I’m a big fan of Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in feeding, and I want my kids to learn to like a wide variety of food. That’s why I don’t ever use trickery, bribery, threats, or manipulation to get my kids to eat anything that they don’t want. These methods have been shown to backfire. However, I am not above making food buy codeine uk more fun by creating cute or funny shapes with it, or by using plates with pictures of cartoon characters, rockets, or princesses. I never try too hard, and I always respect it when my kids say “no” to a food.
For many years, food manufacturers have been using cartoon characters to entice young children to try their products. Of course, these foods often appeal to kids anyway, being high in sugar or fat or both, and very easy to like even without fun characters. The cartoons are mainly there to get kids to recognize the food as something that they want, and nag their parents at the grocery store.
Fruits and vegetables are not as easy to like as snack foods, but it appears that using cartoon characters to pique kids interest can increase their appeal. A recent study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine looked at branding healthier choices like fruits and vegetables, and whether it would make kids more interested in eating them. The authors of the study looked at 208 8-11-year-old children at lunchtime at school. The kids were given a choice of a cookie, an apple, or both, either branded with an Elmo sticker, or with no sticker, every day for 5 consecutive days. When the apple had the sticker, twice as many kids chose it, compared to when there was no sticker. On the other hand, kids chose the cookie the same amount regardless of whether there was a sticker or not.
This study shows that when it comes to healthier foods, using cartoon characters may be an easy and effective way to make them more tempting to kids. Snack foods don’t really need a cartoon character in order to increase their appeal (as long as the child knows what the food is, I imagine: if it’s an unknown food, the cartoon may be needed to get attention).
If using cartoons might increase my kids’ intake of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods, then I don’t see anything wrong with trying this method. I can still follow the division of responsibility in feeding: I can still provide structure and choose the foods, and I can still allow my kids to choose what to eat from what is available.