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The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden

Thinking of starting your own garden? I have just the book for you. Designed for the harried mom who craves simplicity and balance in her life, the new book, The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden, by registered dietitian nutritionist Jen Haugen shows readers why gardening together as a family matters so much and how planting connections in the garden sprout into memories that last a lifetime. Haugen shows by example how a family fruit and vegetable garden can not only grow healthy food that nourishes her family, but also how that garden nourishes her soul.

I had the pleasure of doing a Q & A via email with Haugen (pictured below) to learn more about the book, a great summertime addition to your health-minded bookshelf.

EZ: What inspired you to write this book?

JH: My inspiration for writing The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden stemmed from fighting the “not enough” syndrome as a working mother for years. I thought I needed to do more, make a difference and be more. As a supermarket dietitian, I was teaching children lifelong gardening and cooking skills but at the end of the day I was too tired to teach my own children these skills. I knew I needed to re-establish my priorities, which led me to decide to quit my job as a supermarket RD and focus on nourishing my family.

The idea of the book followed my TEDx Talk in 2014 entitled “How Moms Can Change the World.” I focused on two subjects: planting a garden with kids and cooking counter kitchen skills with kids. After that talk, I knew I had to put pen to paper. I truly hope to inspire other moms to take time to nourish their families, too! 


Jen Haugen Down to Earth Dietitian


EZ: What is the most important message that you hope to convey to your readers?

JH: The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden is a story that all moms in a similar situation need to hear. I believe every mom can change the world and it starts right in our own homes. As moms, we can change the world we live in by starting with the simple idea of gardening with our kids as a family. We can create an intentional time where we work together in the garden. Through that, we create memories that will last a lifetime.

EZ: What feedback have you received from your readers thus far?

JH: I’ve had the opportunity to speak with moms–and dads–during my book signings at local gardening stores here in Minnesota. I’ve been “wowed” and excited by their interest so far in planning their own family gardens.

EZ: What do you find rewarding about gardening? What do you find challenging?

JH: I grew up in a family of gardeners–growing fruit and vegetables is in my blood! It was important to me to have my own two children in the garden as soon as they could walk! In the past, introducing a dark green leafy vegetable to my daughter was like asking her to eat a bug. She preferred sweet tasting foods over all things green. One day, however, I made quesadillas and tore up chard to put inside. She grew the chard herself and had weeded the entire area where it grew. I realized the power of a garden at that moment, as she gobbled up the entire quesadilla. And she actually said she liked it! I really believe gardens grow more adventurous eaters. I know that my family’s garden helps to influence what my own children eat; they are certainly good fruit and vegetable eaters. That is what I find rewarding.

As for what I find challenging, it would be the idea of having the perfect garden. The garden you may see in a magazine. But in reality, any garden you plant and care for can be the perfect garden for you and your family.

EZ: What is your favorite thing to grow in your garden?

JH: My absolute favorite fruit/vegetable is tomatoes. I love the way they smell and taste. Plus, they are so versatile in recipes.

My book includes information on how to plant 35 different fruits and vegetables, plus 30 garden-fresh recipes, and creative ideas for sections of the garden, for example, planting a “Taco Tuesday” section that features tomatoes, peppers, and onions.

EZ: As a busy dietitian and mom, what is your daily “must-do” for your own health/wellness?

JH: My daily must-do would be to get up a little earlier than the rest of the family for some “mom-time,” as well as drinking at least 36 ounces of water each day. Another thing I must do is eat a salad every day to amp up my vegetable intake.

EZ: Do you have another book in the works?

JH: I do! My next book will be based on my second talking point from my TEDx talk: Cooking counter kitchen skills with kids. I’ll focus on basic cooking skills for kids, spending quality time in the kitchen with your kids, getting your hands dirty in the kitchen. These are great life skills to teach to your child at a young age. How often do you hear nowadays that your friend’s son or daughter is going off to college and has no idea how to boil water? Perhaps I exaggerate–but what a great skill set to pass on to your child.

To learn more about Haugen and The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden, visit her website.

Image of book in the garden via Eric Johnson at the Austin Daily Herald. 

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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized and award-winning health and nutrition expert, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books. An avid walker, she loves motivating others to #moveitorloseit. A book lover, she recently earned a certificate in children’s literature from Stony Brook Southampton and is currently working on several young adult novels. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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