A guest post by Katie Joubert, Founder of Joubert Nutrition

Food shopping can be tricky – you either get the bare minimum which means you will be back in the store the next day or you buy so much of everything, that most of it ends up at the back of the fridge turning into something unrecognisable. In addition to all that, you need to buy things that’ll please your children, otherwise complaints and whingeing become the playlist at every meal.

Dedicating a small part of your day over the weekend to plan and write your shopping list will:

  • Decrease stress during the week- one less thing to think about
  • Ensure the family is well fed as you’re buying from all the important food groups and not resorting to ‘takeout’ and fast food
  • Save time and money because you buy what you need – each meal is accounted for
  • Make your shopping trip quick and efficient

If you look at your shopping list like a road map of the grocery store, you’ll stay on path and detour away from the sweet, processed and easy temptations in the aisles.

Here are my top five tips for nailing the kind of shopping list your kids will love:

Figure out what you are going to have during the week

Involve your children in this process. Sit the family down at the kitchen table and ask questions such as:

  • What did you like about your lunches and dinners last week?
  • Is there something that you really don’t like?
  • Is there a cuisine you want to try one night?

By involving them in the process from an early age, it not only informs you about your child’s taste preference, but it also teaches your child that you care what they have to say and that they have an input into the decisions. Bringing in different cuisines is the perfect opportunity to spice things up and educate kids about the tasty world around us.

If age permits, get them to choose a recipe from a cookbook that you can make together. This will instantly make them feel empowered and in control of their food and health.

Allocate different protein for each dinner meal

This is a great way to ensure that your meals are diverse and different nutrients are being eaten.

An example of this could be:

Monday – Beans

Tuesday – Fish

Wednesday – Lamb

Thursday – Chicken

Friday – Beef

It’s also great to consider what dinner meals can be eaten for lunch the next day, as leftovers save oodles of time and sometimes brainpower. Buy extra vegetables and protein for a meal so you can make extra to turn into frittatas, omelets or take the humble sandwich or wrap to the next level.

Break the shopping list down into two blocks

No matter how well we try to plan our week, things pop up that are out of our control, like invitations to dinners outside of home. I suggest to clients that a good food shop can be done on a Saturday, and that will take them through to Wednesday, and then another shop on Thursday to last them until Saturday. This will ensure that huge amounts of food aren’t going to waste and that what you do buy is fresh, fresh, fresh.

Check the pantry and make sure you have all the essentials as a backup

By the time it comes to the end of the week the fridge can start to look at bit empty. Instead of calling for takeaway, a well-stocked pantry of essentials can be the great foundation for simple meals. I always like to have proteins in the freezer so that I can quickly defrost and make a ‘mix and match’ pasta, simply throwing everything you see together in a pot. Some of the tastiest meals you make are the ones you spend the least amount of time and thought on.

Break up your shopping list into eight parts

Shopping lists can become very overwhelming at times, especially with picky kids! I suggest to clients to split their shopping lists into eight parts to ensure they’ve got everything covered

  1. Fruit
  2. Vegetables
  3. Proteins (chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, Tempe…)
  4. Grains (Brown rice, quinoa, oats, wraps, whole wheat bread and pasta…)
  5. Dairy and eggs (cottage cheese, cheese slices, milk, plain Greek yoghurt…)
  6. Canned goods (tomato pasta sauce, beans, chickpeas…)
  7. Pantry staples (olive oil, herbs, tamari sauce, cinnamon…)
  8. Frozen (fruit or vegetables such as berries and peas… and proteins such as salmon)

When it comes to food shopping, a healthy and organised list is a lifesaver, a food wastage stopper and a great roadmap through the food aisles. When you sit down to prepare the list, involve your children, as not only are you teaching them valuable lessons but you’re also learning what they like and dislike, which makes meal times and food preparation so much more enjoyable.

About Katie Joubert

Katie Joubert is the Founder and Director of Joubert Nutrition. Katie has a Masters of Science in Applied Human Nutrition from Oxford Brookes University in the UK, with specialist training in paediatric nutrition. Growing up on a farm in South Africa, Katie learned about the origins of food early in life and has always had a passion for cooking with fresh produce. Katie specialises in providing nutritional advice and counselling to mothers and children, and is dedicated to helping families make positive changes for better health. Targeted at children between four and 10 years of age, Katie has launched her 6-week program, The Food Clinic, where she will teach young children about making good food choices, focusing on the development of life-long healthy habits that start at childhood. For more on Katie, visit: www.joubertnutrition.com.au, and follow her on Instagram: @kjoubertnutrition and Facebook: www.facebook.com/joubertnutrition.

Image: iStock.com/nedjelly

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