How meal planning and grocery shopping with kids can help encourage them to try new foods and maybe even help you make something new for dinner tonight.
As you’ll know if you’ve visited Sneaky Veg before I’m always looking for ways to improve my children’s diet, get them eating more fruit and vegetables and help them enjoy healthier meals. Yet I often draw a blank when I’m trying to think what to cook for dinner. I’m rubbish at meal planning and yes, even food bloggers sometimes look in the fridge at 5pm and sigh in despair!
So I was really pleased to learn about The Co-operative’s recipe website – Dinner4Tonight, which features 58 quick and simple recipes to inspire you to try something different for dinner.
There are 15 veggie options, including yummy sounding yet simple dinners like red pepper Spanish frittata, veggie quesadillas and Spanish baked eggs.
I sat down with Miss R and we looked through the recipes. I asked her to choose something vegetarian so we could cook and eat it together. She chose the carrot and cumin soup. I was a little surprised at this choice. All three of my kids love tomato soup but I haven’t had much luck getting R, 5 and Miss R, 4 to eat any other flavours. However, they have both recently started eating carrots (albeit only with ketchup, R, or hummus, Miss R) so I suppose Miss R just decided to take the next step.
We visited our local Co-operative store with a list of the ingredients we needed to buy: red lentils, carrots, tomato purée and vegetable stock cubes. She had a brilliant time looking for the ingredients – and was disappointed when we’d found them all!
This shopping trip provided the perfect opportunity to talk to her about where the ingredients came from.
The carrots are clearly marked with a Union Jack on the packaging – and with a little help she managed to work out that this meant that they were from the UK. The tomato purée is from Italy – again pretty straightforward.
Things got really interesting though when we talked about where lentils were produced. She suggested India, as they eat lots of dahl there! I thought she could well be right, but the Co-op lentils we bought come from Canada and with a little bit of Google research we discovered that Canada is actually the biggest producer of lentils in the world now, something that I would never have guessed.
So what did she make of the soup? Well – she absolutely loved it and so did Baby S and I! This is the first time that Miss R has eaten a whole bowl of soup (other than tomato) and loved it. All three of us had clean bowls. I amended the recipe slightly by leaving out the feta cheese and blending the whole soup, rather than just a ladleful. Incidentally R was at school tucking into fish and chips when we ate this soup – the next step will be getting him to eat carrot soup, which will be quite a different story I’m sure! If you’d like to make the soup you can get the recipe on the Dinner 4 Tonight site.
While we were shopping we also broached the issue of Fairtrade. We visited The Co-op during Fairtrade Fortnight so I was keen to mention this to her. We needed to buy some icing sugar and this had the Fairtrade logo on it. She agreed that it was definitely a good thing that growers in other countries were paid a fair wage for their crops – but I’m not really sure how much she understood – she is only 4 after all!
Do you go grocery shopping with your kids?
Disclaimer: This post was produced in collaboration with The Co-operative. All opinions are honest and are my own.