Jen: Learning to Love (and Dose for) Free Samples

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The only thing worse than grocery shopping with little kids is grocery shopping with big kids. I remember the moment when I realized having your grade-schooler whine for every little treat was way more annoying than keeping the toddler from running down the aisles. For the last couple of years or so, I've tried rearranging my schedule so that I don't have to bring the big kids with me to the store. But maybe that's changing. I've recently had a few experiences that make me think maybe it's worth it to have the kids with me!

I've noticed a growing trend in providing free samples throughout the grocery store. We know at least three places that now do this. There are, of course, good and bad things about this.

It's a good thing particularly during the lunch hour before I've had a chance to eat and I'm starving. Then I love the free samples. It makes my tummy feel better. Presumably, my kids feel the same way! I love whatever keeps our errand-running schedule working more smoothly.

It used to be a really bad thing to have free samples with James around. I remember thinking, "Oh, no, how am I going to dose him for a tiny portion of a taquito, one bite of pizza and a mini-sausage?" While carb-counting free samples is still not very easy, I've gotten much better at estimating and feeling comfortable letting him graze the store. I think this kind of thing comes with practice and lots of experience handling food and watching what his blood sugar does, but it's working for us right now!

It's also a bad thing if the sample is for a particularly yummy treat that I really don't want to buy for the kids, or for that matter, to have before dinner or lunch when I'm planning on a healthy menu that I'd like them to try.

However, I've come to the conclusion that the good choices that my kids are now sampling (that they would NEVER try at home) outweigh the treats and other junky snacks. At one store, my kids tried (on the same day) moussaka and polenta. They would typically turn up their noses at both of these offerings, but the novelty of being able to eat at the store made it fun. I love it!

And that's also how we ended up with a half-empty container of Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Vegetable Dip at our house. A grocery store in our neighborhood was offering a free sample of this concoction with some pita chips recently. Both older kids (of course) had to try some while we were doing our shopping. They LOVED it, and I found myself with two kids begging me to buy a small container. I agreed "just this one time," then we all hurried home to eat some.

Thank you, free samples!


About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I'm thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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Jen: My Picky Eater Tries New Food
5 Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters
Kim: The "No, Thank You" Bite for Picky Eaters

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