Grocery Shopping IS a Field Trip

by Michaela Hummer

Believe it or not, the mundane task that some people dread doing every week, can in fact be a fun field trip! How can that be? The grocery store is only 10 minutes down the road. Despite this, I’ve met so many people that will say they dislike going grocery shopping, and they dread doing it, but not me! I have always seen and continue to see grocery shopping as a fun adventure, and I’ll tell you why!  

I always say “If you haven’t grocery shopped with Jay you haven’t lived” 

Growing pains

From a young age, my Dad would always take us grocery shopping. As a kid you have no real awareness of the concept of a grocery store other than when you get to ride in the cool cart that looks like a fire truck. However, my first concrete memory of grocery shopping having an effect on me, was when I was in 5th grade. My Dad decided he wanted our family to eat all organic. It was a huge transition in our lifestyle, and as a 5th grader, that meant a huge change in the ‘kid type’ foods that I ate. At that time (2005) organic foods weren’t as popular as they are today and as a result, the products were harder to find.

In an attempt to ease the pains of me and my siblings losing our beloved Cap’n’ Crunch each morning, my Dad took us shopping. Over the course of a few weeks, he let us browse the aisles and try to find substitutes for some of our favorite products. This was the first time I remember having a real say on what went in our cart, which made it fun for me. I am sincerely grateful to my Dad for this shift in perspective. I believe this had an impact on how I look at food, how I read labels, and to this day gives me that excitement to try new products and foods. 

Fun and games

The other long lasting tradition of grocery shopping with Jay, has always been the excitement of it. We move at a fast pace, weaving through the aisles and getting all the items on our list. As a family who played baseball/softball, my Dad thought grocery shopping was some sort of extension to the field. He would start tossing food at us to put in the cart. First it was a lemon or a lime, then maybe some potatoes, or eventually a melon of some kind. Over time we graduated to boxes of cereal, or even a can of beans over the top of an aisle. We always caught the items.

Sometimes people in the store would look at us like we were crazy, to which my Dad would turn to them, shrug and say “They’re ball players”. It always gave us something to laugh about and tell as a crazy story at the family party. This was so quintessentially Jay, that it was hard not to laugh. After checking out, my Dad would let us hop on the back of the cart, and he would start running and hop on, and we would ride it all the way to the car, getting a mini thrill ride in the parking lot. These were the best ways to make a weekly chore exciting and fun.

**Disclaimer: Please use caution and discretion when in the grocery store. Jay was always careful about making sure no one was in the way or close vicinity of the items he was throwing, and made sure the items and distance were suitable for us to catch.** 

In conclusion, other than all the fun and games, going grocery shopping with my Dad was a great bonding experience. As I got older and started to care more about the food I ate, it was a good chance to ask him questions about produce I didn’t know how to use, or ways to use an ingredient in a meal. It helped me to actually get curious about food and find ways to put better things into my body. It also gave me and my Dad time to talk about healthy ways of eating. Grocery shopping can be a fun way to spend time with your family.

Grocery Shopping Field Trip Steps to Success: 

  1. Check out Pinterest, TikTok or even your favorite cookbook a few days before you plan to go shopping, to get some inspiration for meals and recipes you want to try. 
  2. Roughly plan out the meals you want to have for the week ahead. 
  3. Make your list. What are the ingredients you need to successfully make all of those meals? You can even try one of these fun templates.
  4. Plan your trip. Decide what day you want to go, and what time would be ideal. Are you an early morning shopper? Or do you like going late at night? Most people hate the grocery store because of crowds, so maybe try and plan your trip during off hours if you can! 
  5. Pick your store! If you have multiple stores nearby, pick which one you like, and which one will have the ingredients you need. Sometimes I feel like Trader Joe’s is more the vibe than Stop & Shop or Wegmans. It keeps it fun to mix-up your store each week! 
    1. You can also visit farmer’s markets or farm stands to change it up and get fresh and local produce when the weather allows. 
  6. Don’t forget your reusable bags! 🙂 

Once you’ve completed your grocery shopping, the fun doesn’t have to stop there! Unload your items and get excited to make some masterpieces in the kitchen that week! You can even have fun putting them away in a super organized pantry or fridge if that’s something you are interested in. Food is our fuel, and it’s important that we see it as such, rather than something we HAVE to put in our body. Try to find the joy in it. Thanks for reading! 

-Michaela Hummer

The fun with food does not have to stop at the grocery store, read “Great Tastes” to find more ways to enjoy food.

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