My son is flopped on the beanbag tuned to the Discovery Channel on TV. I justify this past time as post-preschool “downtime.” He’s watching The Magic School Bus whose episode today is all about energy expansion. So it’s educational downtime. It’s also cold and cloudy out with a big chance of rain.
Truth be told, I need to get to my work so I’ve turned on the tube.
From the behemoth beanbag I hear my son call, “Can we get that cereal? I want it!” I look up to see the tail end of a sugary cereal commercial. It’s a rare occasion when my kids see such commercials given their general scarcity on cable kiddie channels. But this one had him hook-line-and-sinker.
What amazes me is how eagerly and willingly William wants to try this new cereal. It’s a near extinct event when my son samples a “foreign” food product. Often dinnertime at our home is an endurance test of patience and wills.
The only information he’s ingested (pun intended) about this sugary-cereal product is that a colorful character and his bird flock like it. It comes in an array of (artificial) colors and is fruit flavored. Clearly my fruitophobic son, who physically shudders at the site of an apple near his plate, did not hear this last part.
At the table, I recognize that our peer-pressure approach of “Try a little chicken. Your friends Tyler and Cole eat chicken! You can then run as fast as Tyler and Cole!” just isn’t cutting it anymore. Our son now simply responds with a cheery, “I don’t mind if they’re faster than me” before asking for buttered bread as an alternative main course.
My husband invented an ingenious game where he offers our son a high-five hand slap before William attempts a bite of chicken or peas or other good-for-you, non-carb food. Then, after eating that miniscule bite (often to dramatic affect ala a Fear Factor contestant eating live squid) William’s eager high-five takes on “upper hero strength,” which is acted out with bold effect by his Dad.
All of this effort and here with only a glimpse of the cereal my son is begging for on TV.
And then it occurs to me: advertisers could save us from a life of cajoling for “one bite, please” and wasted good food by advertising good food!
What if the same energy and expense of those sugar cereal, snack and fast food commercials were put into commercials for wholesome, good-for-you food? Is it just too good to be true?
So I plead (yes, I’m at the breaking point. Far too many dinner table battles have been had) to the advertising departments of all good-for-you foods: we need you on the kid TV channels! Advertise to the kids and not us moms who are tired of taking the brunt at mealtime. No more images of doting mothers overlooking happy eaters please. I want my kids to try good food for their own benefit, not mine. Build a desire for good food in my child and my pocketbook will follow.
Readily, I can come up with a few ad suggestions, too! I want a dancing bear with an energetic smile to proclaim the power of chicken without a fatty breaded coating! An Olympic athlete with incredible physique and glowing skin to give a thumbs-up to how “cool” steamed vegetables are!
On a fifteen-second commercial, a teen bop queen could show how to make a quick and healthy sandwich to go with organic ingredients—in the time it takes to show a clown bonding with pre-teens over French fries!
While I’m dreaming, I’d like a popular superhero to pop on the TV at 4 p.m. announcing, “Time to play outside! Let’s go!” The TV would go blank. And Mom wouldn’t get blamed.
How about an ad for an 800 number to call for a “promise to only eat good food and say please chart” for only $19.99! (And if you call now you can get a second chart plus the insta-tv-off zapper for free!).
Can you imagine the turnaround in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our country if good food was promoted with the same intensity as all of the artificial colors and flavors ingested daily by our weight-challenged population?
A nation of healthy bodies chock full of vitamins and minerals.