mom son grocery shopping

Back when we only had one child, we went on a family vacation to Lake George. We stayed in a rustic cabin in a lakeside resort that had everything we needed: canoes, paddle boats, a beach, and a swimming pool for those of us who had an aversion to sand-filled diapers.

We became friendly with a couple who had six, yup, six, kids ranging from 12 to 3 years old. They were such a happy family! We didn’t hear a raised voice or witness a single tantrum thrown by any of them -- not even the parents! I instantly liked this family but became totally enamored with them when they confessed that they home-schooled their children. All six of them! I was in complete awe of this Herculean task.

One day, they piled into their oversized van for a trip to town to play miniature golf. 

“Geometry class!” the mother laughed.

We never exchanged phone numbers or addresses, but this family made a lasting impression on how I raised my children. While I would never, ever, and another ever home-school my children, I did make a conscious effort to slip as many teaching moments as I could into everyday tasks.

Many years later, when I discovered Facts Up Front, I was thrilled on many levels. But my first thought was that these labels would be key in teaching my kids about nutrition.

Facts Up Front are the labels you see on the front of packaged goods found in most grocery stores. You no longer have to flip the package around looking for important nutrition information in its inevitably teeny-tiny print. The key nutrition information is all right up front -- the things to limit and the nutrients to increase in our diets, making it easily visible to the youngest and oldest of eyes.

Grocery shopping with children in tow was never on the top of my fun things to do list, but once I turned it into a learning game, I actually started looking forward to it.

I went online to the Facts Up Front website and showed my kids the Interactive Label. It details each nutrient featured on the labels and explains how they can play a role in a beneficial diet. My kids had heard a lot about fat and sodium but didn’t understand how potassium, for instance, impacts our diet.

When we got to the grocery store, they were excited to see the same label they had learned about online, right up front on different packages of food! As my kids got savvier, I’d catch them reading the labels in the grocery store and computing in their minds how much each nutrient shown would contribute to their daily intake.

Teaching kids the value of good nutrition is a lesson that will last a lifetime. And when there are such great tools out there, there’s no excuse not to start sooner than later. Facts Up Front helped make me realize that even I have the skills to home-school my kids!

What’s the best nutrition lesson you’ve taught your kids?


Image ©iStock.com/slobo