Going to the grocery store isn’t always a chore I look forward to, especially when I have multiple kids in tow. It’s more of a survival mission. Get in, grab what I can and get out, amiright?
However, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to make grocery shopping more fun and add a little spice in my pantry’s life.
Studies show toddlers may need to try foods 10 or more times before they find they like it. Does that shed a little light on why night after night your toddler tossed the broccoli on the floor and now suddenly can’t get enough of it? Toddler palates are still forming and I feel its essential that I take this opportunity to introduce flavor and variety on my boys plates.
While it may be easier to grab the same bag of chicken nuggets, the same brand of string cheese and the same box of fish crackers before I rush to the checkout line, I’ve embraced the challenge and forced myself to knock it off.
Rather than always grabbing the same staples, I change it up. I love to buy in bulk to save money, and I always shop the sale section. If drumsticks are on sale, I will buy those and roast a whole bunch of them, then store them in the freezer. It’s just as fast to heat one up as it is a plate of chicken nuggets yet it’s a completely different experience for my kids to enjoy.
The same principle can be applied in every section of the grocery store. This week, instead of buying my usual kale, I might buy spinach. Spice plain yogurt up with some sweet granola on top or chia seeds. Add salsa on our eggs. Buy mango instead of a pineapple.
This helps bring variety to my pantry and freezers in every form. Rather than buying the same salty snacks every time we run out, I’ll introduce a new snack as the pretzels are getting low. Mixing a few snap pea crisps into the bowl of pretzels makes snack time a fun new exploration; the look my boys get on their face as they think they’re biting into one snack and realize it’s another is awesome.
My kids have become curious and excited about their food. Sure we have a pretty standard rotation of things we eat for breakfast, but even swapping out the fruit we eat with our eggs in the morning gives a little spin my guys seem to appreciate.
Sure, I get a tantrum now and then because I don't always keep popcorn on hand and that is the snack my oldest wants right now. Sometimes a little struggle brings a lot of rewards. Now whatever I have on hand is what the boys and I eat. This keeps my trips to the grocery store to a minimum – I won’t go more than once a week. If we run out of anything, I substitute. It’s made cooking and snacking a lot more fun for all of us.
Every meal can be an adventure!