Tips for Parents 1 - 5
1) Show them how food ads work.
Talk to your children about marketing ploys and unhealthy food adverts targeting children on TV. Explain that manufacturers put things on packaging to entice you to buy it. ‘Yes the packet looks great but let’s read the label and see what’s inside it’.
2) Play the food detective game.
Make rejecting things into a game – children find it enjoyable to criticise the adult world and become detectives outwitting the enemy. For example show breakfast cereals with cartoon characters, latest films, competitions and toys..Take a look at the ingredients and explain that a teaspoon of sugar weighs about 6g . The weight of sugar per portion is given on the packet and so its easy to work out that most of these cereals contain more than 6 teaspoons per bowl of cereal.
Look at your childrens juice drinks with tempting pictures of luscious fruit and then look at the ingredients and show them that they only contain 6% juice and 94% sugar and water. Explain that they need to look for the words pure fruit or 100% juice. Not only is this better for their health, its also excellent consumer education.
Explain how manufacturers try to conceal sugar by putting it further down the list of ingredients by disguising it under different names like Glucose, Fructose, Sucrose and Maltose. Look for the salt content too a cereal should contain less than 0.5g salt per 100g but many cereals contain more salt than seawater.
3) How to survive the supermarket.
Let’s face it, the typical weekly shopping trip is boring for children and just like adults children react to boredom by moaning or wanting to eat. Play games like asking your child to find six fruits and vegetables that are red that they like to eat or choose six foods made from the milk you get from cows.
4) How to run the checkout gauntlet.
If you can't avoid the checkout laden with sweets, distract your child. Get her to help unload the shopping. Play games like asking where he thinks the fruit and vegetables in the trolley come from and which ones are grown in England.
5) Don’t be scared of saying “No”.
Don’t worry about saying "No”. Children are good at inducing parental guilt but you will make life hard for yourself if they know they can twist you around their little finger. Instead of rewarding good behaviour with sweets or crisps, it’s a good idea to encourage them to choose a different kind of treat like stickers, a novelty pen or a comic.