Ali Fedotowsky Manno on gardening with her kids, favorite foods

<em>Bachelor </em>alum Ali Fedotowsky Manno started gardening with her kids during the pandemic. “It makes them so much more curious about food,” she shares.  (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU0MA–/″ data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU0MA–/″/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Bachelor alum Ali Fedotowsky Manno started gardening with her kids during the pandemic. “It makes them so much more curious about food,” she shares. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what’s on their menu in Deglazeda series about food.

While Ali Fedotowsky Manno may be most widely recognized for her time spent on season six of The Bachelorette and as a contestant on season fourteen of The Bachelorthis mom of two has built quite the career outside of Bachelor Nation.

Manno, who married radio and TV host Kevin Manno in 2017, has worked as an on-air news correspondent and television host in addition to her success as a blogger and influencer. But the 37 year old shares that some of her most joyful moments come from growing food with her family.

“For me, food all starts with my garden,” she tells Yahoo Life. “I love gardening — it brings me so much joy.”

Manno shares that her garden, which she started during the coronavirus pandemic, isn’t just a hobby: It also provides a way to teach her children, Molly, 5, and Riley, 4, about sustainability and a healthy relationship with food.

“It teaches my kids where food comes from,” she says. “When you waste those strawberries on your plate, you know how hard it was for someone to grow them. I think it not only teaches them about food waste … but encourages them to explore food.”

While she admits her son is a sugar fanatic who’s not too keen on vegetables, she says even he loves heading out to the garden for a quick snack on a nearby spinach leaf or a bright red cherry tomato. “It makes them so much more curious about food,” she says.

Outside of her garden, the entertainment journalist says in the summertime, she loves dining al fresco and munching on ears of sweet corn. “The kids are outside in the sun all day playing, swimming — and throughout the summer, we always have corn on the cob,” she shares. “I have so many videos of my kids just sinking their teeth into it and getting messy and dirty — we always do it outside.”

Although Manno loves time spent in the sun, she says a skin cancer scare ignited her passion for better protecting her skin while enjoying outdoor activities. “I was diagnosed with a super-treatable form of skin cancer a few years ago — super common — millions of people have it,” she says. “Thankfully it’s one of the ones where they remove it and once it’s gone. I was good.”

“But because of that,” she explains, “and me spending so much time [outside]it really invoked in me a real passion for sun protection — not only big hats and seeking shade, but for sunscreen.”

Ali Manno says she was diagnosed with a treatable form of skin cancer several years ago. The experience heightened her awareness of the importance of using sunscreen. (Photo: Banana Boat)

Manno spoke with Yahoo Life on behalf of her latest project, working with Banana Boat on their latest “Sundays are Fundays” campaign to get families excited about spending time together this summer, and ensuring that they protect their skin while they do it.

“We’re going to be helping parents get out there and do fun things with their kids,” she says, “encouraging them to have Sunday Fundays by sharing DIY games you can play and DIY beach ideas on Instagram and Pinterest throughout the summer. “

Manno says she’s obsessed with the new Banana Boat roll-on sunblock, which makes it easier to apply protection, especially to the face, while taking a break from playing at the beach, gardening or dining outside. Also in her bag this summer? Snacks.

“We are big proponents of freeze-dried fruits because it’s a really easy way to have it with you all day, it’s really light and it doesn’t go bad,” she says, “Also, my kids love bars. Nuts are something I have a lot, and my family and I are vegetarian so a lot of our stuff is plant-based.”

The busy mom also recently launched a liquid hydration brand, 1to3 Life. “You add it to water,” she says. “It’s a clean hydration pack so it’s a lot less sugar and sodium [than others on the market],

Manno says there’s one food she eats daily. “Pasta,” she admits. “I eat pasta every single day. If a day goes by and I don’t have pasta, I have a stomach ache. I don’t feel good. I feel physically ill.”

Whether it’s with sauce or vegan butter, there’s always parmesan cheese. And, Manno says her top pasta shape is a very thin angel hair pasta — she can tell the difference in thickness.

Still, while pasta is a huge favorite, gardening will always be her number one, and she has advice on which plant first-time gardeners should pick up this summer.

“I say strawberries,” she says. “And get strawberry bulbs — you can order them online and they come dehydrated in the mail. You soak the roots and put them in your garden. They’re super easy to grow — you plant them and they’ll just do their thing. “

Above all else, Manno says giving gardening a try can do wonders for your mental health. “I love doing it,” she says. “I love seeing things grow and I love tending to it every day. I always tell people, if you’re going through a rough time in your life, you have to start a garden — it’s going to bring you so much peace and it’s so much fun.”

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