Earth First

Grocery Shopping & Nutritional Trade-offs

As adults, we probably all do at least some of the food shopping, whether for the household or just for ourselves, but children rely on their parents, as the gatekeepers of food coming into the home, to purchase food for them.

In today's more health-conscious world, some parents are strict regulators of what their children can and can't have to eat. We all know that sugar, salt and saturated fats are bad, but these nutrients tend to be high in just the sorts of foods that children (and, let's be honest, adults) want most. Luckily parents are on hand to say "no" when it gets too much!

How do parents choose what their kids can or cannot eat?

Our research has shown that mums most often do the food shopping for their family and so we invited some mums to take part in a focus group. Interestingly, the volunteers explained that they don’t necessarily impose all their own buying or eating habits on their children and when it comes to choosing foods for them, they will make some "sacrifices" if it means that their children will get a benefit along the way. For example:

  • Orange juice can be high in sugar, but it also contains vitamin C
  • Breakfast cereals can also be high in sugar, but children tend to eat cereal with milk, which provides calcium
  • Canned baked beans contain added salt, but they are also high in protein, a source of  fibre and count towards your 5 A DAY (not to mention the fact that they’re convenient!)

What about adults choosing food for themselves?

It can be tempting to forbid ourselves our favourite foods in order to be healthy, but perhaps we should sometimes give ourselves a break if they're giving us benefits too. After all, we're always told that the most important thing is to get a balanced diet!

Do you allow yourself some sacrifices even when trying to eat more healthily? Are you a parent who has similar or different opinions on buying food for your children? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article has been adapted by the author for FoodUnfolded. The original article can be found here.

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