We’re out of food again?

19Apr2013

The CRUNCH:
We’re out of food again?

CRUNCH deets:
You just went shopping two days ago, bought everything on the list and more than a few splurges, then battled to find a spot for everything in the fridge. But now, when you open the door, instead of seeing cut-up veggies and overflowing milk bags, it’s a barren wasteland. At least you don’t have to deal with bothersome “Where’s the cheese?” type questions.

The Fix:
It takes a village – of farmers.

Fix deets:
Our family probably spends more time grocery shopping than we do cleaning. It’s not that we’re filthy, we just eat a lot of food! We maybe didn’t think it through when we nipped that picky-eating phase in the bud. So now we have skyrocketing grocery bills and healthy children who outgrow their clothes right after the stores have prematurely switched seasons. Our bad.

If you’re trying to reduce your shopping expedition footprint the first step is local bin delivery. We LOVE our weekly bin: reasonably-priced organic produce, great customer service, and friendly drivers who’ll bring it inside if you happen to be accessorizing with a baby à la sling. Most will also let you opt out of your least-favourite veggies (here’s looking at you brussel sprouts). Half the fun of a box program is the surprise element: teaching your kids to try new things, figuring out how the heck to serve it, and sometimes discovering a new love… garlic scape pesto anyone?

So, now that you “only” need to go to the store once or twice a week, time to face the inevitable: grocery shopping with kids. Unless you really enjoy shopping on your lunch hour or by the light of the moon, figuring out how to keep those kiddos content while doing the grocery run will save tons of frustration. The key? You got it: involve them. Make the list together after deciding your weekly meal plan (uh, you’re meal planning it… right?), let them be as involved as they want with the list (sometimes they’ll checkmark/sticker each item and sometimes they’ll just zone out in the cart… so be it), pick an aisle for a race or some invisible droid battles (helps if you can go when the store’s empty), let them pick one or two off-the-list items (props if it’s healthy), and if you’re shopping avec your spouse split up into teams and see who can complete their half of the list faster. Not only super-fun but super-fast too.

Recognize if your fam’s feeling buyer-burnout and line up a fellow villager to help out. Neighbours eat too and if they’ve got kids then they’re in the same boat. Set up a grocery/kid-swap where one of you does the shopping and the other looks after the kids. Alone time at the store and kids entertaining each other… that’s what we call win-win. Or, hire a local teenager to babysit while you shop: cheaper than Grocery Gateway’s delivery fee and your kids’ll thank you (maybe not in so many words). Another easy way to avoid dragging them with you every time is to mini-shop during their activities. It didn’t take long for us to figure out the closest grocery store to our six-year-old’s tae kwon do class is a mere two-minute walk across the street. Perfect for milk, bread, bananas, and anything we need to tide us over.

Now that spring has sprung (fingers crossed) another fun way to skip those checkout lines is to grow your own food. 19Apr2013aKids love gardening: pouring water, playing in dirt, sneaking cherry tomatoes off the vine… what’s not to love? Planting seeds is a cheap, fun activity, and also an optimistic way to kick winter to the curb. We’re not green-thumbs (at all) but enjoy experimenting with seeds in early spring and then planting purchased seedlings around Victoria Day (when it’s time to admit that our seeds, or maybe our farmers, were duds). And come harvest time you’ll have enough leftover booty to freeze for next winter. Nothing tastes fresher than your own green beans in the middle of January.

Remember this:
Switching it up keeps a repetitive chore from becoming too tedious. And making responsibilities more fun gets the job done with some bonus bonding. Also teaches your kids that glass-half-full concept. Those dwarves were definitely onto something with all that whistling… well, except maybe Grumpy.

Email us if you want a bin delivery recco… there are plenty of CSA’s cropping up!

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