Try this experiment:
- Ask your child to taste a new beverage. Say it’s healthy.
- Ask how much your child likes the beverage and whether he would like you to buy it again.
Repeat the procedure a few days later using the same beverage. Only this time, don’t say the beverage is healthy. Just say it’s new.
Which beverage do you think will get the better rating?
Healthy Doesn’t Sell
If you listened to our national dialogue you would think that eaters are rational people, that we make decisions about what to eat based on how healthy it is. Wrong.
People—especially those people known as children— make decisions about what to eat based on how the items taste. And on our habits (or what we’re used to eating).
Have you ever noticed that when people talk about healthy food they describe its nutritional value, but when they talk about sweets and treats they talk about how yummy it is?
Imagine giving your kids the Chocolate Cake Look when you bring out a bowl of broccoli!
Telling kids something is good for them kills the mood.
In fact, it’s a guaranteed way to make your kids hate whatever you’re serving. Read How to Help Your Kids Hate Spinach.
When researchers in England performed the beverage experiment:
- 55% said they would like their parents to buy the “health” beverage; 85% said they’d like their parents to buy the “new” beverage.
- 45% predicted their friends would like the “health” beverage; 55% predicted their friends would like the “new” beverage.
(I know this is an old study, but, sadly, it’s still as relevant today as it ever was.)
Emphasize taste over health.
Kids aren’t the only ones who feel that healthy foods taste bad. Read Junk Food=Yum, Healthy Food=Yuk and discover one reason why the French have healthier eating habits than we do.
I discuss all these ideas in It’s Not About the Broccoli.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~
Source: Wardle, J. and G. Huon. 2000. “An Experimental Investigation of the Influence of Health Information on Children’s Taste Preferences.” Health Education Research 15 (1): 39-44.