In this day and age convenience reigns supreme! Thanks to Amazon, ClickList, U-Scans everywhere, including the local Library, Netflix streaming with the option to skip the intro of shows, (because who has time for that!?!) and now, not only do you not have to cook a meal, but you can also have a delivery service deliver it….every day it feels like we get one step closer to the Axiom Ship on Pixar’s blockbuster, WALL-E. LOL! While it’s not necessary to give up all these modern conveniences there is one that really needs to be reevaluated, grocery shopping.
6 Reasons Why You Should Grocery shop with your Kids
1.Sharpen those Social Skills-“Non-verbal communication is an important part of communicating and it includes facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice as well as posture, space between individuals, etc. So when children use digital communication extensively, it can curtail the face-to-face experiences necessary for them to develop and master important social skills”(Source- http://newyorkbehavioralhealth.com/the-impact-of-social-media-use-on-social-skills ) And let’s be honest, honing those social skills begins at the entrance of the grocery store. Knowing when it is your turn to grab a cart, when it’s appropriate to pass by someone, when to say “excuse me”, and when to apologize if you accidently cut someone off with your cart.
2. Stop Hidden Hunger, shop the produce section. “With hidden hunger, officially known as micronutrient deficiency, people eat enough calories, but fail to get essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. About 85% of Americans do not consume the US Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily intakes of the most important vitamins and minerals necessary for proper physical and mental development.” (Source – https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/feb/10/nutrition-hunger-food-children-vitamins-us ) Allow children the opportunity to linger in the produce section, ask questions, to touch, smell, & see all the beautiful colors that are found in fruits and vegetables and how our body needs a variety each day in order to be heathy. Children are naturally curious; why not allow them to pick out an exotic vegetable of fruit and google a recipe or two to try out at home. Every mother wants her child to grow up healthy and eat a well-balanced diet; it starts in the produce section.
3.Practice those Math skills. The grocery store is one of the best examples of a place where math is real. It’s a great place for practicing measurement, estimation, and quantity. Allowing your children to participate in weighing, counting, and figuring price per unit versus price per pound will help improve their ability to estimate and predict amounts with accuracy. Since trips to the store usually affect everyone in the family, the following website offers activities at various levels of difficulty. Click on the link for age appropriate grocery store math activities, http://www.math.com/parents/articles/grocerymath.html
4. Teach Children how to read Nutrition Labels. “Did you know the average kid under 12 consumes 49 pounds of sugar per year, according to the USDA Economic Research Service….even scarier is that a twenty- or thirtysomething adult’s intake is actually lower 46 pounds. But because so many foods marketed to kids, from oatmeal to fruit rolls, are now supersweet, children may struggle to accept other flavors, such as the bitter taste of many green veggies. “Sugar overload may prevent their taste buds from maturing,” says David Ludwig, MD (Source https://www.parents.com/recipes/nutrition/kids/sugar-shock/ ) Teach children how to read a Nutrition label. Have them look at the number of servings per container, the amount of sugar per serving, and the ingredients…they are listed in order of quantity. For example, this fruit spread is mostly sugar; note the first ingredient, sugar.
Also do encourage children to seek processed food (processed foods are those foods that do not grow from the ground or have a mother) with very few ingredients and ingredients that are closest to the whole food item, such as this peanut butter, note it has just peanuts and salt….not hydrogenated oils, sugars, etc. are added.
5. Help Children become good food detectives and note Marketing Ploys. When you’re at the grocery store and looking at product labels, you may think “low-fat,” “light,” “reduced-fat,” “non-fat” are going to be your healthier options, right? Not so fast! “Just because a product is labeled ‘fat-free’ or ‘low-fat’ doesn’t mean it’s healthier or even lower in calories,” says Jared Koch, a nutritionist in New York and the founder of Clean Plates. “In fact, most low-fat or fat-free foods will have sugar and chemicals to make up for the loss in taste, which renders them poor nutritional choices.” (Source- http://www.lifewithgreens.com/four-reasons-fat-free-isnt-good-for-you ) Also be on the lookout for other deceitful phrases like, “real fruit”, “100% natural”, “Natural”, “real fruit juices”, etc. When you come across items with these tag words be sure to take the time to review the label with your child.
6. Children are more likely to eat what they select. If you involve kids in planning meals, going grocery shopping, and preparing food, they will become invested in the process and more likely to eat. Even toddlers too young to make grocery lists can help you make choices (pears or nectarines? cheddar or swiss?) along the way. (Source- http://www.pbs.org/parents/food-and-fitness/eat-smart/encourage-kids-to-eat-healthy-food/ )
Additionally children can learn about;
- How to resist food temptations
- The importance of meal planning and having a list
Is it easy? No. Is it inconvenient? No. But, nowhere is it written that parenting is going to be easy and convenient. We only have these children under our roof for a minimum amount of time, we need to utilize all opportunities to model and teach them how to be the best versions of themselves and believe it or not, grocery shopping teaches a lot of valuable life lessons.
I have been taking my children with me to the grocery store since I became a mom. And there were long exhausting trips of trying to maneuver that ridiculous car and cart combo around the store while my 4 year old tossed Goldfish everywhere, 3 year old had to use the potty for the 3rd time, & baby had a blowout…and that 3 hour trip eventually ended with a lovely woman from the floral department giving me a few day old roses. I will never forget that trip. It taught me so much about myself, about the kindness of others, and most importantly that we needed to go grocery shopping after naptime, lol! I continue to take now my 7, 10, & 12 year olds with me grocery shopping and the lessons continue to be learned.