Too many children habitually snack on candy and cookies instead of healthful foods like fruits, vegetables and grains. Some of America’s grocery stores are partnering with parents and schools to change this.

In concert with Field Trip Factory, stores are offering free field trips that teach kids how to make smart food choices, including organic options.

“The field trips reach a wide cross-section of the youth in our area,” says Bob Gumbleton, manager of Shaw’s Supermarket in Lynn, MA. “These children go home and influence their parents to adopt healthy habits.”

“When we reach the kids and schools in our community, they bring their parents back to buy the healthy products they try during the field trip,” adds Dale Watson, manager of the Albertsons store in Coeur D’Alene, ID.

During the hands-on field trips, children sample healthful foods and learn nutrition concepts. A little math is worked into the visit to help kids learn about pricing.

At Meijer stores in suburban Chicago, kids learn how exercise, balanced meals and healthful living will positively affect them, according to Jan Olszowski, director of the Rolling Meadows store.

“In essence, the trips show kids that shopping for groceries at a Meijer store is fun,” he says. “A lot of the chaperones have commented they have never been here before, and they will now return to shop here for healthier foods in the future.”

In Texas, H-E-B stores launched a Be A Healthy Buddy program, which focuses on making healthy decisions and teaching students about careers in the retail grocery business.

“It’s important to us to have a positive impact on kids and their health,” says Keith Jackson, who manages one of the chain’s San Antonio stores. “They are our future shoppers, as well as our future employees.”

Photo courtesy of ARA