Fresh Thyme supplied the prize and gift cards mentioned in this article.

It’s back! We loved this idea so much last fall that we brought it back again for you – just in time for summer!

This giveaway is closed. Congrats to the winner Jackie!

Always Hungry, Never Happy Kids

Somehow, when summer roles around, I turn into a short-order cook and snack matron. It drives me crazy! So when I read about Carrie Pauly’s food experiment, I knew she was onto something.

Something magical happens to kids during the summer that makes them tremendously hungry.

The pantry is under constant attack and my mom job turns into defender of the snacks and keeper of the fridge. It’s really tiring to hear “I’m hungry” and “What can I eat” over and over again. Plus, it does a big number on the budget when kids eat a Costco-sized pack of applesauce packets in 3 days when you thought they should last the month.

That’s why I think Carrie Pauly’s food experiment is brilliant.

This mom’s system removes her from the food-driver’s seat WHILE teaching her kids basic life skills. She got her kids to stop asking her for food all day long while teaching them how to budget and meal plan. WINNING!

For her full account, read this, or read below for my summary.

Kid meal planning Fresh Thyme

Strategy Summary

Here’s How I Quit Making Breakfast and Lunch for My Kids:

*My kids are 6, 9, and 12. This obviously won’t work with littler kids- but I will say that I’ve been impressed with the teamwork I’ve seen between my kids and how well the older kids have helped the youngest.

Fresh Thyme Kids

  1. Each kid makes a menu for the weekdays that includes breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks a day. To help with menu planning, we’d talk about the week’s schedule and note any days they would need to pack a lunch. I required protein and fruits or veggies included in each meal.
  2. Once the menus were planned, the kids made a grocery list.
  3. Next, we headed to the store where each kid had $30 to spend for their week’s worth of food. We shopped at Meijer last week, but this week Fresh Thyme gave gift cards to use. I LOVED that my kids had more wholesome options to choose from (no Doritos this week, sorry kids!) I did have to give up some of the control, though – they bought white bread and sugar cereal. I balanced this with the rule they must eat whatever I make for dinner, so I made sure to make my meals count!
  4. Grocery Shopping with kids this way is FUN! They are walking around the store, totally engaged with a clipboard and a calculator (if you go over, you pay me back by working it off). The kids shopped the sales (BOGO mac’n’cheese was cause for celebration). Shopping this way will take a lot longer than normal but it is such a great learning experience, and so much better than dragging kids along while you do all of the choosing. Since they’re invested, they will eat what they buy.Fresh Thyme Kid Shopping
  5. To make sure that the kids showed up at dinner hungry enough to eat what I was making, we had the 1.5 hour rule – meaning that no snacking or eating was allowed within 90 minutes of dinnertime.
  6. Plates, Forks and Clearing the Table – we added this post-dinner routine to help combat the huge pile of dishes my kids generate while at home in the summer. One child in my family would routinely take multiple plates and bowls to keep items separate while eating. To fight this, I instituted a “you take it, you replace it” policy. This simply means that as you clear your dishes from the table, you put them into the empty dishwasher. Or, if the dishwasher is full, you put away the number of clean items to match the items that you used. This has worked like magic! Over-use of dishes has dropped dramatically.

I’m sold on this strategy. We will be doing it again next summer. I love having tools in my parenting arsenal.

MORE DETAILS ABOUT Fresh Thyme in Grand Rapids:

When Fresh Thyme came to Grand Rapids in early 2016, I had no idea what it was all about. Since that visit (Fresh Thyme Grand Rapids NOW OPEN read this for a rundown of the store’s offerings and atmosphere) I’ve fallen in love with their produce section.

I shop at Fresh Thyme at least twice a month and LOVE that they have double sales on Wednesdays.

Other things to know:

  • Kids that find the hidden tractor in the store tell the cashier and earn a prize.
  • They now offer a little farmer stand with free healthy snacks for kiddos when they come in Fresh Thyme Farm stand for kids
  • The GR Fresh Thyme is located at 2470 Burton St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 (in the old MAC athletic club’s location.)

Enter to WIN a $50 Fresh Thyme Gift Card & Bag of Fresh Thyme Goodies

The bag will be stuffed full with an assortment of Fresh Thyme Private label products! The winner must pick up the bag of goods and gift card from the Fresh Thyme store in person.

Fresh Thyme Grand Rapids Prize

1: For a first entry, leave a comment telling us how you think the FOOD EXPERIMENT would work in your home.

2. Get a second entry by sharing with friends. Leave a separate comment below telling us how you shared.

(Note: Only comments on this grkids.com article will be counted for this giveaway.)

This giveaway will close on May 10, 2017 at midnight and the winners will be notified via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond by email accepting the prize. No purchase necessary to enter the contest. Leaving a comment on this blog post is not a requirement of entry. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to grkids.com and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used to enter the contest and notify winners. Entrants will release Facebook from all liability. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and reside in Michigan. Only one entry per household or IP address. Entrants may also enter the contest by sending an email to win at grkids dot com containing their name, address, phone number and email address along with the words: Fifty Dollar Fresh Thyme Giveaway in the subject line. Grand Rapids Kids’ liability is limited to the value of the prize.

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Fresh Thyme Kids