On the home front, it is a little easier to control what junior shovels down – you just don’t buy pizza popsicles or coke.
But the world beyond your home, is typically full of tantalizing food choices, many of which, you would not really approve of.
Use a little pop psychology
Insisting on an apple, instead of apple strudel, is going to leave you exhausted and alienated, as you are branded with the label of being “the UNCOOLEST mother, EVER”.
The good news, there is another way to achieve your mission of “healthy food consumption”, without demanding compliance. The secret to being the hero and not the villan, is to call in the help of your child’s favourite SUPERHERO.
The popeye effect
Popeye is no longer a superhero of note, but he did inspire a generation of youngsters to eat spinach. His antics after downing a can of THE GREEN STUFF, encouraged kids who longed to possess super human strength, to defeat “bad guys”, to tuck in.
Today’s superheros don’t officially power up with vegetables, but they’re still INTO healthy living.
Enough at least, to get kids thinking a little more “healthy”.
Batman goes to camp
A research team, which included “BATMAN”, headed off to camp…
The camp they visited, was a summer camp for children between the ages of 6-12. The absence of Moms, meant that the kids got to choose what they were going to eat for lunch.
The Wednesday menu was
“apple fries”, a glorified term, used to describe thinly sliced bits of apple
“French fries”, bits of potato sizzled to crispy perfection
Meeting batman before lunch
During one of the Wednesday lunch sessions – batman and a bunch of his friends, popped in for a chat.
NO, batman didn’t actually pull up in his batmobile -this is a scientific study, scientists could never afford the appearance fee of such a notable celebrity. The kids were shown photos of 12 real and fictional role models, which included a photo of batman.
As the team, flipped through the mugshots, they casually asked the kids what they thought the person would choose for lunch i.e.
“Would this person order apple fries or French fries?”
Batman would choose apple fries
It was pretty unanimous – batman, as a superhero, who has to watch his weight to ensure that he would look good in those tights, would choose apple fries.
But here is the amazing thing – when the kids went to get lunch, 45 percent of them opted for apple fries.
This may not sound that significant, but it was, the apple slices were not moving out of the camp kitchen. Normally, 90 % + of the kids, opted for a “French fries” at lunch.
Apple choice sliced off calories
The apple snack added around 34 calories to the plate, whereas the potato chip snack, provided 227 calories.
The kids that selected the apple slices, ended up slicing 193 calories off their lunch plate. 193 calories sliced off a meal, on a regular basis, could be the difference between heffa-lumpitis and being a normal weight.
Bring a superhero to dinner
It might not work everytime and on every child – but it is a psychological trick you might want to try out next time you sense a poor food choice on the horizon.
It makes a lot of sense to have Batman on your side…What would Batman eat?: priming children to make healthier fast food choices. Pediatric Obesity (2012) 7 (2): 121. B. Wansink, M. Shimizu, G. Camps.
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