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8 Ways to Market Healthy Food to Kids

Our children are bombarded by sophisticated marketing from large food corporations, every day. These companies spend billions of dollars, marketing to children, annually. Unlike some countries, such as the UK, marketing to children is not restricted, in the USA. The more screen-time your child, is exposed to, the more he or she is likely to be exposed to this marketing. Slowly and subtly this marketing, may make your child curious or even crave these foods. Then comes the pester power!


Processed food

In order to increase profits, and increase the shelf-life, “taste” and repeat purchasing of their products, these food corporations sell food which is highly processed. Highly processed foods undergo, some often surprising processes. The natural nutrients are reduced by the processing; artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, texture enhancers, and chemicals, to prolong the shelf-life of the food are then added. Many of these additives, have no nutritional value and may be harmful to health, causing inflammation and chronic disease. Many companies then add in synthetic nutrients, so that they can appear on the food label, even though they may be less available to the body (bioavailable), than the nutrients in the original natural, unprocessed food. There is little doubt that highly processed food, is less nutritious than natural foods, and increasing evidence that they may be harmful to health, long-term.


Ideas for how to market the healthy stuff

I have two very fussy teens, so I know how hard it can be to get your child to eat healthily. So here are eight ideas for how we parents can encourage our children to eat more healthy food and competing against the corporate marketing machine:

  1. be a good role model: eat fresh food, in front of your child and tell them how delicious it is.

  2. take them shopping: get them to smell and touch the fresh food and to help you choose what to buy. Explain the health benefits as you go. Children often respond best to positive reinforcement, so, when you come to the processed food, make no comment. If they want to buy something you don’t approve of, gently explain why, but avoid bullying or dramatising the effects. Remember you are the boss.

  3. take a trip to a farmers market: encourage your child, to talk to the farmers and make it a fun event.

  4. if you are watching an advertisement for processed food with your child, explain to them that these companies, spend billions of dollars trying to brainwash us into buying their unhealthy food, so they can make profit (advice adapted from Dr Daniel Siegel in Brainstorm).

  5. grow food at home: children often love being involved with planting, tending and harvesting home grown food. You don’t need a big garden, start small with a pot of basil on the windowsill.

  6. offer your kids new food in fun ways: try fruit kebabs (small pieces of fruit on a stick) or fruit smoothies, with a few leaves of spinach added (they won’t notice the taste!)

  7. cook together: start small, but making cupcakes with basic ingredients or putting together a handmade pizza, where your child, adds their own topping and then makes one for you.

  8. lastly, persevere. Your child may never thank you for it, but you can sleep better knowing you tried!

For more information on the latest trends in health follow my blog,

Marketing healthy food to children

Marketing healthy food to children


Dr Leonaura Rhodes