Whether it’s promising sweets after a meal, or not allowing fussy eaters to leave the table until their brussel sprouts are finished, bribing kids to eat vegetables doesn’t work. You can’t build good, lifelong eating habits using a short term fix.
So rather than making vegetables into the enemy, or positioning them as an obligation to be fulfilled before the fun part of the meal, why not try a more flexible, creative approach.
If you’ve ever had to drag a screaming child through a supermarket aisle where all the sugary junk food has been placed directly at their eye level (and what parent hasn’t) then you’ll know how effective good marketing can be. Kids will be drawn to anything that has a colourful wrapper and a cute cartoon character on it. If that cute character also has a TV series and a catchy theme song, well, you can forget about saying no without a tantrum.
These are the tactics big companies have been using to market junk food to kids since long before we were in nappies ourselves. It’s time we reclaimed them and used them to promote healthy food instead.
The fact is, sugary junk food has no character at all, whereas vegetables are literally bursting with colour, life and energy. They even have names that sound like people names. There’s Aspara Gus, Sue Kini, Tom Ato and Ru Barb.
Some of them even have names that sound like superheroes (Rocket Lettuce) while others sound like famous celebrities: Tina Turnip, Elvis Parsley, Okra Winfrey and Sir Paul McCarrotney, to name but a few (believe me, I could go on all day).