The Value of Shopping and Cooking with Kids

Involving your children in meal planning and preparation doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster.

The Whole Deal Value Guide

The Whole Deal opens in a new tab value guide opens in a new tab is your one-stop shop for recipes, coupons and tips for saving time and money.

It’s here to help you now but with an eye on the future too. Recently Kendall, a team member at our Ideal Market store in Boulder, Colorado, shared this story of a resourceful mother passing on the value of savings to her daughters:

“When she plans a trip to the grocery store, the mother tells her girls to look through The Whole Deal and find coupons for items they want her to purchase. The girls are put in charge of cutting out the coupons, remembering to get the items at the store and giving the coupons to the cashier.

The amount the family saves by using the coupons is then divided between the two girls as their weekly allowance. As they are learning to plan ahead and organize their needs, the girls are also learning to find healthier options for their snacks as they comb through the coupons.

The excitement and joy they carried to the grocery store with them and their delight when they saw the dollars in their hands was contagious, and I have enjoyed sharing this suggestion with other parents.”

Here’s our suggestion: although the shopping may take longer and the kitchen will likely be messier than if you did the tasks alone, involving your children in meal planning and preparation doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster.

It is said that kids are more likely to eat new foods that they’ve helped prepare. Plus, shopping and cooking with your child is a great time to teach. Depending on their age, you can blend in basic identification (colors, shapes, names), add a dash of pennywise practices or whip up a quick lesson on food sourcing or nutrition.

There’s your saving grace! So appoint your kiddos personal shoppers and sous-chefs and then delegate. Here are a few simple ways little ones can get involved, engaged and learning.

  • Help compile the grocery list or weekly menu

  • Identify and cut coupons

  • Find items from coupons on the shelf and hand in coupons at the register

  • Put groceries away

  • Prepare cold cereal

  • Spread peanut butter

  • Set the table

  • Help fill and/or carry plates to the table

  • Clean dishes or load the dishwasher

  • Hold the hand mixer or push the blender and food processor buttons

  • Assist with topping cupcakes, ice cream or pizza

  • And don’t forget… pouring, mixing, whisking, kneading, tearing, sifting, juicing, grating, mashing, peeling and rinsing too!

Note: be mindful of age appropriate activities, sharp edges and potential choking hazards.
Remember their help might not save time, but it will no doubt pay off later!

Do you have suggestions on how to get kids engaged in meal planning and preparation? We’d love to hear them.

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