Have you ever thought of the produce section at your local grocery store as a place to explore? It’s a bright happy place full of different colors, textures, smells and sometimes samples, especially if you shop at Whole Foods or a local market like Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, where they want you to really engage with your produce. For most of us though, grocery shopping can be one more chore on a long list of things to do. It’s even more stressful when you know you’ll need to bring your children along for the trip!
On this Friday Food Adventure, we want to help you turn that errand into a simple but fun activity where you can engage your kids in a new way around what foods you choose to bring into your home. In fact, there’s a huge payoff to this exercise. Studies have shown that it matters how much variety you bring home and how much variety you eat with your children. One study done in 2008 showed a direct correlation between the number of different vegetables and fruits parents brought home and their preschoolers’ willingness to eat them.
We’re going on a scavenger hunt! Here are a few tips you can use for your next trip to the grocery store.
Three JoyFoodly Tips: Helping your kids explore new produce at the grocery store
1) Yum up the experience with positivity. Before you even ask your child if they want to do the scavenger hunt, tell them how much you love the fruit and veggie section of the supermarket and why. I personally love the colors and those weird mysterious misting devices that keep everything looking so perfect.
2) Let your kids choose a fruit or vegetable to buy. Give them $2-3 dollars and tell them they can use this money to pick a fruit or vegetable they would like to try at home as a snack or part of the next family meal. You’ll be surprised what they’ll choose when left on their own. It also helps kids understand how you, as a parent, can’t just buy anything you want or they may ask you to buy because we all have a budget to work within and have to make choices within that budget.
3) Create a space in your home refrigerator for their produce. We recommend making some space in one of the bottom drawers that they can easily access. When it’s time for a snack, tell them they can go choose from their produce drawer what they’d like for their snack, or when it’s time to make dinner, you can engage on a whole new adventure and explore ways to use that veggie your child chose in a yummy recipe.
Download the scavenger hunt here!
Why take your child on a grocery store scavenger hunt?
Our inspiration for creating a grocery store scavenger hunt came from my work with Chef Elianna of CUESA through her weekly Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market Foodwise Kids Classes. During these classes we group kids into groups of 4-5, give them a scavenger hunt to fill out, $6 worth of money, and we send them off to explore and buy whatever that money can get them for the homemade cracker topping they’ll make. It’s amazing to see what they choose: cabbage, carrots, beets, winter squash, citrus fruit, berries, and the list goes on and on. We admire the inside of the cabbage together (such cool inner design) and we taste the beets raw and then we roast them. The kids get to have fun, make their own choices from all healthy options, learn some simple math to make their $6 last, and they end up enjoying what we make together because they were a part of the process of cooking from the beginning.
Let us know about your next happy food adventure!
We’d love to learn how you’re exciting your kids to explore eating a variety of whole foods.
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