I love the grocery store. Except when I hate it. My kids feel the same way. There are some weeks that they're chomping at the bit to come with me and other weeks where they're practically offended that I've asked. As I browse the aisles, I think about what's in season and I check out what looks good but I'm also thinking about what *I* want to eat and what *I* want to cook. This week I felt like having chicken thighs for dinner one night. And I was in the mood to make granola and spinach pie. I always keep my kids' preferences in mind when I'm shopping, but as the parent, I make the final decisions about what's in our house (and what's not).
On weeks that my kids come with me to shop, they're given more freedom to choose what we purchase. Tired of chicken legs? No problem, I'll be flexible. Want those pretzels that we haven't had in a while? Okay. But once I've done the grocery shopping for the week, their choices are limited to what we have.
After I shop, I manage the Food Library on our LaLa Lunchbox app and dim out those items that we won't have available for the week. It's a fast process, and it makes their meal planning easier as well. They make food choices based on what's in stock at home. But beyond lunches, my kids have started meal planning for their after school snacks. When all of this is chosen in advance, I can set up their snacks at night so there's (a little) less whining about how very hungry they are the minute they step off the bus. Win-win.
It's been a system that has been working for me, though on weekends when I'm feeling uninspired, I still hand over the phone *before* shopping instead of after. However your family has chosen to navigate the world of kids and food, finding a system that works for you as the parent is critical. If you're looking for a way to lessen the load of lunches and snacks, check out my top time and sanity-saving tips.