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real food loving kids: give them the power of choice

by Heather

If having your kids in the kitchen cooking with you doesn’t sound relaxing or they just don’t have interest in it, another way to get them involved with food is at the grocery store.


For quite a while I was doing the big weekly grocery shopping trip on Mondays after teaching my 3 class line up when my kids were being watched.  Grocery shopping with 2 kids can be loud and challenging at times (I always bring extra snacks and things to distract them), so these solo trips were a real luxury.  However, about a month ago we (finally) got back into a church going routine.  Since church ends around 10:40am we are left with some time before lunch and have turned it into the family shopping trip to Chuck’s Produce.  Jacob takes Hunter with a mini list around the store while Zoe and I grab the bulk of the items.  We meet up and finish together, and it is my new favorite way to grocery shop.  I love it even more than those solo trips!

I began adding a fruit or vegetable of choice to the Hunter/Jacob list.  Any fruit or veggie was up for grabs.  If it was something new that we had never tried (there are some crazy looking veggies out there!) then we would get the opportunity to try something new.  The first week he picked broccoli.  I had loaded up on broccoli too since it was on sale so we had a heavy week of broccoli eating.  We ate it raw, roasted, steamed and puréed into this cheddar broccoli soup.  His favorite way was roasted (mine too).  Normally broccoli isn’t something he gets excited about, but since he picked it specifically, he was eager to try it in so many different ways without argument or much encouragement needed.  He didn’t always like it, but at least he kept trying it.

Another week he was sick and didn’t get to go to church or grocery shopping but he had been already thinking about foods he wanted to pick out.  He actually had a list in his head: orange bell pepper, oranges, green grapes and dried mango (it’s like candy to us).  Such awesome healthy choices!  I happily picked all of them up for my under the weather boy and he was excited when I told him about all the foods I bought at the store.  He then promptly wanted to eat all of them with his lunch.

Giving kids the power of choice and involving them in selecting real foods is a simple yet powerful way to encourage their own healthy eating habits.  From my experience, if they pick the food out, they are more likely to be excited to try it.  Just as involving them in the kitchen with cooking a meal, finding more ways to spark excitement about real food is going to benefit them for a long time.

Have you tried this grocery shopping strategy of giving them the power of choice?  What tips do you have for getting your kids excited about real foods?


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1 comment

Corina February 28, 2016 - 7:58 am

I try to avoid grocery shopping with the children if I can as I find it quite stressful but I can really see your point. We do an online shop every week so maybe I’ll show my little ones the pictures online and get her to choose that way. Unfortunately both my children (almost 2 and almost 4) are going through a picky phase so I’m always looking for new ideas!


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