School Children

Take your Children to the Supermarket

By Yara Gholmie, RD

Dear Parent, 

When you enter a supermarket on any given day, you come in with a set of goals. You might be going in to buy the things you are in need of for today's meal, or you may just be planning for the next few meals. However, chances are you are going to buy a lot more than you needed in the first place, and when your children are present you end up buying more colorful cereals, candies and chocolate bars too. 

Do you know how food is set up in the supermarket?

The most frequent visits to the supermarket are for perishable items such as milk, eggs, meats, fruits and vegetables. The latter are usually located at the back of the store, this means you have to walk through the store passed the most heavily processed foods like cereals, chips and sodas to find them. Even within the processed food aisles, the heavily processed foods are placed at eye level, and are easier for us to reach. Foods that are heavily marketed for children are usually placed at the level of the child sitting on the supermarket cart. The baked fresh pastries always smell so good and tempting, and we end up buying some even if its not on the list. 

So many temptations, should you take your children with you?

There are many ways temptations can be avoided, but not taking your children grocery shopping isn't one of them. First rule to follow is to stick to the periphery of the store, where fresh perishable foods are located. Locate the fruits and vegetables and ask your child what he/she would like to have for school tomorrow, what vegetables would he/she want to add to his/her meal at dinner time. Discuss options with your child: are we having meat, fish or chicken tonight? Make a list before you go, and try to stick to the list you have prepared. And the most important rule to follow is not to go shopping when you're hungry. If you enter the grocery store hungry, both you and your child are more likely to go for a fresh pastry or a chocolate bar and not a healthy snack.

Happy healthy shopping!