Mentorship Model

Build a future worth protecting

Grocery Shopping

Week 1: Initial Assessment

Defining Objectives

What are the client’s previous experiences with grocery shopping? 

  • Client will speak to his previous experience(s) shopping for groceries, specifically for food items
  • Client will see how grocery shopping can contribute to greater self-sufficiency and support efforts in other areas like cooking, physical activity, and sleep
  • Client will be able to speak to his own motivations for learning to shop for groceries more effectively, connecting this domain to an internal motivation that he has previously identified
  • Client will express openness to the idea of going grocery shopping with his provider in the next session

Taking Action

What tools does the client currently possess in this domain? What will he need to learn in order to plan and shop for their own meals?

  • Provider will assess for the client’s motivation through stages of change model and provide psychoeducation in a way that meets the client where they are with regard to their knowledge of food and budgeting
  • Provider will use motivational interviewing skills like open ended questions, decisional balance and scaling questions to gauge client’s awareness of how grocery shopping can help contribute to things that he is motivated to achieve (ie: freedom from his parents, improved self image, more motivation and drive, feeling better about self, creating self sufficiency)
  • Provider will promote a discussion around the client’s previous shopping experiences, spotlighting the autonomy and freedom that shopping for one’s own groceries can provide
  • Provider introduce the format of how a collaborative grocery run might look, fostering a supportive environment for the client to develop their knowledge and confidence in the supermarket
Questions to Consider
  • Who typically does the shopping in the client’s family? Are they tasked with buying their own food or is the shopping typically done by someone else?
  • What foods or ingredients does the client typically purchase when left to his own devices? How much money does he typically spend at the store?
  • How well does the client understand the basics of a healthy diet? Is he able to interpret a nutrition label? Plan out a balanced meal?
  • What are the biggest hurdles this client is facing with regard to cooking more often?

Session Framework: Grocery Store Visit

To Be Repeated as Needed

Defining Objectives

  • Client will be able to create a grocery list based on his schedule and availability to cook for the next 3-5 days. Client will specifically shop for at least one meal to cook from scratch and create an approximate budget based on their list
  • Client will visit the grocery store with their provider, purchasing the items on their list and sticking as closely as possible to the agreed upon budget
  • Client will be able to recognize healthy practices like limiting purchases of sweets, processed foods, and sodas while refraining entirely from purchasing cigarettes and alcohol 
  • Client will express openness to the idea of revisiting the grocery store run periodically in the future when they need to restock their pantry, prepare a special meal, or make time for grocery shopping during an especially busy week

Taking Action

  • Provider will accompany client to the grocery store and support the client in purchasing groceries that adhere to his list and budget
  • Provider will model or demonstrate how to identify healthy foods (ie: shopping on the periphery of the store) and refrain from purchasing cigarettes or alcohol
  • Provider will elicit change talk and commitment from client by engaging in MI to challenge the client to build future plans to buy groceries for himself in the future
  • Provider will discuss times where it might be appropriate for the client to request a grocery store session to support his efforts in other domains


Questions to Consider Resistant Client Corner
  • How does the client behave or present while shopping? Is he withdrawn, communicative, frantic, etc.?
  • How does the client’s demeanor or attitude change in between grocery store visits?
  • What are some “go-to” healthy choices the client feels comfortable making when items on his list are out of stock or unavailable?

“What I Eat In a Day” vlogs from a favorite YouTuber or fitness influencer can present their own issues, but may be a useful entry point for a skeptical or resistant client

Creating a grocery store ranking system or tiers list may motivate a client to revisit this session format and explore different supermarkets to determine their favorite place to shop

When to Check In

This module is focused on really building motivation.  If you struggle to know how you’re going to get your client to be motivated to continue working on these domains related to cooking, you may want to consult your supervisor:

  • If you client is pushing back on wanting to work on these skills 
  • If your client’s schedule seems to be prohibitive from him coming in to work with you on this intervention 
  • If you’re having a hard time knowing how to manage a session like this or set it up
  • If you’re client is resistant to coming in, or is avoiding booking sessions that involve grocery shopping
  • If you’re getting mixed messages from parents that suggest they would prefer you to be working on something else