For my very first Mother's Day I asked my husband for one simple gift: To go to the grocery store by myself, and without my cute, but demanding, 3-month-old baby boy. Most mothers can relate to the simple treasure of a kid free shopping experiences. As my kids have gotten older (4 and 8 years old) I have found that going to the grocery store with them is more doable.
I try to be patient and use our time spent together at the grocery store as learning experience. As a Registered Dietitian it is part of the gig for me to teach my kids about the importance of choosing healthy foods most often but I've also found these store visits can be used to teach them so much more.
Below are 5 of my favorite tips for grocery shopping with kids.
- Giving children choices will significantly increase the likelihood that they will try a food that they have picked out. I usually ask my kids to pick out a few fruits and a few vegetables that they will be willing to eat during the week. The fruits and vegetables can be fresh, canned, or frozen. I also include them in picking out foods for their meals. Would they rather have ham or turkey, corn flakes or cheerios, blueberries or raspberries, etc.
- I've even found that something as simple as letting them place a food item in the grocery cart will increase the likelihood that they will eat that food.
- Beyond Nutrition: Teach them the value of a dollar. Give them some cash and work with them on spending it to get the most out of their money.
- Let them help with the heavy lifting. It finally hit me that I don't need to be hauling in all of these groceries by myself. I have two strong kiddos that take pride in helping their mommy out and flexing their muscles.
- Model patience and kindness. Being in a busy grocery store on a Saturday can test anyone's patience. I keep reminding myself to model good manners and to treat people kindly. If someone is struggling with their little one, we've all been there! Instead of giving them a negative look or looking away, try giving them a positive word and smile of encouragement.