Author Karen Le Billon believes in “taste training” — that we should condition children to enjoy healthy foods, rather than those loaded with sugar and fat. She elaborates on this concept in a book entitled Getting to Yum: 7 Secrets For Raising Eager Eaters, where she also examines the impact of junk food advertisements on children and their families — she feels that similar marketing slogans could be applied by parents to entice their children to eat healthy.
This is all well and good, but do we really need to use Le Billon’s strategies for a parenting tactic that should already be common knowledge in the 21st century? Yes, picky eaters can be difficult, but whose fault is this really? It certainly isn’t the fault of junk food advertising, which Le Billon and many other parents are all too quick to blame.
I know that advertising can have a profound effect on a young child’s mind, but it isn’t the demon that people make it out to be. Instead, the fault lies with the parents. Parents buy and cook unhealthy food, and then blame the food industry for making their children overweight.
Sure, these parents are quick to say that they must buy Kraft Dinner to prevent their child from throwing a temper tantrum, but that excuse is simply unreasonable. Parents have to lay down the law in terms of what their children can and cannot eat, and they should not be concerned with losing face if their child throws a tantrum in the store.
Parents buy and cook unhealthy food, then blame food industries for making their kids overweight.
Instead of using advertising slogan strategies (this broccoli is magically delicious!) to counter the effect that junk food advertisements have on their children, parents should consider saying “no” to their kids when it comes to unhealthy food. If parents are that concerned about advertising, then they should discard their cable television — something my parents did when I was born.
I understand that, in this day and age, communication technology is much more ubiquitous than it was 21 years ago — due to the internet and mobile handhelds — but parents can easily download apps such as Adblock for free, as well as limit their child’s access to certain games that may contain certain advertising.
Moreover, there are many websites that parents can use as educational resources to teach their kids about advertising. Many of these websites even have recipes for cheap and healthy meals that kids will enjoy. Parents should simply teach children what is unhealthy, limit their child’s access to ads, and watch which foods they purchase.
Parents do not need influences from the food industry to help them raise their kids, and we certainly do not need to read Karen Le Billon’s book, which merely reiterates the obvious.