Rethinking the Phrase “kid Friendly”
I’ve been percolating the phrase, “kid friendly” of late. As in, “kid-friendly” menus, “kid-friendly” snacks, and “kid-friendly” drinks. It’s used widely in food marketing, applied to the sorts of foods that kids tend to gravitate towards. The translation, however, often lands within a small category that might otherwise be dubbed junk food. Let me share a few examples:
Chicken nuggets with upwards of 30 ingredients including MSG
Popsicles made with red dye number 40, artificial flavors, and high fructose corn syrup
Sour Patch Kids Slurpee with nearly 1/4 cup of sugar in a small serving.
Occasional junk food I can accept (I have a 15 year old with a soft spot for gummy worms and a husband who stocks Doritos for emergency sports viewing). But let’s not call these foods kid friendly, because there is nothing friendly about how they treat our children’s bodies.
Truth? I think all kinds of foods can appeal to little ones. With time and patience, children can come to like and even love strong flavors, a variety of vegetables, exotic ingredients, and so forth. And what might go over with ease in your house may get a red light in mine. Consider my nephew who, for ages, turned his nose up at chicken drumsticks and chocolate ice cream but ate stinky cheese with abandon.
Perhaps we can’t all agree on what constitutes “kid-friendly” but I’d like for us to at least agree that it’s not:
- Food that glows in the dark
- Has a label that reads like a chemistry experiment
- Or is a major contributor to childhood obesity.
It should be simply this: a food kids like AND is genuinely friendly to their growing bodies.
What say you?