Let's start things off with a confession.
I genuinely used to hate grocery shopping. The planning, the prepping, the shopping, the carrying the bags into the house, the realization I forgot a very important item.
If I'm being completely honest, it's still not something I'm super thrilled about each week, but I can now say it's usually an enjoyable experience. With a toddler in tow, even!
Here is my step-by-step guide for enjoying grocery shopping.
1) Make room. Clean out your fridge, freezer, and pantry of trash (anything that may have gone stale, has gone bad, gotten freezer burnt, or leftovers that have been sitting around for a little too long). I usually do this the night before or the morning of I head to the grocery. It also helps me see my 'inventory' and helps me start my grocery list. Doing this before grocery shopping, makes putting away the groceries that much easier and quicker.
2) Make a grocery list. I can not stress enough that this will make every bit of your shopping experience go smoother. Even if you don't stick to the list (I consistently add things to my cart that aren't on my list), this helps ensure that you don't forget a necessary ingredient for Thursday night's dinner. It also keeps you from having to run to the store multiple times a week. Like I said, I start my list off things I see I'm out of or that have spoiled when cleaning out my fridge and cabinets. I also keep a running list of things I may have used the last of during the week and I add this onto my list for the current week. I'm also a meal planner so I look at my list of dinners for the week ahead and see what I will need to make those meals happen (I highly recommend meal planning as a time saving, money saving, sanity saving way to live - particularly if you have kids.).
3) Head to the store. Or to Starbucks, like I usually do and then to the store. When shopping with my toddler, I always make sure I have a two hour window to do my shopping before she needs a meal or a nap. So we usually go in the mornings once breakfast is through and we're changed and ready to go. We hit up Aldi first for all of our basics and common list items and then head to Kroger for the special items on our list that Aldi doesn't carry or for a certain brand that we prefer. This is obviously not necessary for some people and shopping at one store does make things quicker and easier, but we like the cut in our budget enough to put forth the effort. We're also blessed with a couple cashiers at each store that have come to know us and love talking with Belle at the checkout - something she definitely enjoys.
4) Include your toddler in the grocery shopping. Doing this makes it something she looks forward to and enjoys - which in turn makes the experience much more enjoyable for me. She always holds the quarter and places it in the slot for our shopping cart at Aldi. Now that she's a little more capable, I've also started handing her each unbreakable item and she turns around and tosses it in the cart. This keeps her hands busy and thus she is a much happier shopper. She also helps place things on the conveyor belt when checking out.
5) Let them help and pick out a snack. Once home I place the bags that are full of things she can pick up and help put away without breaking, on the floor and the rest of the bags up on the counters. This allows her to help, without me worrying about her grabbing a glass jar and dropping it on the floor. If something yummy catches her eye, I will generally give her a cup of it and she will eat on the floor while I continue putting things away. I mean, heck, I do this too. Haha.
She loves it because she basically gets to choose the makings of her snack or meal that day. Once the groceries are unloaded, the re-usable bags are placed in a pile for her to jump on. This keeps her happy and busy once again while I finish up anything else to do with putting things away (or making lunch).
So there you have it! That's what our grocery shopping day looks like in a nutshell.
What are your favorite ways to keep your kids happy during a sometimes monotonous activity?