We tell lies when we are afraid…
afraid of what we don’t know,
afraid of what others will think,
afraid of what will be found out about us.
But every time we tell a lie,
the thing that we fear grows stronger.
Carrot growers are gearing up to lie to your kids. They’re spending something like $25 million dollars to package baby carrots like chips and sell them out of vending machines. They’re rebranding with awesomely misleading taglines like “the original cheez doodles.”
This infuriates me on so many different levels.
Let’s start with this:
“It’s not an anti-junk-food campaign,” says Jeff Dunn, Bolthouse Farms CEO and a former North America president at Coca-Cola. “It takes a page out of junk food’s playbook and applies it to baby carrots.”
The only way I would find this even mildly acceptable is if it were a tongue-in-cheek mockery of the junk food industry. It’s not. It’s a presumption that your kids are aware of, in love with, and mindlessly swayed by junk food packaging.
And that you, the parent, the wielder of the supermarket spending dollar, are a spineless tool who will happily go along with the lie and trick her little ad-lovin’ bots into eating veggies, by pretending they are a form of cheez doodles.
Ad psychologist Carol Moog, who is clearly not on our side, feels that merely lying to our kids is not enough. Physical trickery is instrumental to the deception:
…kids may be disappointed to find all the flashy ads are really just for carrots…they need to make carrots more fun — like, perhaps, putting an orange (but natural) dusting on carrots that mimics Cheetos.
Are you serious?
People, I am only going to say this once.
Teach your kids to eat healthy foods because they are good for them.
They will help them feel better. Look better. Live longer.
Teach them that they don’t have to fall head over heels in love with every damn thing in the world for it to be worthwhile. Not everything needs to be sugarcoated or super cool or tricked out.
Teach them that their own immediate gratification is not the be-all and end-all motivating factor for every decision.
I don’t have the scientific basis at hand to back this up, but I’ve seen it cited a million times so I’m assuming it’s true: it takes ten tries for a person to develop a taste for any new food.
Not a love for, please note. A taste for. As a for instance, I never really had mushrooms growing up. I didn’t like them the first time I tried them. For the next decade or so I just didn’t eat anything with mushrooms, because I didn’t like them.
My husband loves mushrooms, and I grew used to picking mushrooms off of and out of things. Then I got lazy and just left them in. I got used to them. I still don’t love them, but I’d venture to say I’ve developed “a taste” for them- i.e., I can eat them without feeling compelled to spit them out.
It works. I get the nutrients. No one said I had to marry them.
When you say, “My kid doesn’t eat (whatever),” YOU ARE REINFORCING THAT NOTION.
If all you serve your kids is chicken fingers, mac and cheese and PB&J, than THAT IS ALL THEY ARE EVER GOING TO WANT.
If you only give them junk food as snacks and dessert, they will grow up thinking those are the only treats worth having. And why would they eat something they don’t like if they can have a treat instead?
Please, I beg of you, do NOT let marketers undermine your authority as a parent. IT IS YOUR JOB to say, this is healthy, you need to eat it BECAUSE IT IS HEALTHY, and you can maybe have a treat later but NOT AS A REWARD FOR EATING SOMETHING HEALTHY. You eat healthy foods to stay healthy. That is its own reward. Eating well is not a trial to be endured to get at a TastyKake.
Eat carrots because they are carrots. Because they have Vitamin A and beta-carotene and fiber. Not because, god help me, they are shaped like freaking cheez doodles, a “food” that can’t even spell its own name.
And while I’m on the subject, buy real carrots and cut them up yourself. It’s way cheaper. (If you’re buying “baby-cut” carrots, that’s what you’re buying anyway- carrots that didn’t meet aesthetic standards and were whittled down to baby size. “Baby carrots” are actually bred for a higher sugar content, another case of catering to your kid’s sweet tooth. Both attempt to lengthen shelf life by dipping in a chlorine solution.)
Don’t tell lies. Don’t let marketers tell your kids lies. Ask yourself what you are afraid of.
Is it being a hardass parent? Toughen up, sister. Parent like IT’S YOUR JOB to raise your kids to make the right choices in life. Because guess what? It is.
** For the record, those “Deceptively Delicious” cookbooks that encourage trickery and sneakery make me mad too.**