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by Christel Swasey

Make Healthy Advertisements At the Dinner Table

Many people do not think advertising influences them. But marketers do. Advertising is a multi billion dollar business, not just because advertisers are lucky– but because the data shows that advertising does work.

Why not try this at home?  Couldn’t we persuade our families to eat for longevity if we put a little muscle into the effort?

If the sugary cereal people who compete with us on t.v. and in stores use colorful Toucans, cheerful frogs, Leprechauns, cartoon tigers and Spongebob to attract us, and then we only offer our family a boring bowl of healthy, beige oatmeal as competition, is it any wonder that the sugary cereal people seem to be winning?

We need to compete.

We can compete with the marketing armies in many ways.  We are closer to the kids, and we hold the checkbook!  We are already ahead.  But we have to compete in every way, like they do– visually, verbally, musically, and socially.

Brainstorm.  Can we place colorful fruits on the oatmeal, or colorful bowls and placemats under it?  Can we tell the kids what the names of the nutrients are that they are eating, and what body systems they are making strong by eating up?  Can we break into songs and a tapdance on the table?  Okay, maybe not, but we can cheerlead, and we can applaud wildly when they say “yes” to the high-nutrient, low-sugar, low-fat choices we offer them.

And.  We can use one of advertising’s oldest tricks:  repetition.  We can become like that jingle that you can’t get out of your head!

“Vitamin A can prevent eye problems.  Vitamin A is found in carrots.”

“Vitamin E makes my skin healthy.  Vitamin E is found in avocados.”

“Vitamin B6 helps my brain send messages.  Vitamin B6 is found in spinach.”

“Vitamin D helps my body absorb calcium.  Vitamin D is found in egg yolks.”

“Antioxidants fight off toxins.  Oranges and Beets have antioxidants.”

“Vitamin K is found in cauliflower.  Vitamin K helps my blood clot.”

Years from now, we all may be much healthier.  We may have lots of drive-through fast foods that feature kale, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, lentil loaf, and fresh blueberries.  We may have eradicated the extreme white-flour, white-sugar dominance that we see in today’s grocery stores and restaurants.  But if we do, it will probably be because of advertisers’ help.

Until then, we homemakers have to do man-to-man advertising combat in our homes.  And we can do it!

If you think that you don’t know much about nutrition, and can’t teach your family for that reason, just look something up.  There’s so much health education out there.  One helpful source to start with is this chart from the USDA:

You’re gonna love it.

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