Like many other people, Carrie Underwood spent the majority of COVID quarantine in her garden. She started the plot in 2019, but used the extra time at home to get in deep — and since then, it's turned out to be an unexpectedly great parenting tool, namely for teaching her kids about healthy eating.
"We have lots of discussions on why we should or shouldn't eat certain things or drink certain things with our kids," Underwood tells POPSUGAR.
"[T]hey feel more invested and excited about eating things that are good for them if they had a role to play."
But many of us who grew up in the era of toxic diet culture and almond moms know that practicing a healthy relationship with food and bestowing that upon your kids is easier said than done. Teaching kids what's "healthy" without demonizing certain foods or implying guilt can be tricky, and Underwood knows that tightrope all too well from parenting her two sons, Isaiah, 8, and Jacob, 4.
"They just know what they like and what they want," she says. "You want to word things carefully; you don't want to end up giving your kids a complex or anything like that." When she's talking to her kids about food, she tries to keep the focus on the "inner workings of your body," for example: "'This is not good for your brain,' or 'this won't help you grow,' or explaining that things have lots of vitamins," she says.
Luckily, that garden makes it even easier to get them excited about healthy foods like fruit and veggies. Underwood tries to encourage them to help out in the garden and allows them to have a say in what gets planted.
"It definitely gets them excited when they see that they helped create that thing," she says. "[I'll be] like, 'These are the carrots that you helped me plant!' and then they have to have those, and will it make a big deal. I call them 'Gardener Isaiah' and 'Chef Jake' and let them help me with that kind of stuff, and then they feel more invested and excited about eating things that are good for them if they had a role to play."
It's all about figuring out what works for your family and running with that. "Finding healthy things your whole family enjoys is difficult. But when you find them it's important to keep them around," she says.
That's one reason Underwood enjoys having Bodyarmor sports drinks around the house, a brand for which she's an ambassador. "You read so much about artificial dyes and things like that that can really affect your brain, and especially a developing child's brain, so I love to have something easy that they like in our fridge that's good for them."
Eating healthy is just one habit Underwood hopes rubs off on her kids. She's also a longtime fitness devotee, even launching her own fitness app, Fit52. "I feel like one of our biggest objectives as parents is to be a good example for our children. I want them to take care of themselves, and I feel like I can't really do that if I'm not really taking care of myself," Underwood says.
The "Before He Cheats" singer just wrapped up her "Denim & Rhinestones" Tour, and after a while on the road, she'll hopefully be able to get back into her garden, just in time for spring — which is good news for her family's meals this summer: "It definitely is true that your own garden fruits and veggies just taste so much better than anything you could ever buy in the store."