The study of pantry politics – if it’s not there they can’t eat it!
How much does your pantry say about how much you love your kids? That might sound a bit strong, but think about the impact of a never-ending supply of less than desirable foods…
If you stop buying foods you know aren’t good for your kids then they won’t eat them as often. Simple. You can’t control what they eat out of the home but you can have a pretty strong influence under your roof when you are paying the food bills.
If every time your child goes to your pantry they can choose high-fat or high-sugar or high-sodium foods, guess what? They are going to eat them.
Alternatively, if the bread is fresh and the fruit bowl is on the bench full of succulent fruit – then that is what they will go for. Being in your face is everything.
Sugar-laden milk drinks have been totally under fire in recent years. And perhaps justifiably so. Compared to plain milk they are not a great choice. Like the carrot and chocolate bar, if presented with a choice of flavored versus non-flavored milk you can guess what they will pick. Engineer the choices. Keep it in perspective though, flavored milk is a lot better than carbonated soft drinks.
A perverse example in our household – if I buy grapes or cherry tomatoes and want them for a specific meal I know they won’t last long, so I have to hide them.
There have even been studies that show how packaging, opaque or see-through, influences us. An obvious illustration of this is a glass jar of cookies sitting on your kitchen bench, compared to a non see-through packet stored in the pantry. You can work out what usually happens here. However when both are in stored in the pantry, the biscuits in glass jar are still more likely to be eaten than those in the non see-through packet. Put a chocolate bar in your drawer, and because it’s not in view it could still be there days, weeks or months later. That same chocolate bar on the front shelf of your pantry would be lucky to last a couple of days. Hardly surprising. Some examples are a lot more subtle, I find it fascinating how much behavioral science impacts us – all influencing the wonderfully complicated set of factors that affect what we put in our mouth.
Sometimes the answer is so obvious it is staring us in the face. Fill your pantry and fridge with what you are happy for your children to eat. I don’t mean to be condescending by telling you this story but sometimes we need to be reminded as parents that it’s okay not to be popular with our kids. Whilst there will be a bit of whingeing about running out– they’ll get over it. Make sure there is plenty of the food you want them to eat.
This is an excerpt from my food parenting book, Life Love Food Kids, available in hard copy, eBook or audiobook formats.
This entry was posted on Monday, March 26th, 2012 at 10:46 pm and is filed under Cooking with children. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Leave a Reply
Special Recent Posts
The last School Holiday Program was a crammed with fun and learning as kids got more food savvy!