Protein-Rich Foods (and Recipes) for Vegetarian Children

Protein Options for Vegetarian Children |

Recently my nine-year-old has mentioned a desire to eat less meat. We are not a vegetarian family, but Sofie has several vegetarian friends and a soft spot for animals. As much as she loves the taste of most meats, I think she’s grappling with the realization that animals are being killed for her food. I’m all for supporting this change. A semi-vegetarian lifestyle is healthier and eco-friendly (learn why). My role now is to determine good sources of protein to replace the meat in Sofie’s meals. As the main building blocks of the body, proteins are necessary for building and maintaining our muscles, tissues and organs; fueling our brains; and aiding in specialized functions. A “complete” protein includes all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own. Vegetarians often get all those amino acids through eating a varied diet. After some research, and knowing my daughter’s … Continue reading

8 Green Tasks Your Toddler Can Do

Green Tasks for Toddlers |

Getting kids on the road to a low-waste lifestyle can begin at birth since little ones observe and mimic what we do. Here are eight simple ways to get them involved early on. Recycle household items. Easy peasy. Hand your toddler a washed-out yogurt container, and see if he can drop it into the blue bin. Let him pick up yesterday’s newspaper and toss it into the green bin. Kids learn color differentiation as well as what items are recyclable. Learn more tips on making recycling fun for kids. Hand you wet clothes from the laundry basket as you hang them on the clothesline. There are both eco and cost benefits to air drying your laundry. Throw dryer balls into your dryer. (aff link) Wool dryer balls are a chemical-free, cost-efficient alternative to dryer sheets and fabric softeners (they’re especially great for drying cloth diapers). They also reduce static and … Continue reading

Tips and Ideas for Gardening with Kids

Gardening with Kids | Eco-Mothering

Gardens of every kind are a delight to behold. As a sustainable source of healthy food and outdoor exercise, gardening is an ideal activity. But how do you get your children involved and make it fun for them? For inspiration, check out the posts below. Planting and Activities Gardening with Toddlers from Montana Homesteader  Egg Carton Gardening with Toddlers from Healthy Roots Happy Soul 4 Simple Tips for Teaching Children to Garden from Eco-Mothering 10 Unique Gardening Activities for Kids from Code Name: Mama 5 Growing-Themed Activities for Children from Diary of a First Child Make Stickers from Flowers from Real Food RN Creating a Children’s Garden from Five Little Homesteaders Kids Craft Window Garden from We Know Stuff How to Plant a “Miss Rumphius” Garden from Red and Honey Critters and Fairies Adventures with Earthworms from Mama Rosemary How to Plant a Bee-Friendly Garden with Kids from Natural Living Mamma Creating … Continue reading

6 Tips for Getting Kids to Recycle

Recycling is one of the most cited aspects of environmental action. It’s also one in which the whole family can participate. To see how you can make recycling fun for your kids, whether they’re toddlers or teenagers, check out these tips. 1. Start Early We’ve recycled in my household for years, so it was only natural that my daughter, Sofie, was exposed to the concept early on. With early exposure, recycling becomes as habitual as putting garbage in the trash can. Set up recycle bins in an area where your child sees you using them. Introduce the language early, and make a habit of regularly pointing out what you’re doing: “This plastic bottle gets recycled in the blue bin. The newspaper goes in the green bin.” Before you know it, your child will be coming to you with an item and asking whether it goes in the green or blue bin. … Continue reading

Top 5 Ways Kids Can Conserve Water

Water Conservation Tips for Kids |

March 22 is World Water Day, an awareness campaign focused on protecting the world’s fresh water supply. Parents and teachers can use this day to educate kids about the need for water conservation. It’s easy for kids to get involved—below are five actions they can take around the home. You can also extend the fun and learning with these online games on conserving water. Take showers instead of baths. A bathtub uses up to 70 gallons of water! Empty the old water from water bottles into the houseplants. Turn off the water while brushing teeth and while soaping up during handwashing. Wash the dog outside on an area of the lawn that needs watering. Be a leak detective! Check faucets, showerheads and hoses regularly for leaks. (One drip per second adds up to five gallons of lost water per day.) You can check the toilet for leaks by adding some food … Continue reading

Sofie’s Top 5 Eco Things Kids Can Do

Today’s Top 5 list is from the mouth of my six-year-old. I asked Sofie what things she does that are eco-friendly that other kids could do, too. Here’s what she had to say. Play Outside It’s good to be in nature, and you can explore lots of things. Me and my friend collect leaves, learn about flowers, spy on butterflies and bugs. We even ate some wild onions growing in her backyard. And it’s easier to run around and go crazy when you’re outside. Build Stuff from Trash I always find things to make from stuff my mom wants to recycle. Like toilet paper rolls are clothing hampers for my dolls. And tissue boxes make great beds. Old boxes and cardboard are great for making games, forts, boats, the Taj Mahal. I just made a board game with playing pieces and a spinner too. And I use lots of tape. … Continue reading

What We Learned from a Tour of Our Local Food Bank

Lately, Sofie’s been asking about the homeless guy she sees at a particular intersection we pass. She wants to give him food. This led to discussions about food pantries where people can go to get food. And then we asked our friend Erica, who works at our local food bank, to give us a tour. The RI Community Food Bank is a distribution warehouse that solicits, stores and provides surplus food to 178 member agencies at 238 sites across the state. (Find your nearest RI Food Bank agency here.) They have some pretty cool programs like Neighborhood Pantry Express, a mobile food pantry that provides fresh produce to low-income people, and Community Kitchen, a 14-week culinary job-training program for jobless adults that also provides healthy dinners to hungry kids. The warehouse alone occupies 35,000 square feet and can hold two million pounds of food at one time! Here’s a peek … Continue reading

What Kids Can Learn at the Farmers Market

What Kids Can Learn from the Farmers Market |

With June comes farmers market season in Rhode Island. The last few years, we’ve grown some of our own vegetables, but nothing beats the local farmers market for additional produce and atmosphere. Farmers markets are made for families. Here are a few things kids can learn from being there. Food Comes From the Earth You’d never know it from the cold, sterile environment of a supermarket where tomatoes are packaged in plastic and carrots come dirt-free. At the farmers market, we see veggies with their leaves and roots hanging out. They’re fresh and earthy—rather like kids themselves. Here, little ones discover that tomatoes come in many colors, that there is such a thing as purple cauliflower, that local peaches are smaller (and sweeter) than the commercially grown variety. With no layers between you and the food, you can smell or taste something right there. And famers love to offer samples, … Continue reading