What’s in the fridge today can make or break your family’s health (and your credibility as a dad) tomorrow.
Here are a few tips to take the hassle out of grocery shopping while helping you make your entire family healthier with every trip.
1. “Shake” it up.
According to USDA’s “10 tips for Healthy Eating for an Active Lifestyle (PDF 474 KB),”
“Variety is great! [You should] get the nutrients your body needs by eating a variety of colors, in various ways.”
Remember not to stick to the same old dishes when you’re shopping. Lack of “good” variety is a sure-fire way to derail your family’s diet.
2. The other “shake” it up.
We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us. However, if you have a child over the age of 2, you know it can sometimes be hard to get the good stuff into kids’ diets.
Another great tip from the ChooseMyPlate.gov team is to
“Make fruit more appealing [by] blending fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit. Try bananas, peaches, strawberries, or other berries.”
Gathering the things you need for a smoothie during the week will be easy or consider buying frozen fruit which will keep longer in your freezer.
3. Check yourself out.
The traditional checkout aisles in grocery stores have historically been home to sugar, sweets, and a variety of other all-too-appealing junk foods that could spell last-minute shopping ruin.
To avoid the temptation, try the self-checkout line.
Yes, it’s a little more work. But with fewer displays due to less space, using these self-service lines is a great way to keep you and the family on track as you make your grocery store exit. If you’re shopping as a family, this can be a great time to get kids to help scan and bag.
4. Tackle it as a team.
Remember, shopping isn’t just about food. It’s a great opportunity to get the family together, pass on your nutrition knowledge, and save some time while everyone gets in a small workout.
5. Plan to snack.
Contrary to popular belief, snacking can be a good thing if you do it right. An article from the Mayo Clinic, “Snacks: How They Fit into Your Weight-loss Plan,” echoes the sentiment that snacks are healthy:
“Although you may feel guilty about snacking, snacks aren't necessarily bad. In fact, well-planned weight-loss diets allow for snacks to help manage hunger and reduce bingeing.”
While you’re shopping, remember that snacks are good IF you choose them right. For a quick guide on what snacks belong in and out of the cart, check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) ChooseMyPlate.gov 10 MyPlate Snack Tips for Parents list.
Don’t go at it alone and remember that fit families can start with fit dads. Good luck leading the pack!
Jovan Hackley, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse