Surviving the weekly shop with one or more kids in tow is no mean feat. But with a little preparation plus a few clever tricks up your sleeve, the weekly trip to the supermarket can a fun and stress-free experience (we promise!).
Surviving the weekly shop: Top tips to make it easier
Preparation is key
Young children have a limited tolerance for drawn out shopping trips, so it pays to be organised. Write up your list of exactly what you need to buy before you enter the supermarket. If you happen to know the layout of your supermarket, you could arrange the items by aisle, which will save you time and energy.
Fed and watered
There is nothing worse than ‘hangry’ kids in the supermarket. Make sure that your child has had a good rest and is not hungry before you start the shop. Change her nappy before you head out and bring some spares in case of emergency!
Distraction, distraction, distraction
Younger toddlers will appreciate toys that clasp onto the shopping trolley handles. Favourite teddy bears and board books are also good for keeping little ones entertained.
Let them help
Give your toddler a sense of importance by asking her to hold small items and point out where groceries are in the aisles. Ask her to choose the colour of apples or which yoghurts they would like – this is a great opportunity to teach number and colour recognition. Ask them to hold grocery items for you hold the shopping list. Older children will enjoy reading off the list and crossing off items as you place them in the trolley.
Stick to the one shop
Make life easier for yourself by buying all your grocery items under the one roof. This is why a list is so important!
Todders and small kids get tired very easily. Set yourself a time limit of one hour – which again brings us back to the importance of a list! At the same time, be prepared to make a quick exit if you need to. Young children are fickle – be prepared for potential tantrums or nappy emergencies!
Play games with your toddler. For example, “I spy with my little eye.. a red fruit.” Sing nursery rhymes chat to her about the different foods in the aisles.
Pack some healthy snacks – rice cakes, bananas for your toddler to nibble on while you shop.
Sit down and wirte a list of what meals you and your family plan to eat in the coming week and stick to this while shopping. This will help you spend less on impulse buys and you’re not as likely to get distracted and pick up less healthy foods or things you don’t need.
Talk to your child before you hit the shops about what they’ll be allowed to have so they know what to expect. This will particularly help when you reach the sweets aisle.
Meal planning in advance
A great way to stock up is to think of what you might eat at different mealtimes:
- Breakfast – have cereal, milk and juice in stock
- Lunch – have cheese, yoghurts, eggs, tins of beans, bread in the freezer and longer life fruits such as bananas or dried fruit
- Dinner – chicken breasts or frozen mince or fish, rice, noodles and pasta; frozen veg, tinned fruits and longer life veg such as onions are ideal.
Devote a day to making family classic meals such as shepherd’s pie, homemade burgers or chilli con carne, and freeze into portions – these will come in very handy on busy days.
Keep things like tinned beans, pasta, flour, tinned tuna and salmon on hand, so you always have ingredients to whip up a quick and tasty meal. Stock up on items that have a long shelf life, like tinned goods, pasta, and grains.
A typical weekly shop could include the following items:
✔ Tinned fish, tomatoes, tomato purée, peas and beans
✔ Pasta and rice
✔ High fibre or wholegrain breakfast cereals
✔ Frozen vegetables
✔ Skinless chicken or turkey fillets, minced beef, lamb or pork
✔ Pet Food
✔ Milk, cheese and yoghurts
✔ Olive oil
✔ Salt and pepper, and herbs
✔ Fruit, vegetables and herbs
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