I am a big believer in getting kids involved in all aspects of food. I want my kids to understand how to navigate all the choices available to them + eventually know what to look for when they have to make these decisions themselves. Grocery shopping can be a great time to teach kids about food while spending time with them + getting an essential chore out of the way. My girls have always been in tow with me at the store, I still remember throwing them in the baby slings + wraps when they were just babies + talking to them about everything I was doing at the store. As they get older they can be more involved at the store. The first trick is to bring your patience! When they start walking instead of being corralled in the cart, things can get harried fast, but I always try to remind myself even when they are running loose in the aisles, that it’s better to have them excited about helping then not engaged. When my girls are with me, I let them decide on what fruit they want to eat that week. Then we look together at how to pick out the items, making sure not to get bruised items, or discussing how to pick the most ripe fruit, then they get to put it in the cart. The same goes for vegetables. Food can be beautiful when displayed at the store especially from a child’s perspective when they might just see a sea of color.
So, if something catches their eye, like beautifully pink radishes we add them to the cart. Having the kids as part of the decision process helps them be more open to trying new foods at home. When they remember that they hand-picked a food that ends up on their plate, there is more of a chance they become open to trying even just a bite.
We tend to focus most of our attention at the store on the perimeter where all the fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy + meats are located, but when we do head to the middle I’m always showing my girls how to look at the labels of any processed food before it gets added to the cart.