When Grocery Shopping Goes Wrong

I must be having an especially emotional week. Has grocery shopping ever almost brought you to tears? How about got the heart beating a little too fast because THE item you needed was not available? If you’re a parent who has a kid on a special diet, I’ve got to believe you’ve experienced the same frustrations as I have. For those who don’t know, let me give you a little insight into the grocery shopping experience for the gluten free/dairy free, organic diet that a lot of kids with autism are on.

Well, my current gripe that spurred me to write this post started this morning. I was off for my trip to Super Target that I make about every two weeks. Josiah was doing great–he’s really been impressive in the stores lately as long as he has his favorite snack–and I was enjoying the outing. All was going well until I turned the corner in the freezer aisle and I might have made an audible gasp.

No chicken nuggets? You didn’t hit the bullseye!

Behold, the rows of Ian’s GF/CF Chicken Meals (mashed potatoes and a little chocolate cake included), along with any other of the organic kids meals, were simply gone. Not “out,” but no sign that they ever existed there. NOOOOO! I traveled about 25 minutes to this Super Target because I will buy about 10-12 of these meals at a time for the freezer. Josiah goes to a center for kids with autism, and these are quick meals that he’ll actually eat–a real staple for him. I tracked down a Target worker. Had they been moved? Nope. They were no longer offering them, apparently, she said. She told me there was another mom that just mentioned the same thing, and that I’d have to fill out a comment card for corporate.

Alright, corporate is going to need to know that in Minnesota–where 1 in 81 kids are diagnosed with autism–you might sell some GF/CF meals at your Super Target. I drop about $60 on them a month by myself. They do sell these at a couple of other places, but Target’s price is about $1 cheaper, and when you’re paying about $4-5 for a microwave meal, every little bit matters.

More empty shelves? Who’s that bandit mom?

But, the story doesn’t end there. Well, I’d have to get these meals at the Fresh & Natural Foods store, where we get other items for Josiah. I knew they had them, even if they were more expensive. I got there, and that slot of Ian’s chicken meals was CLEANED OUT! A mom got there before I did. Must be the same one who gets all of the soy cheese/gluten free Ian’s pizzas when I want to buy those. Aaargh! I had to put in a special order for a case just to be certain I would have these next time.

Now, this wouldn’t bother me so much if grocery shopping for gluten/dairy free items wasn’t already so incredibly annoying, but there is no one-stop-shop for all of the things that Josiah will eat. The funny thing is that he’s so picky that he barely eats many foods anyway, so you’d think we wouldn’t have to travel all over God’s green earth looking for his food. This mom wishes she could make more of his food at home from scratch. But full time work, and the fact that Josiah has turned his nose up at my own expensive and time-consuming attempts at chicken nuggets, breads and cookies, has me a little gun shy to try to replace the tried and trues.

So, here are the rounds we have to make to get Josiah’s food:

1. Go to Fresh & Natural (25 minutes away) for things like Non-dairy rice cheese, soy pudding and yogurt, gluten-free crackers, gf/cf muffins and waffles, GF/CF cookie snacks and cake mix, Robert’s American Gourmet Fruity Booty and Simply Booty (puffed corn snacks), organic chips, etc.

2. Go to Whole Foods (25 minutes in a different direction) for Wellshire Kids Dinosaur-shaped GF/CF nuggets. They stopped selling these exact ones at a closer store, so we have to get a ton of these at one time.

3. Go to Super Target for organic apples, potatoes, bananas, Rice Milk singles, organic juice, and peanut butter. And, God willing, those Ian’s Chicken Meals again.

4. Go to Trader Joe’s (30 minutes in a completely different direction) for Rice Milk at about half the price than elsewhere, along with organic fruits and potatoes. Great stuff for us too, along with the occasional $3 wine (Three-Buck-Chuck).

All this to say that I wish I could just buy normal food that doesn’t command filet minon prices at the grocery store down the street. But, I am thankful that these gf/cf, organic items are available to us. Some people don’t have that luxury at all. I guess I need to go review and add to my “Things to be Thankful For” log so these little inconveniences don’t become the emotional straw that broke the camel’s back.

Done with my whining. Promise to do an uplifting blog next time, after all this is called “HOPING, not Coping.” =)


5 Responses

  1. I also end up driving all over for my son’s gf/cf diet. (although not nearly as far as you) I hope that your Super Target will start carrying what you need again! Nothing is worst than getting there and finding that what you were counting on being there isn’t and there is nowhere else to go!!!

  2. Ugh! I can totally relate! I hope that you find what you need (and fast)! =)
    We just did our drive-all-over-the-state to 5 different stores to get all our special foods. My youngest daughter Hope has severe food allergies – allergic to gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and nuts – so finding foods she can eat is like digging for gold.

  3. We’ve just started gf/cf in our house and we live 60 miles from the nearest source of gf products. At least once we get there we have mostly a good chance of filling up the list.

  4. I hope they start carrying your meals at Super Target again! I’ve noticed they carry those meals at Kowalski’s too, at least they do in Woodbury. Maybe you could check at the one in White Bear Lake. We’re regular shoppers at Fresh and Natural Foods, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s too, so I know what you mean about going all over town to satisfy a picky gf/cf eater.

  5. I’m always into discussions on anything organic, so this read made me feel at home.
    I’ll bookmark the site and subscribe to the feed!

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