a lot of different veggies from kitchen scraps, from scallions to carrot greens and ginger, but one of the easiest is celery and it doesn’t take very long (see page 11). Do-it-yourself “ants on a log” are an inexpensive crowd-pleaser and a travel-friendly plant-based snack!
As you add more variety of vegetables to your diet this month, encourage children to do the same with a taste test. If you are planning a school or community garden for the spring, a student taste test can help inspire what you plant. As you discuss gardening, consider exploring these tips from our friends at NCHPAD to ensure the garden is as accessible as possible.
The new Healthier Generation Social Supports Roadmap has even more resources to help you create an inclusive culture that supports wellness and features one of my favorite resources, PLUM LANDING. One of the activities, Waggle Dance, is a fun way to add cooperative physical activity to your day while introducing the concepts of ecosystems and bee behavior. If your flowers haven’t started to bloom, create your own with colorful foam and ribbon to play the family-friendly game.
Speaking of creating an inclusive environment, National Nutrition Month is a great time to host a vegetable potluck party. Gather your friends, old and new, to connect over a healthy meal or snack – bonus points if you share herbs from your indoor garden. Don’t forget infused water as a healthy hydration choice.