A good friend recently asked me to go to the grocery store with her and her daughter. What it turned out to be was an awesome healthy food adventure with a four year old! Seeing food inside the world of our kids can really open our eyes to trying healthy foods ourselves.
I’d truly forgotten how vivid the imagination of a child is! How big can strawberries truly be?! I watched and listened as bright oranges and bold bananas became a jungle tour as she cheerfully informed me that tigers and monkeys loved fruit! Carrots became huge sticks that are fun to dip in a deep pool of green avocado dip. Let me tell you, a four year old who has learned about healthy crackers can be very informative as to why she likes almond butter on them or how good they are dunked in yogurt!
But going to the grocery store can really become a less-than-efficient trip than you may have intended when you have little helpers along. As shoppers, we all like to be efficient and be prepared with a list. To hold the attention of your young shopper you can help them to prepare a list of their own. Here are a few ideas:
Foundation for a Healthy Diet
Draw a “Picture List”! For ages 2-5 this can be an opportunity to learn about bright colored fruits and veggies! Provide your younger ones with construction paper to draw their own ‘shopping list’ as you make your own. One of your family time projects could be making flashcards with pictures cut from store sale flyers or magazines. These could be reused several times.
While shopping engage them in a scavenger hunt for those interesting foods by shape and by color!
- Oranges: carrots, oranges, sweet potato, pumpkins
- Yellows: bananas, lemons, starfruit, pears
- Reds: apples, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, beets, grapes
- Green: lettuces, peppers, cabbages, snap peas, cucumbers, zucchini, celery
- Blues and Purples: blueberries, blackberries, red onion, red cabbage
- Browns: grains, nuts, legumes, poultry, fish, eggs
By illustrating the foods that make up the building blocks of a healthy diet with images familiar to your child, you gain an opportunity to build your child’s foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
Food Groups for Kids
Write a “Short List”! This could be an activity for ages 6-9. And it could be turned into a new word activity. Use it as an opportunity to learn spelling words.
While shopping their list can become an opportunity learn about fruit, vegetables, grains, proteins, and all food groups. They can also begin to learn about eating balanced meals.
When our children shop along with you they become familiar with your regular food choices. Do you recall any special memories from your younger years when food testing was an opportunity to try something different? This is a wonderful age to make those memories for your child!
Fun Healthy Food Facts
Helping with “My Own List”! For children 10 and older, assisting with a list of items that are needed to make one of their favorite dishes can peak their interest in healthy food. It can also be fun to explore choosing the foods for their very own lunchbox and dinner plate. Snack food ideas will become more interesting! They will begin to learn where healthy items are located within your store.
While shopping their list can become an opportunity learn about organic foods, grains, fresh foods and whole foods. See the list of healthy foods to eat below:
- Calcium: organic yogurt, organic milk, organic cheese, kefir milk
- Protein: beans, eggs, organic cheese and yogurt, seafood, organic poultry and beef, romaine lettuce
- Grains: quinoa, brown rice, millet, buckwheat groats
- Nuts: walnuts, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, cashews
Do you want your home filled with healthy foods for your child?
Create a nutritional home by including them in the planning, shopping, and in the creation of delicious and healthy food choices. Create an adventure in food!
Have you tried any of these ideas with your children? If you have any comments or some tip that works for your family, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below!