Teaching kids about nutrition at the store
Mealtimes with picky eaters can be a challenge, but it is possible to get your little ones to lean towards healthy food choices. Here are some ways to teach your kids about healthy eating and nutrition through grocery shopping.
Most of us have fond memories of tagging along to the supermarket with mum and dad to get fresh supplies for the week’s meals when we were little. Believe it or not, kids actually love to be involved in the grocery shopping process. It’s the perfect place to inspire your kids to cook yummy meals and spark their creativity.
Parents can also use the trip to the supermarket to teach their little ones about healthy eating, which should be initiated during the early years. Studies show that introducing kids to a diverse selection of food plays an important role in shaping food attitudes in life. When you expose your kids to the different types of food at a young age, they are more likely to have a positive attitude towards food as they grow older. This also helps your picky eaters to be open towards trying new foods that are crucial for their growth and development.
1. The power of protein
Take your kids through the fresh meat section and point out the various types of cuts that are on display. As meat may not look visually appealing, you’ll just have to be creative by spicing things up when talking about the different types of meat. You can relate a certain type of meat to their favourite food (e.g. “This piece of chicken would be prefect for a Chicken Cheese Fillet. Shall we whip this up for dinner?”)
2. Colours of vegetables
The good thing about vegetables is that they come in bright, happy colours. You can use this to tempt the tastebuds of your picky eaters. Let them pick and feel the various types of vegetables at the supermarket, and ask them for suggestions on what you can do with those vegetables. Try to get them involved in the food preparation at home as much as possible. They are more likely to try the food that they have helped to pick out and prepare earlier on.
3. All about super fruits!
Kids tend to be more open towards eating fruits due to their attractive colours and pleasant taste. At the supermarket, get them to help pick out the best-looking fruits. You can also take this opportunity to tell them an interesting fact about certain fruits – e.g. Kiwi contains twice as much vitamin c as an orange, or how a banana gets ripe faster when you place it in a brown bag.
4. The goodness of grains
The great thing about grains is that we can enjoy its benefits through a variety of food such as wheat, rice, oats, barley and cereal. When grocery shopping with the kids, point out foods that are in the grains category, and pick some out for the week’s meals. Let them have some hands-on experience in scooping out the grains into individual bags and have a little quiz with them on what grains can do to the body (e.g. Keeping our digestive system healthy and ensuring that we have the energy to run around and play).
5. More milk?
While most kids generally accept the taste of milk, there are some who dislike milk altogether – mostly due to the taste. If this situation applies to your picky eater, the next best thing to do is to introduce flavoured milk which may have a more pleasant taste. Walk along the milk aisle in the supermarket to pick out a carton of milk that comes in their favourite flavour.
We hope that the grocery shopping tips featured above will help get you started in teaching your picky eaters about food and nutrition. Be sure to include a variety of food choices from the major food groups during mealtimes and provide them with wholesome food options in their lunch box to take to school as well.