I’m a dietitian, so I enjoy the grocery shopping experience. Honestly, it’s not quite as good as walking the magnificent mile in Chicago, but it rates pretty high. My ten-year old son is also a “foodie” in training. We love visiting different grocery stores each week. They entice us to try different products, and shopping becomes more of an experience, than a task. We discuss how and why products might be marketed the way they are, check out nutrition labels, and always come home with a few new products to try at the family dinner table.
thankfully, grocery stores always have the fresh fruits and vegetable area first, so we load up with the good stuff right from the start. Did you ever notice how they carefully place contrasting colors next to each other? We always shoot for a fruit and vegetable in every color and discuss how each color means different nutrients, and brighter colors mean higher nutrients. My son loves to weigh items and estimate their cost. He is starting to understand the value of money too, which reinforces buying produce in season, and grown locally. He knows how to read the cereal labels and tries to stick to the <9 grams of sugar, >3 grams of fiber rule. We discuss ads targeted towards kids and whether they are healthy suggestions or “tricksters”. The “10 for 10” sales are also good conversation starters.
Contrast the idyllic scenario above, with the grocery shopping trip my son takes with his dad, my husband. They make a monthly excursion to Costco where they return with “larger than your head” size packages of “deals” on food. This too, becomes a teaching moment for both. With pleasure, I point out that they will consume an over abundance of the item for the first several days because a) the box is so huge it beckons consumption and b) it serves to reaffirm that their manly purchase was a good one. Finally near the end of the month they will c) eat the remainder, just make it go away so that they can d) go to Costco to buy more stuff. However, they do frequently redeem themselves by bringing home great coffee beans and organic milk that’s sold at a more reasonable price than our local grocery store.
Go grocery exploring with your kids, and come home with a cart full of benefits.
Categories: Nutrition & Wellness