If Michelle and Barack Obama are anything like most gardeners, they may use the downtime of the winter months to plan this year’s garden. In the spirit of non-partisanship — and to help them manage their obviously valuable time — we want to take this opportunity to offer a few planting tips.

Now in our fifth year of sponsoring the Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen initiative, which is supported by The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. and its member Leagues, we have put a lot of thought into what makes healthy food that kids actually like.

So here are a few ideas:

More than 200 individual Junior Leagues sponsor Kids in the Kitchen events, including:

Junior League of San Diego – Saturday, March 13, 2010

The League is expecting 1,500 people at their 5th annual event, featuring chef demonstrations and activity booths with topics relative to children’s health, nutrition or physical fitness. Activities will be fun and interactive, including hands-on cooking demos from local chefs, an obstacle course that teaches children about nutrition, fitness stations, demonstrations and learning booths that cover topics such as how to read a nutrition label, the importance of drinking water, and how to make healthy snack choices.

Junior League of Minneapolis – Saturday, March 13, 2010

“Zoom! to Good Health” will be at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. The event will open with a skit by actors delivering a message of the importance of good nutrition. Children and their families will then make their way through two additional exhibit areas that will cover the topics of exercise and healthy eating. Minimum of 250 attendees expected.

Junior League of Cincinnati – Saturday, April 10, 2010

The event will be held on at the University of Cincinnati Campus Recreation Center. Kids will participate in the preparation or demonstration of healthy snacks and meals that are tasty, easy to make and affordable. The event will also include fitness demonstrations and activities, learning exercises for kids, tips on nutrition, recipes for meals and snacks and information on the childhood obesity problem. 300-500 attendees are expected.

Junior League of Colorado Springs – Saturday, April 10, 2010 (Tentative date)

Similar to their most recent large-scale event last fall, the League is planning on welcoming up to 500 kids and their families. There will be 40-50 activity providers offering all sorts of nutrition and health related games and information for attendees.

Junior League of Plano – Saturday, April 24, 2010

The League will again host their annual event with Children’s Medical Center. Participants include various national and local organizations that focus on physical activity and healthy eating to engage our kids in the community, including Alliance for a Healthier Generation, American Heart Association, Market Street, and Marathon Kids. 300-500 attendees expected.