A television advertising campaign that raises vegetables as bad may be fun, but there are better ways to encourage children to eat healthy food.
Vegetables are not healthy, tasty, fun or even more colorful, children. No, it’s evil – they come to get you! So says an announcement on ITV and supported by leading UK supermarkets and Birds Eye, with approvals from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver.
The 60-second ad was set up as a work film, storming a vandalized Green Lantern – a car bomb, a rogue Brussels sprout. He then asks the countrymen to “eat them to defeat them.” The campaign, through the advertising agency Adam and EveDBB (from John Lewis fame fame) was awarded £ 2m of broadcast on ITV and will appear in cinemas and on billboards. But do we really want children to see vegetables as bad people? Surely there are better ways to get children hesitant to eat vegetables? Here’s how.
1. Be casual
Do not tell, encourage, disturb, or bribe your children to eat vegetables. If you do, you simply invite them to a battle in power. You may get a dose of sweets or a few pieces of carrot inside, but it is a short-term solution. Instead, place vegetables on their dishes only and act as if you do not care too much whether you eat them or not. When you make a child eat vegetables, they look at you as the winners and they are the losers, so when they have the freedom to choose whether to eat them or not, they will generally choose to win not to eat them.
2. Exposure is the key
They continued to offer a wide range of vegetables boldly and proudly – whether they ate it or not. If the vegetables always come in a sack or hidden in the pasta sauce, you can not expect them to eat a dish of zucchini or Swedish when they meet with the body. Exposure to vegetables is a vital first step in making your child comfortable and familiar. You may have to give them certain vegetables several times before they accept the idea of eating them. It deserves all the effort.
3. Preserve their preferences as preferences.
Just because you noticed they prefer desserts to peas, do not stop giving them the peas. Otherwise, before you know them, these preferences will be built into likes and dislikes.
4. Reduce competition
Give them small entrees of raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and peppers in a bowl or dipping dips before dinner while they are still playing or watching television. Not only when they are hungry, vegetables do not compete for their dishes with other foods they like more.
Claire Potter is the author of “Getting Little Corrupts to Eat: Changing Your Children from Food Lies in Food”