This week’s Tuesday Tip for Picky Eaters: Bring your kids grocery shopping.
Henry loves grocery shopping. When he was smaller, it was a great bonding time as I held him close in the Ergo carrier while walking through the store. Now that he can sit up on his own, he enjoys riding in the cart while I talk with him about the foods we are buying. At the farmers market, he flirts with the staff at each stall.
|Henry has fun riding in the shopping cart.|
Whether you shop at a supermarket, a grocery co-op or a farmers market, including your kids in the shopping experience is an important way to help them learn about choosing delicious and healthy food. When your kids help you shop for groceries, they better understand what goes into the meals that are served at home.
|Our local farmers market.|
I know some parents avoid taking their kids grocery shopping. They fear the potential meltdowns and tantrums, but with a few simple tips you can make grocery shopping with kids a fun family adventure.
- Eat first. Try shopping after mealtime to prevent impulse purchases and overspending. Hunger can influence your attitude making you more likely to favor high fat foods. A recent study found that hunger makes you more likely to reach for starches or proteins than fruits and veggies. In addition, hungry kids are more likely to ask for snack foods and have temper tantrums.
- Make a list. Talk through your weekly meal plan as a family, then write down what ingredients you’ll need from the store. I love these premade lists to help me remember staple grocery items that need restocking. Talking about your grocery list in advance also prepares your kids for the shopping trip. Once you get to the store, your kids can help find the items you need and check things off the list.
- Do most of your shopping on the perimeter. The freshest and healthiest food at a supermarket is most often found on the edges of the store. Typically, the produce, meat, dairy and bakery items are located around the edges, while the prepackaged and processed foods are in the middle. The center aisles are also packed with items that are marketed to kids, like cereal, cookies and sugary snacks.
- Talk about your purchases. It’s nearly impossible to completely avoid the center aisles at the supermarket. For example, one of the grocery stores we frequent places the paper products in the same row as potato chips. When you find your cart heading in that direction talk with your kids about why you are making certain purchases but not others.
- Let your kids help make small grocery decisions. When you are deciding between a green or red bell pepper, let your child pick their favorite color. When you need apples, show how your child how to select quality ones and then encourage them to fill up a bag. When kids see the food they helped choose on their plate, they are more likely to eat it.
How do you include your kids in grocery shopping adventures?