Sigh. Not only is it the first day of September, but I was cold when left the house this morning. Summer – such as it was – is pretty much over. I’m just not ready. But, try as I might to deny that I need to stock up on ingredients, school lunches are just around the corner for Canadian families like mine. Plus, this year the food children eat for lunch and as after school snacks is being scrutinized and discussed like never before.
Recently two new marketing initiatives aimed at kids caught my attention. First the Kinder chocolate folks sent me a press release about their new line of mini-treats and info about using these bars as a reward for kids who behave well. To be honest, I worry about linking indulgent food to love and reward for anyone, especially kids. That said, the smaller bar sizes do help teach kids portion control.
Then, I got info about these new snacks from Summer Fresh Salads that are perfect for lunch boxes and entice younger kids to eat protein-rich hummus and to dip veggies by using cartoon images they love. Despite the fact these products have a lot of packaging, I feel a lot better about this attempt to sell kid food to parents than I do about the Kinder mini-bar bribe idea.
If you’re concerned about controlling your child’s weight you might be interested in this study of 9- to 15-year-olds that found that all kids, regardless of their weight, tended to eat more when they had the chance to snack with a friend. Due to shyness or some other unknown reason, they ate far less when they were snacking with a peer they did not know. Interestingly, the biggest calorie intakes were seen when an overweight child snacked with an overweight friend:
• Overweight friends consumed 738 calories, on average, when snacking together
• When an overweight child was paired with a normal-weight friend they consumed an average of 444 calories.
• Normal-weight kids consumed an average of about 500 calories when paired with a friend, regardless of the friend’s weight.
How do you feel about rewarding kids with snacks or buying them foods specifically marketed as “kid foods?”