Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reward kids and make them happy!

New legislation in California puts restrictions on a "Happy-type meal" so that a kids meal that doesn't meet certain nutritional guidelines cannot be sold with a toy.

How did these "Happy-type meals" come about? Rewarding children for behavior works well to create a desired action. While, there are many ways to reward children, food and toys are typically the rewards of choice. Personally, I would argue for more love, hugs and attention with a few good toys and other treats. Can't we interchange rewards so that all the rewards are good and sometimes even an unexpected surprise? No one consciously wants to teach our children to mistake food or objects for love.

I vote for one reward at a time. If the reward is a burger or a food or candy treat, do we really need to double dip with two rewards - a food or candy and a toy? Just in case the first reward doesn't work, there is a fallback reward?

Now if it is established that if the toy is the reward, should the child be rewarded for eating an meal that doesn't meet nutritional guidelines? Wouldn't you want your child to be rewarded with a toy for eating a healthy meal?

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About Me

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First trained as a food chemist and nutritionist, my career began enriching a Twinkie, comparing the nutrition of a Twinkie to an apple and studying the role of sugar in the diet. With an M.B.A. and years in food and pharma understanding consumers and manufacturers, I'm back to where I started - food should taste great and serve to keep us healthy. To do so, there needs to be consumer awareness. Consumers need to vote for what they want by buying what they really want. If they buy impulsively, that's what they will see more of. They need to practice balance and responsible choices. That's when change will come. Please engage me with your conversation so that I can help you make and stick to better food choices that you enjoy. You'll gain a deeper appreciation of food not only from farm to table but farm to health. My vision is to promote solutions for healthful food and food practices you can happily embody and embrace!