In the past, we’ve covered many different life skills for teenagers, one of which was a session on meal planning. Another life skill that’s important for youth to learn is food shopping, so that’s what we’ll be covering in both this week’s and next week’s session idea.
There’s actually a lot you can cover when it comes to teaching young people about buying groceries, so we’re just going to focus on a couple of important areas these two weeks.
General Food Shopping Tips
Print off a list of these tips to give out to all the youth. If possible, laminate the lists so that they’re more likely to keep them afterwards.
- Don’t go grocery shopping when hungry
- Check use by dates, particularly on chilled items and bread
- Buy chilled & frozen food at the end of the shopping trip so that they don’t get warm / defrost
- Compare prices of premium brands vs cheaper brands/store brands
- Compare unit prices (e.g. $1.35 per 100g for smaller pack vs $1.13 per 100g for larger pack of the same item)
- Shop in the evening to take advantage of reduced price meats that can be frozen down
- Look at products on all levels of shelves, as expensive items are often placed at eye level to encourage you to buy them, with cheaper brands on the top or bottom shelves instead
- Consider buying in bulk so that you can cook in bulk and freeze down meals
- Plan meals in advance and the ingredients that you’ll need to cook them
- Make a list of items you need and stick to it (suggest using apps like Evernote if they think they’re likely to forget to take a paper list with them)
- Check mail, newspapers, etc for coupons
- Sign up for membership/loyalty cards if grocery stores have them (emphasize the difference between a membership/loyalty card and credit cards, as they may be encouraged to sign up for a credit card inadvertently at the checkout)
- Check nutritional information on packaging
- Don’t take advantage of promotions like “3 for the price of 2” if you only need one item
- Take a calculator with you (or use one that’s on your phone)
Add any extra tips that you can think of. Next, allocate one of these points to each young person (or split them into smaller groups to discuss if you have a larger group).
Ask them to spend some time considering why their point is important to bear in mind when food shopping, then have them present their thoughts to the rest of the group. Alternatively, each point could be covered in a group discussion where the whole group considers each point together.
Finally, have your youth try to come up with their own tips of food shopping life skills for teenagers. If they come up with a number of additional ideas, make a note of them and give them an updated laminated list at your next session.
Question: What other food shopping tips would you give to youth? Share your ideas in the comments below.
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