Recently I watched the below video about the current state of marketing food to children and was horrified at the lengths junk food companies are going to to market their damaging food to children.
To fully understand my disgust, please watch this video:
So, how do you market real food to children when junk food messages are so prominent and out of control? Here are my tips, 10 Ways To Market Real Food To Kids:
1. Sell The Benefits Of Real Food
My little boys love the concept of growing big muscles like their Daddy. So, I explain to them that eating real, whole food, full of vitamins will help their muscles to grow.
This helps them understand that the food that they eat has an impact on helping their bodies grow strong and healthy.
2. Discuss Real Versus “Pretend” Food
When I’m in the supermarket with the kids and they point at a random processed food item, rather than flat out saying no, I pick the product up off the shelf. Now, before you think that I actually BUY the product, what I actually do is read the label together with the kids.
They may only be 3 and 5 years old but they understand the concept of real versus pretend.
So, I read them the ingredients on the label and we quickly come to the conclusion together that the product is in fact “pretend” – full of strange words we don’t understand and numbers… we have a giggle together about not being able to actually EAT numbers and the product is placed back on the shelf and we walk on. This tactic has worked EVERY time – you can’t argue with Real Versus Pretend!
3. Employ Food Marketing Tactics
Use catchy slogans and fun food names to entice the kids. My Husband likes to tell them the story of when he was younger and used to love to eat broccoli because he pretended he was a giant eating tiny trees! Always makes the kids giggles! (Yes, my Husband is just about as crazy as me!!)
A while back my kids started yelling “Yucky Food” every time we drove past a certain fast food chain I’m not going to mention. They must have heard me say it in passing and now they proudly shout “Yucky Food” every single time we drive past one or walk past one on a shopping trip. They also ask if a food is a “yucky food” and that slogan helps them instantly understand that the food is not good and will not help them grow their muscles!
4. Shop for ingredients together
Look through cookbooks together and find recipes that you’ll enjoy cooking together. Then, go to the supermarket or farmers market together to shop for ingredients.
Smelling, touching and tasting new and exotic food together can be a wonderful way to learn about fruits and vegetables you haven’t cooked with before.
5. Share Cooking Experiences Together
Teaching kids to cook is a life skill which can set them up for a lifetime of joy in the kitchen.
I love having my kids with me in the kitchen. Getting them to mix, whisk and measure ingredients is a fun activity for them while also exposing them to real food ingredients and appreciating the work that goes into their meal preparation!
To read more about cooking together read my blog post 20 Cooking With Kids Activities.
6. Visit farmers markets
Visiting farmers markets together is a fun weekend family outing that my family enjoys.
It teaches the kids first hand about which fruit and vegetables are in season. We can also have a chat with the person who actually grew their food, so they get a sense of where there food comes from and the hard work that people put in to grow and nurture the produce we enjoy.
7. Visit Pick Your Own Farms
We’re just coming into berry picking season here in Australia and we LOVE visiting pick your own berry farms.
What better way to directly market food to kids than them picking it themselves right off the vine to eat!
8. Make Food Fun!
I spend a great deal of time making food fun for the kids, from using mini cookie cutters, food picks and cute cups to presenting meals in muffin tins.
I believe that if you make real food more entertaining and enticing, the kids will be more likely to eat their meals and partake in family mealtimes together. To read more about making food fun read my post 12 Ways To Make Food Fun For Kids.
9. Watch real food documentaries together
Watching age appropriate documentaries together can be an opportunity to learn together. An example is the acclaimed documentary Food Inc. Here’s the trailer, to give you an idea of the kind of documentary I mean:
10. Read Together
Reading books and eBooks together about food that nourishes their body, cookbooks with nourishing recipes and books that inspire you with cooking activities can help you learn about real food together.
Those are my 10 Ways To Market Real Food To Kids. Do you have any tips to add to the list? Please share them in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.
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