If you have small children, planning a trip to the grocery store can be more like planning a battle, especially if you have to make the journey without your fellow parent by your side. Between calming the kids’ tantrums, cleaning up messes, trying to avoid germs and attempting to carry a ton of bags and a child, it’s really a wonder more of us don’t have empty fridges and take-out every night of the week. Even when you do succeed, the process is so stressful we usually have to run out of some staple like toilet paper before we attempt the trip. Is there any way to make it easier? Yes! Thirteen ways, in fact, here straight from the smarties over on What’s Up Moms! Check out what they have to say and stop dreading those grocery store runs forever.

Here’s a few of our absolute favorite grocery store tricks:

1. Cover The Handle Bar

It’s a fact of life that all kids love to play with the handle bar of shopping carts. The only problem of them touching that bar? You guess it, it’s covered in germs. Often, stores will offer antibacterial wipes to clean the handle bar down with, but you might not want your child exposed to those chemicals – the odds of them accidentally ingesting it are pretty high.

Use this quick trick instead: cut an old pool noodle and cover the handle bar. This creates a barrier from germs and a safety bumper, too!

2. Use the Butcher

This one seems too simple, but most of us wouldn’t think about it. The butcher is in the meat department to help you with your meat selections – not just to make suggestions or weigh them for you, either. If you ask, the butcher will trim the fat off your cut, or even portion the meat out however your family prefers it. Instant chicken nuggets, anyone? Remember, all you have to do is ask.

3. Save Cart Space

When you need grocery cart space for food (and also kids, toys, ect.) there’s no room to spare. That means those recyclable bags you brought for checkout time? Need to go.

Head to the produce department and grab some of those little plastic bags. Use those as rope to tie your shopping bags from the handle bar, making instant space for more food. Or firetrucks.

4. Twist Tie Toys

Arguably the worst part of shopping as a parent is entertaining your kids while you’re trying to navigate the store, find deals, and plan weekly, healthy meals in your head. It’s all too much sometimes!

Keep your kids (ages three and up, ideally) preoccupied easily with one of the twist ties from the produce section. Have them twist and untwist the tie around the handle bar, or mold it into fun shapes! They’ll be caught up until checkout time.

5. Cheerios Necklace

This is suck a cute hack! Avoid the embarrassing snack spill (which usually comes from the mid-store meltdown) by making a little Cheerios necklace using cereal and dental floss. The kids can snack off the necklace, staying full and preoccupied, without making a mess.


What do you think of these shopping hacks? Share your own shopping tricks in the comments section below.