Supermarket Survival Guide (Plus a FREE Giveaway!)

Let’s face it: Grocery shopping with children can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be. Shopping can be fun and educational if you involve your children in the process.

 

 

Malia Dell author of Food That Works, offers five fun ways to get your family involved:


1.     Time It. Armed with your grocery list, see if you can get in and out within 20 minutes (or whatever may be reasonable). Set a timer and make it a game.


2.     Read It. The fewer ingredients on a label, the better. Find two like food items and ask your child to count how many items are listed. Then make a healthy choice by selecting the one with the fewest listed ingredients.


3.     Reject It. While you’re label reading, have your child look for high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil. If those ingredients are listed, put the item back on the shelf. “I don’t subscribe to many things,” Dell says, “but eliminating these two things from my diet is one of them. This will weed out a lot of junk food we throw in our cart.”


4.     Replace It. Fresh trumps frozen every time, Dell says. Rather than frozen pizza, ask the kids to choose toppings for pita pizzas they can make at home. Also, forget the freezer fries. Grab some sweet potatoes and bake potato wedges yourself. The same goes for bread; a fresh baguette not only tastes better than processed rolls, it’s healthier.


5.     Make It. Come up with a delicious dessert the kids can whip up at home, like a smoothie made with frozen berries and Greek yogurt. Or make yogurt bowls with fruit, nuts and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

 

*GIVEAWAY* Comment with your current fun tactics for surviving a trip to the grocery store with the kids and be entered to win a copy of Malia's brand-new cookbook, "Food That Works"! 3 winners will be selected and will also receive a LooHoo 3-Pack. Winners will be announced March 25, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about Malia and her cook visit the website Food That Works and be sure to read our interview with Malia, Real Food Works.

 

 

 


56 Comments

Lisa W
Lisa W

March 26, 2016

We write a list and stick to it. Also Costco shopping helps :-)

Kimberly Vander meulen
Kimberly Vander meulen

March 25, 2016

1. Plan the timing of your shopping trip to avoid crowds and empty bellies.
2. Communicate your expected behaviors
3. Make a list.
4. Bring snacks
5. Put the kids to work.
6. Educate your kids while you shop.
7. Look for opportunities for physical activity.
8. Thank your children for their help. Reinforce go behavior.
9. Ask your kids to begin preparing a list for the next shopping trip.

Kimberly Vander meulen
Kimberly Vander meulen

March 25, 2016

I would love win this book and LooHoo dryer balls

Sarah
Sarah

March 25, 2016

IPAD AND BABY CARRIER! Also have a list for exactly what I need.

Kristen Varner
Kristen Varner

March 25, 2016

My daughter loves to push the mini cart and we fill it with fruits and vegetables

Jennifer Odom
Jennifer Odom

March 25, 2016

We always opt for fresh food! If we want junk, we wait until the end of the trip and decide if we still want it. Usually we pass it up. :)

Erin E.
Erin E.

March 25, 2016

We take turns pushing the cart and being in charge of putting the things in. It doesn’t always work but they kids are more excited to eat the food they help me get from the grocer.

Christina
Christina

March 25, 2016

I have my littlest in the carrier and my oldest helps me grab the items and put in the buggy. She loves it because it feels like play time to her

Lindsey Kaufman
Lindsey Kaufman

March 25, 2016

Thankfully this is a trip the husband goes with me on and with the two children. We tag team it and split up. I try to price out my fruits and veggies so while I am doing that he is off getting other stuff. I take forever…

Susan Spidle
Susan Spidle

March 25, 2016

I give Lexi something she like to eat to hold in the grocery store, she is only 2 but it keeps her happy until we leave and then she hands it to the checker to scan. The store also has free fruit for kids to eat in the store as well.

Kathryn Dowell
Kathryn Dowell

March 25, 2016

hardly any produce warrants actually using the store’s plastic bags. and bring your own for checkout

Anita
Anita

March 25, 2016

Go after the kid has been fed! Always bring a snack just in case. Never shop hungry

Amanda J
Amanda J

March 25, 2016

My son is a year old. We survive grocery shopping by letting him hold items. He loves to crinkle chip bags, shake noodle boxes, feel the cold from frozen items and the such. I also bring specific toys that he only gets during shop time (no getting burnt out by playing with them ALL the time).

Leslie
Leslie

March 24, 2016

Breathe, relax, stay calm and make it fun! Involve your children in the experience. Talk to them, make it a teaching moment. Try not to take them with you if you are stressed or in a hurry. If you can’t do that, explain to them that you are going to be quick. Communication is the key!!!

Anel
Anel

March 23, 2016

If my husband goes with us, we split the list and meet somewhere in the middle. If he is not with us, I go after naps, bring snacks, give him a string bean or something to keep him busy, and hand my son things to put in the cart so it keeps him entertained!

Kathy Ostergaard
Kathy Ostergaard

March 23, 2016

When my kids were younger, I used to bring them to the farmer’s market and give them their own $$ to spend. My oldest son purchased a raspberry plant, which he faithfully planted in our back yard. He was very excited about getting to choose what to buy.

Noreen
Noreen

March 14, 2016

Bribe them (or reward) with something healthy. We always go to produce first and they pick out a favorite veggie or fruit (they love broccoli) and get to hold it and I tell them if they are good I will buy it. At least once a month they get to pick out some new and sometimes strange fruit or veggie to try. They now love jicama, cilantro and button mushrooms raw to snack on which were discovered by them.

Janet Meisner
Janet Meisner

March 14, 2016

With a toddler it is never easy, but I let her choose an item she can reach and she holds it during the shopping trip. I do discover others are tossed in the cart, but I try to remove them before the check out. We also chat a lot about different topics so she is amused.

Ameirah
Ameirah

March 14, 2016

I go shopping with my girl almost 4 late morning so she has energy & happy to go out. I bring a juice box & snacks cuz she can always eat & visiting the middle section of store not long after we enter & look at toys she likes to bring something around the store with her & is quite happy to return to shelf before we leave, when she was smaller i would just put back but now shes happy to return, unless its a super discounted item for learning or activity. Also now she is reading so we read all kinds of signs & talk to all kinds of people that love to chat with a little cutie, we like to make the seniors day as she talks to everyone!!! always fun always takes too long! thanks

Lisa B
Lisa B

March 14, 2016

We stick to the list. When I run out of something at home, I write it on a list hanging on the fridge. Then I rewrite my grocery list in the order that you find the items in the grocery store. It makes it much easier. We’ve read most labels so we have a good idea of what were buying. We make most of our sauces and breads. I do let my 5 year old son pick out a new cheese or pasta a few times a month. I always grab produce that is different or that we’ve never had before, otherwise I’d let him choose there. He loves having that choice and he learns about a new variety of food. We usually google about it to learn more and one of the dried pasta pieces go on a pasta chart that he is currently making. He doesn’t ask for toys or junk foods unless his dad is shopping with us. Then he knows he can get away with it.

Annmarie Weeks
Annmarie Weeks

March 14, 2016

My kids are teens now, and I enjoy having them at the grocery store with me! When I get the inevitable “can we get this? can we get that?”, I ask what they’re going to make for our family with those ingredients! My daughter especially is a wonderful baker & cook, and usually will find something that’s a little healthy to make!

Stacy
Stacy

March 14, 2016

I let my kids each puck out one fruit, one vegetable and one snack for the week. Also, when I’m making my weekly shopping list I ask them what they would like for dinner for one night of the week. Letting them have some input on the food our family will be eating helps them stay focused while we are at the store.

Kerri
Kerri

March 13, 2016

My daughter has a purse she loves, and I pack it up with her keys, toy phone, a snack, and a toy she hasn’t seen for a while. She gets to feel like a big girl, and if I’m speedy, we’re in line before she’s bored with her purse!

Wendy
Wendy

March 13, 2016

I ask my four year old what we need. We talk about it at home and he remembers. I pretty much let him dictate the trip. He has it down … Apples, salad, cereal, milk…he has even reminded me of things like dish soap.

Sue M
Sue M

March 11, 2016

I don’t have kidlings, so I survive by going to the grocery store as late as possible, preferably after 8pm, when children and old people are home in bed and the commuter rush is over. I power walk through empty aisles and get in and out in no time.

vanessa
vanessa

March 11, 2016

I get my kids to help plan a meal and then they get a list for those ingredients.

Sharon I.
Sharon I.

March 11, 2016

My favorite grocery store has a “Kids Club” that you can check your kids into while you shop. They can play games, color, etc., while I get my shopping done. A wonderful idea!

nicolthepickle
nicolthepickle

March 11, 2016

My kids really like the grocery store, and I usually don’t have any problems. They’re never allowed to ask for anything or touch anything. That’s been the rule from the beginning and it works.
Also I try not to go when they’re tired.

Carrie Larson
Carrie Larson

March 11, 2016

Now that my kids are ages 7, 5 and 5 shopping has become much more fun. I give each kiddo a portion of the list and they are in charge of getting the items on the list. They love the responsibility and their hands are busy with their notepads and pencils. In addition to working on making healthy choices we are also working on eating on a budget. It is a challenge but I want them to have the skills to be able to make healthy, smart choices.

Jodi Armstrong
Jodi Armstrong

March 10, 2016

My kiddo is 3 so not reading yet but I like the idea of having her read labels since I always do when she’s older. Right now she just gets to pick apples or yogurt or other foods she likes and put them into the cart.

Diane
Diane

March 10, 2016

I make my list according to the order I come across items in the store, keeps me organized and makes the trip go faster. Always trying to stick to the list, I allow for something new to try that isn’t for experimentation!

Jennifer Essad
Jennifer Essad

March 10, 2016

when I shopped with our kids we stayed together and in each isle I would tell them what I wanted them to pick out, I let them pick the vegetable or the soup or the crackers. Having 2, a boy and a girl, we all learned patience. The kids learned to read labels and best buy dates. When they got their drivers license their first driving experiences on their own were to go grocery shopping freeing up my time for other things at home

Amanda Rinehart
Amanda Rinehart

March 10, 2016

Our local grocery store has some fruit, usually apples, bananas, and clementines sitting up front and a sign that invites children to take one piece for themselves. My kids love the nice treat and it keeps them busy, while I love that it’s encouraging healthy habits!

Amy N.
Amy N.

March 10, 2016

My 4 yo DD loves to help stack things on the conveyor belt. My 12 yo DS enjoys finding things on the list. We make the trip a game. I try to find special markdown items to round out our meals. I also use coupons, and apps to get additional savings or rebates for some of the items I regularly purchase.

Christa Lopez
Christa Lopez

March 10, 2016

I love to bring my kids with me to the store so that they can pick out the healthy snacks and foods that they want. They always enjoy helping me do the shopping. I love to be able to purchase healthy food that they pick out themselves!

Erika Chilton
Erika Chilton

March 10, 2016

My son loves to help gather groceries because we make a game of it. Like, whoever gets the most of what is on the list gets to pick dinner for the evening or sometimes it’s a special dessert.

Danielle Garcia
Danielle Garcia

March 10, 2016

I give them things to look for, particularly things on our list. In the produce department, I let them choose out 1 item to try each week.

Amanda Jordan
Amanda Jordan

March 10, 2016

We get the shopping carts that are race cars, police cars, etc. That typically keeps my 3 yr old occupied.

Sue Taylor-Jones
Sue Taylor-Jones

March 10, 2016

I tell them if they are good they will get quarters when they get home so they can feed their piggy bank.

jess m
jess m

March 10, 2016

It depends on the mood of my toddler that day. Sometimes I have her look for certain colors, shapes, numbers or items. My older child likes to help pick out veggies and flavor/ variety on other products.

Sarah Hayes
Sarah Hayes

March 10, 2016

I have my LO be my helper. I give her little jobs to do and include her in the shopping

Amanda Alvarado
Amanda Alvarado

March 10, 2016

Our grocery store has a sushi bar in it and dd loves sushi! They are usually giving out samples so if she behaves, she knows she will get a piece of sushi. It is at the end of the store for us so she has to be patient and wait until we are done getting groceries before she gets it. She also likes to take along a notebook to write or draw in or a book to read while we are shopping to keep her occupied.

sue ryan
sue ryan

March 10, 2016

I have them find the alphabet- a for apple etc or we do the number game find items with the number one first price or sign and have them see how high they can go.

Jenna D
Jenna D

March 10, 2016

My daughter really likes visiting the “monsters” (lobsters), so I always tell her step by step what things mom has to find first before we go visit them. This way, she also learns new words, and I encourage her to “help mommy find ____. Let mommy know when you see it”, so that she is engaged instead of bored while I’m doing the shopping :)

Anel
Anel

March 10, 2016

On days when we need to make it a quick trip, and my husband is there, we split the grocery list according to the items that are in half of the store, and the items that are in the other half. My husband takes one list, and I take the other, and we meet at checkout!

Jessica
Jessica

March 10, 2016

I bring distractions with me to keep them occupied like snacks, toys and have games on my phone they can play.

Gina Torrey
Gina Torrey

March 10, 2016

My shopping list is geared toward the floor plan of our grocery store, I always give my kids a few items at a time (in a particular aisle) for them to gather and bring back to the “mother cart”…definitely cures the boredom, and more times than not, we are able to check out sooner :)

Jill H
Jill H

March 10, 2016

I do not have any little children, but I check ads before I go & write my list in order of the aisles i visit in the store. I always do mental math too, so I know how much I’m spending & double check receipts

Sally John
Sally John

March 10, 2016

With kids it’s 20 min shopping , and I don’t shop everything together – I break up my shopping trips into multiple smaller ones. And sometimes it’s just kids stuff , sometimes just fruits and produce.

Mickie
Mickie

March 10, 2016

Hobby usually does the grocery shopping with the kids. One thing we had to start is carrying the youngest in a wrap/baby carrier or we needed two carts. We also let my daughter eat snacks while we shop! Or she would want everything she sees. Best of all, as stay at home Dad and work at home Mom, the shopping can get done while the oldest is in school so we only have to take two with us.

Cindy Kong
Cindy Kong

March 10, 2016

I have my daughter hold my list and I’ll tell her what we need and ill ask her to find me apples, banana, milk, etc. So she feels like she’s part of the shopping. and I’ll have her cross it off with a crayon.

Michelle I
Michelle I

March 10, 2016

I let my 3 year old bring a matchbox car and finding the special “race car” shopping cart helps too :)

Tracy K
Tracy K

March 10, 2016

It’s my toddler’s (self-proclaimed) job to place items in the cart. We pull the item off the shelf, hand it to him, and he twists in the seat to place it in the cart behind him.

Vanessa wildmon
Vanessa wildmon

March 10, 2016

We try to go to the grocery stores on sample days. The kiddo loves free samples and it keeps him occupied while we can shop. His favorite is usually the fresh fruits they give out.

Stephanie O'Day
Stephanie O'Day

March 10, 2016

I give them coupons and let them see if they can be the first one to find the item that matches. If they are, they get to pick the flavor/kind. :)

janie v.
janie v.

March 10, 2016

i give them tasks to do, little ones still in cart i have them help me count, or ask them things like colors and shapes.

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