Andrea Astrachan is not just Consumer Advisor for Stop & Shop; you could say she is their Chief Mom Officer as well.
As a mother, Andrea knows what other moms value in terms of healthy food choices for children. She understands the challenge moms face trying to get their kids to eat healthy and stay within a budget. I’m already getting challenged by Maddy when I try and feed her peas and carrots when all she wants are cheerios.
You can understand my excitement when I was invited to join other NJ Mom Bloggers for a Stop & Shop luncheon at the Frog and Peach restaurant in New Brunswick. We met with the brilliant women behind the Stop & Shop brand: Andrea Astrachan, Peg Merzbacher(PeaPod) and Faith Weiner and in attendance were fellow NJ Bloggers: Vanessa Druckman- ChefDruck, Kate-Keeping the Garden State in the Garden State, Deb Smith-Jersey Bites, Monica Brand-Paper Bridges, Bay Staley-Queen Mother Blog, Cecile Proyer-The Shopping Duck, Liz Thompson-This Full House and moi!
First of all, let’s talk about The Frog and Peach. One of the top restaurants in NJ, F&P is tucked away in a quiet townhouse development of New Brunswick along Rt 18 making parking very easy. After I dropped Maddy off with the FREE BABYSITTING SERVICE I was whisked into The Garden Room which had a setting a lot like a greenhouse: bright, fresh air, all windows and lots of green. What caught my eye immediately (aside from the super cute S&S reusable shopping bags) were the green water glasses on our long table. I love pops of color and green just says: organic, fresh, rejuvenated and clean. Our lunch was a 3-course meal starting with a Local Spring Greens Salad with Jicama, Dry Jack Cheese, Crushed Guajillo Chile, Citrus Vinaigrette , followed by a Pan Seared Organic Chicken Breast with Asparagus, Tasso Ham, Whipped Potatoes, Amontiallado Sherry Chicken Jus, and ended with a desert of a Trio of Sorbet Terrine. Yeah so much for counting points that day! But it was so delicious and worth it.
While we ate, Andrea educated us on the many ways that families can eat healthy while on a budget. We were first surprised to learn that people are eating less fruits and veggies and substituting with fast food thinking that it’s cheaper. While a family of 4 will spend about $16 dollars on fast food, Andrea showed us a simple meal that cost about $9: a bag of frozen broccoli, box of whole wheat penne and grilled chicken. It really is that simple and inexpensive to make a healthy meal. Rob and I eat very health dinners and it’s usually with frozen veggies, chicken or steak, and some whole-wheat pasta. If you prefer to shop Organic but cannot afford a trip to Whole Foods each weak, Stop & Shop has their own line called Nature’s Promise (I thoroughly enjoyed our free samples, especially the Blue Corn Chips).
If buying name brand is more your speed, but you’re not really sure what are the best healthy options, Stop & Shop has also instituted a new logo system which has been placed on more than 3,000 items in the store. So when you see the “healthy ideas” logo, you know you’re choosing well for you and your family. And this system is an exclusive Stop & Shop initiative.
So now you might be thinking: okay, so how do I get my kids to eat the healthy stuff anyway? Here are some helpful tips from Andrea that we can use with our children:
- Let your kids help with the food list and when you’re in the store, let them find the “healthy ideas” labels.
- Many times kids prefer raw to cooked vegetables and separate and not mixed together food.
- Did you know that a child may have to be introduced to a food 6-10 times before they begin to like it? So be patient!
- Breakfast is so important, but if you find your morning routine is hindering your sit-down time, set the table the night before with bowls, spoons, cups etc. That way, you can sit down and save that prep time for something else.
- Let your children pick out the fruits and veggies.
- Get your dairy intake but trying something different like string cheese or yogurt.
- Select crunchy but less fattening snacks like popcorn, rice cakes or baked chips.
- Most importantly is to set a good example for your children by eating healthy yourself.
Over the next few weeks and months, look for my “Healthy Family Tip” where I will share with you a valuable way to get more fruits and veggies in your diet, courtesy of Stop & Shop!
And stay tuned for my review of my first PeaPod experience! I can’t wait to try it and share some of Peg's tips!
To learn more about the healthy and budget friendly options at your neighborhood Stop & Shop, call today about scheduling a store tour!
Thanks to 360 Public Relations for making this event happen!