This should come as no surprise. After all, McDonald's spends in excess of $1.6 billion per year telling us how fabulous their foods are. While we may do our best to tune out the commercials, some smaller members of our society are all ears. Like earnest young Frasier Cranes, the kids respond to McDonald's advertising with a heartfelt, "I'm listening."
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine put the power of promotion to the test. They enrolled the help of 63 kids, between 3 and 5, to take part in a supervised snack time. They were fed five identical pairs of food, including hamburgers, fries, milk, and carrots.
The only difference in each pair was the package. One item was packaged in a McDonald's wrapper. The other item was in a plain wrapper of the same color and style.
McDonald's won hands down.
Though the foods were identical, taken from the same batch, the kids thought the McDonald's food was tastier. Three to five year-old kids. It's astonishing how perceptive young children are. But, are McDonald's and other fast food giants really the lifestyle mentors we want for our kids?
The battle for the brain is raging. Unless you have a spare billion dollars or so, you'll never compete on the advertising front. But, there are ways to help your kids make the right food choices. KidsHealth recommends having regular family meals and - this is where it gets tricky - being a role model by eating healthy foods yourself. Yikes!
So, the battle lines are drawn. McDonald's with their billions. You with your blood, sweat, and tears - and carrots, peas, and summer squash.
Here's to Parent Power…To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To see the full list of recommendations on helping kids eat healthy foods, see this from KidsHealth.