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Improve Healthy Eating by Involving Kids in Grocery Shopping

M. D. Anderson News Release 08/16/2007

Getting kids to eat their fruits and vegetables can be a challenge for any parent. However, involving children in grocery shopping is an important step in getting kids interested in fruits and vegetables.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention replaced the 5-A-Day program with the new Fruits & Veggies-More Matters™ campaign. The initiative recommends that people eat more fruit and vegetables by determining individual caloric needs based on age, gender and activity level to stay healthy and prevent diseases like cancer.
 
“It is important for kids to start eating healthy early in life for many reasons," said Kristen Bardon, R.D., L.D., senior clinical dietician in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. “One reason is to help prevent the long-term consequences of a poor diet such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.”

Allowing your child to become involved in the grocery shopping process is a creative and fun way to help them learn more about consuming a healthy diet and keeps them entertained. One suggestion is to have a grocery store scavenger hunt with your children. They will discover new ways to enjoy fruits and vegetables as well as help you learn more about what appeals to them.

“Parents can have their children help with grocery lists. This teaches them how to pick out produce and helps them to prepare the meal,” Bardon said.

Below are some specific ways to involve children while grocery shopping:

  • Show them a picture of a fruit or vegetable and have them find that item in the store.
  • Ask them to tell you the shape, color or size of the fruits and vegetables.
  • Have them count the vegetables they see in the store.
  • Encourage them to find fruits and vegetables they have not tried before.

Kids will make good choices, taking fruits and vegetables over less nutritious foods, when given a chance. Encourage healthy eating by creating a supportive environment, where parents and other caregivers model healthy eating.

For more information, visit M. D. Anderson’s Prevention site or the Department of Clinical Nutrition.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center