“I’ll have a hamburger and french fries,” said brother
“Me too,” said Sister
“Just a minute, ” said Mama. “The hamburger is okay, but not the fries. You both need some healthy vegetables. Two side orders of broccoli, please.”
“Broccoli?” said the cubs in disappointment.
“Remember?” warned Mama, “this is my evening out.”
“Yes Mama.” the cubs said…
Before long, almost everything was gone, except for the broccoli.
“I want to see every bit of that delicious broccoli eaten,” said Mama, “It’s chock-full of vitamins!”
“Why do vitamins have to taste bad?” Brother grumbles…
“If you eat your broccoli, you get dessert,” said Papa…
What in those two pages did parents and kids learn?
•bribe kids with dessert to eat (not enjoy, the kids “gulped them down in one bite”) veggies
- • give kids the idea broccoli and healthy things taste bad
- • eat food to please parents
- • guilt kids around food (mama’s special night!)
- • fries are bad (but they taste so good!)
(I’m not saying eating out is a free-for all, please see the link for a video I did on DOR when eating out…)
- • don’t stop when you are full. Eat what and how much you are told. even if you’re full you’ll eat your dessert because, darn it, you earned it! (bad)
Here’s the title page:
Look At Me!
Serve Low-Fat Foods
Exercise Every Day
Eat Fresh Foods
Serve Small Portions
Eat a Variety of Foods
|“Too much food on my plate makes me gain too much weight.”
The accompanying picture was the little rabbit with a thought bubble picturing himself as an overweight little rabbit. Great reading material for 4 year olds (insert sarcasm). And we wonder why EDs are developing at younger ages. Please.
Another page . . . “Eating food like broccoli give me lots of energy.”
Final page . . . “Look at me. I like what see!” Meaning? You can only like what you see if you’re thin and fit?????”
Check out this post about another book, distributed by WIC as well, the Two-Bite Club and Ellyn Satter’s take.
I find this to be disturbing on many levels. First off, most of the messages are control model, restriction, negative-energy based. “Good” and “bad” foods are spelled-out, and drilled into kids (remember kids as young as 4 report feeling guilt and shame when eating forbidden foods. Think of poor Mama Bear!) Berenstain bears and books handed out by WIC offices (as were the Two Bite Club and the Bunny books) are seen as trusted resources and are teaching parents counterproductive feeding practices. So these books do educate, parents and kids and further interferes with a healthy feeding relationship. Yuck. (Check out what our schools are adding to this toxic mix with some standard school nutrition messages.)
Have you found childrens’ books with similar messages? Where did you get/see them? Did you complain? (I complained both at M’s school and church about books. They probably think I’m crazy to object to a book that urges kids to eat fruits and veggies…) Complain. Ask them not to have those books for kids. Does anyone know books that deal with food in a non-judgmental way? (It’s part of why I like Ingredient magazine.) Anyone out there write books or illustrate children’s books? Want to team up to write children’s books that are about being healthy, not thin, are about enjoying all foods, and incorporate best practice feeding?