This blog post is written by Taylor Streitmatter, student-intern from Illinois State University!
Its summer, the children are home all day, and their little fingers seem to make food disappear from your cabinets and refrigerator faster than it did during the school year. This may mean that you'll be taking more trips to the grocery store, and more than likely, the children will be accompanying you to this "food paradise." So how do you prevent frozen pizza treats, sugary cereals, chips, chicken nuggets, and cookies from filling up the cart when taking trips to the store with the kiddos? Here are some vivid childhood rules that stand clear in my mind when my mom took my siblings and myself to the grocery store:
- Shop the perimeter of the store first. This ensures you will fill your cart with fresh produce and healthy refrigerated protein and dairy sources, leaving less room for junk foods.
- Have the children help pick healthy items; they'll be more willing to eat them. Let the kids pick what vegetable they would like to have with tonight's main dish, or maybe they have a suggestion of a veggie for the whole family to try that is new to all of you!
- Set limits. Sweet treats can be eaten in moderation. Have the children decide upon one flavor of ice cream, one type of cookie, or another treat as a group-effort. This will prevent having lots of dessert type foods in the home. Typically, vanilla ice cream is a winner because they can personalize it with their favorite topping when dessert is offered.
- Explain why you are buying the things you are buying as you venture through the store. Describe to your children what recipes you plan to make with the different ingredients. Have them pick a couple of the meals that week so they can get excited about choosing the ingredients for them, too! Teach them the nutritional importance for buying the foods you buy.
- Make sure everyone has a full tummy and no time limits when going to the grocery store to make for a positive experience.
- Show them how to read prices and look for sales. Have the children compare the same foods in different brands by the "per ounce" price to understand what the most economical buy is.
Here's a great recipe the children will love and enjoy helping you find the ingredients for in the grocery store!
Healthy Turkey Skillet Printable PDF
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
1 medium green bell pepper, diced into ½-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced into ½-inch pieces
1-14.5 oz. can no salt added peeled & diced tomatoes, undrained
8 oz. whole wheat elbow macaroni, cooked as directed
1-15 oz. can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
2 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink. Add the bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, cooked noodles, beans, chili powder, and cumin to the turkey. Mix well and simmer 15 minutes.
Yield: 10 - 1 cup servings
Nutritional analysis per serving: 230 calories, 7 grams fat, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 150 milligrams sodium, 29 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams sugar, 16 grams protein