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5 Ideas for (re-)connecting kids with food – even in the city

Disclaimer first: I do not have a fuzzy eater at home and I know that we are extremely blessed with our setup. The little one usually exceeds her ‘daily recommended dose of vitamins and greens just by running around the garden and foraging. However, the following 5 tips are something I would definitely take back with me to a city life!

I am deeply convinced that little ‘hacks’ like these help children to reconnect with and get curious about their food. What I am referring to is not ‘cutting funny shapes’ or decorating the food to trick them into eating it. (nothing wrong with that, just a very different story). This is about triggering something that is inside them already: the interest in how food grows, how they can literally create their own food and to be more resilient.

Kids naturally love to explore, observe, compare. So let’s take advantage of their curiosity.

1. Mushroom Box

This one is so easy to set up and benefit from. So much that I wonder why not everyone has one in their kitchen.

Beautiful pink oyster mushrooms

You simply order a box of mushroom mycelium of your choice (our daughter loves pink oysters), cut it open, spray with water when necessary and tada, have gourmet mushrooms!

There surely is a provider in every country, the two that I am familiar with and can absolutely recommend are the mushroom kits from GroCycle ( and Pilzmännchen (

Once you fall in love you can also start experimenting with innoculating your own spawn, trying trickier varieties etc. But that is really just in case this turns into a hobby. To get children excited, a ready prepared kit it sufficient and MAGICAL.

Of course, it is not a guarantee that your kid will start right away eating mushrooms. I promise though it gets them interested and familiar! That is the first and most important step. And if there tastebuds still need some time to get used to mushroom flavour: buy some high quality mushroom powder and mix a bit in your childs favourite dishes. Start with something less intense than truffle 😉 A little goes a long way!

Lemon Oyster

Mushroom kit cut & growing

more varieties to try

2. Sprouts and microgreens

Again, a super easy project for kids. The wonder of seeds sprouting is something that always amazes me – and all kids that I know. It gives you a sense of ‘awaking’ something to life and of producing your own food. But without having to tend for a veggie garden.

Just as with the mushrooms: it is about kindling interest and fascination! Do not force your child into eating sprouts or microgreens all of a sudden. You go first!


So what seeds should you start with and what is the easiest setup? I suggest starting with (organic) lentils, sunflower seeds or black eyed peas. Brassicas and mustards can be a bit too spicy for youngsters.

  1. Simply fill a few seeds into a jar or waterglass

  2. add water

  3. cover the glass with piece of cloth (and fix with a rubber band)

  4. rinse the seeds a bit and pur out any access water

  5. repeat the rinsing daily and make sure that no excess water gets left standing in the glass.

Nick from Milkwood Permaculture has a beautiful short video on this: HOW TO: Grow Sprouts and Microgreens, right on your Kitchen Bench – Milkwood

Add the sprouts to salads, or as a topping, snack them, or upgrade your smoothie.


Microgreens means taking it one step further. Instead of harvesting the sprouts, you wait until the first two leaves have developed. This means that having seeds up side down and tumbling in a jar is no longer an option. Instead:

  1. find a small tray and some potting soil

  2. spread the soil evenly (thumb thick)

  3. distribute your seeds (they can be super dense but should not overlap)

  4. water gently (gently, really, otherwise the seeds will start floating and clump together)

  5. spray daily with fresh water

  6. observe, have fun, and start harvesting once the leaf growth starts

There you have it, tiny but nutrient packed greens! You can use them just like the sprouts. Typically seeds for microgreens include all brassicas (I love the red-cabbage ones because the purple seedlings are just gorgeous), salads, amaranth or mustards.

I bet that one day or another, your child will start nibbling!

3. Unusally coloured veggies

For this one you literally only have to be picky about your groceries. (of course you could also cultivate yourself but purchasing does the trick).

So instead of presenting your child with orange carrots or yellow potatoes again, try a different variety. And I mean heritage, not GMO-induced colours. Just old colourful varieties that we forgot about:

  1. pink, purple, spotted potatoes

  2. purple sugarsnaps

  3. black, yellow, white or green tomatoe

  4. purple or white carrots.

If you can not find them locally: pretty please do ask for it when doing the groceries. You vote with your money and it is only by consumer demand that those heritage fun varieties are protected and sold.

Oh, and by the way: it is these natural outliers (and others) that we love so much and hence our name 😉

My love for varieties – even back as a city girl, strolling through Vietnam

4. Rainbow-salt

Honestly, this one is more a craft profect with kids than anything else. But it introduces them again to some edibles that are maybe not so obvious. Edible Flowers for example.

The process again is very easy. It just takes a bit more preparation and repeating the steps. Maybe it makes sense for you to do one colour at a time (each week or month another one for example).

And it does not have to be all rainbow colours either – whatever you have at hand or your childs’ preferred colours!

Let’s get going, you need:

  1. a mortar & pestle or a grinder

  2. fine sea salt

  3. edible flowers or beetroot powder (or juice) or spinach or if you want to cheat: food colouring 😉

and then:

  1. mix a bit of salt (we take maximum 3 table spoons at a time) with one of the colourful ingredients

  2. grind well so that the salt gets coloured

  3. if you used juice or liquid food colouring: let dry

  4. fill in an empty jar and close well

  5. repeat with a different colour and create multiple layers

  6. last but not least, let you child season the food with it. check in for each colour whether they could taste the difference 😉

It also makes for a nice present by the way and gives you sort of a ‘homestead feeling’ even in the city.

Some flowers that work really well (and all herbs obviously too, but will ‘only’ yield green): calendula, roses, hollyhooks, wild malva, viola, pansy and dandelion.

5. Farm visit

Whether you are in the city or not: you can always find a farm relatively nearby that offers tours for families. Making use of agrotourism option is another great way to get your child closer to and more familiar with food production. Obviously the way that food-production is presented on those farms is not what is practiced in industrial food production settigns. It is a bit idealised but yet real. And personally I believe it is better to get our children excited about food production in a way that is working with nature than either not teaching them anything about it or getting them depressed by talking about industrialised food.

So yes, number 5 on this list is a lazy one and probably more a one-off. Still I find it worth mentioning because I am constantly amazed by the interest and excitement literally ALL of the kids show when they are running around our farmstead, finding their own eggs, foraging their berries, searching the soil for potatoes etc.

Little Miss Sunshine strolling the fields and harvesting peas

Give it a try! At the very least you have supported a local farmer 😉

There’s more…

Of course, there’s more. But the projects above are the easiest ones on my mind. Let me know in the comments or on social media if you would like to hear about making sourdough from scratch, fermentation with kids, joghurt making etc. And of course leave a comment too, with other great suggestions or any feedback you have!


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