There is power in the hero. My 4-year-old son wears Superman, Batman, and Spiderman pajamas. He has never actually seen any of the cartoons or movies. He just instinctively knows they are cool. They are powerful.
Instead of villainizing candy, cheese puffs, and soda, I suggest we focus on food heroes in our homes. Talk up the “SUPER FOODS” or foods that will deliver a lot of nutrition to fuel their growing bodies. Think veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and fruit.
Junk food is engineered to taste good. Of course our kids (and we adults) like the taste of salt, fat, and sugar. But it won’t be pleasant at home to scold them for wanting junk. Instead, redirect. Tell them the heroic foods that they can eat. Your kids will listen as you discuss how carrots are good for their eyes. You can even call them, “x-ray vision carrots” to keep with the super hero theme. Don’t roll your eyes. It will work.
In a study conducted by Brian Wansink at Cornell University, when carrots were called “x-ray vision carrots,” 4-year-olds ate 62% more carrots than when only called “carrots.” Let your imagination run wild as you enjoy co-creating names with your kiddos.
One day my boys leaped with joy when they saw a bag of baby carrots. “Crunchers!!!” I had once referred to them as ‘crunchers’ and forgotten. But the boys certainly didn’t. There is power in elevating a ‘super’food instead of villainizing junk.
When you are faced with the dinner time whining about why you aren’t serving marshmallows, try redirecting them to a superfood! Leave a comment here or on Facebook with the fun names you come up with!
Read more details about Wansink’s study here.