Like true California residents, each year we anxiously await the arrival of strawberry season! Around February and March, the farms harvest the first fruit of the season, and local sellers come out in droves all over town. Let me be clear: These are not typical grocery store berries (shriveled, with little yellowy-white bottoms). They are the freshest, plumpest, sweetest strawberries you'll ever taste! When the kids see the big sign that says "Strawberries -- picked today" or the truck on the side of the road with flats of strawberries stacked high, they yell, "Moooooommy! It's the strawberry man! Can we please, please, please buy some strawberries?" Although we can't buy them every day, I'd much rather hear my kids begging for strawberries than French fries, shakes or other items found in a drive-thru.
Along with strawberries, we try to incorporate fresh produce in our everyday diets, no matter the season. In springtime we also love asparagus and cherries. In the summer, it's fresh tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini and squash. In the fall we eat pumpkin and apples galore! In the winter, oranges make it into my kids' stockings, and onto their plates just about every day before and after Christmas. Whatever the season, there's always a healthy yet tasty alternative to junk food.
Another healthy yet tasty tradition we have every year is planting our own garden. Every spring, we plant a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on the side of our house. We grow all kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cabbage, celery, peppers, cucumber, broccoli, green beans and strawberries. We make sure that the entire family pitches in each and every step of the way. When everyone participates in getting the soil ready, shopping for the plants, planting, watering, weeding and watching, it's all the more exciting to see the fruits of our labors! Seeing the first flower on the zucchini plant or the first red tomato is so exciting! We love harvesting our crops and then, of course, eating them! My daughter Anna loves tomatoes so much that she'll eat them like apples!
When we focus on having all the best produce of the season in our house, it makes eating fruits and vegetables less of a chore, and instead something we really enjoy. One more step on the road to managing type 1 diabetes and keeping the entire family healthy!
About the author: My name is Kim. My daughter Kaitlyn (the third of our five children) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few years after my nephew James was diagnosed with the same disease. I'm excited to pair up with my sister-in-law, Jen, to share our story with you!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.