Years ago I learned the secret of getting kids to eat good stuff. And I learned it from a mother with three kids who also happened to be one of the country’s top dietitians.
Linda Lizotte, RD, who co-founded the high-end supplement company, Designs for Health, had three kids ranging from 7-11. They were great looking kids, fit and glowing with health, and, from the looks of things, had a great diet. I asked her, “So how do you get your kids to eat such good stuff?”
“Simple”, she said. “You trick them."
Linda had this awesome, nutritious granola that she made, but the kids wouldn’t touch because it was “healthy” and no kids wanted to eat “healthy” stuff. So she emptied out the Captain Crunch box, replaced the contents with the good, organic, low-sugar granola, and put the box back on the shelf. “They eat it all the time now,” she smiled.
Lesson learned: Kids eat what they see and what they believe—not what they taste.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, I was practically raised on Tom Sawyer, who, as you may remember, got others to do the unpleasant work of whitewashing a fence by tricking them into thinking it was something other than what it was-- drudgery.
I confirmed this lesson for myself many years later when I met my beloved fiancé, Michelle, herself the mother of two kids. On a mission to help Michelle get the kids to eat better, I asked her about the name-brand peanut butter in her kitchen. Like most brand-name peanut butters marketed to kids, it was filled with sugar, trans-fats and unpronounceable ingredients. I suggested one quick and easy upgrade to the kids’ diet would be to swap out this junk out for real, honest-to-goodness peanut butter, the kind you get at the store where you grind it yourself.
“No way”, she told me. “They’ll never go for it in a million years”.
“We’ll see”, I said to myself.
The next day, I snuck into the kitchen, scooped out all the junk peanut butter from its jar, threw it out, and replaced it with the good stuff.
They never noticed the difference and have been eating “the good stuff” ever since. I just keep putting it in the jar with the label they’re used to, and everything is fine.
Supplements are difficult for kids. They don’t like pills, and they certainly won’t like anything called “fish oil” or “flax oil”, especially when accompanied by the kiss-of-death words “it’s good for you”.
Yet Omega-3s are possibly one of the most important additions to your child’s diet.
Barlean’s makes Omega-3 supplements that come in a formulation called “Omega-Swirls”. They’re one of the most popular consumer products ever made, and have won multiple awards for taste and quality over the years. The thing about the Omega Swirls is that they disguise the straight fish or flax oil in a fruity, creamy liquid that comes in flavors ranging from Mango Peach to Key Lime, and they taste ridiculously delicious. What’s more, they can be pitched to your kids as a dessert toping and a treat…. “If you eat your vegetables, you can have some Mango Peach Omega Swirl!”
Because of the delicious, non-medicine-y taste of the swirls, they combine brilliantly in liquids—whether you’re making organic juice, a smoothie, or a protein shake, any one of the Barlean’s Omega Swirl formulations will mix right in and in most cases the kids won’t even notice it.
And it won’t even matter if they DO notice it’s in the drink. If you’ve branded it as something delicious, they’re already loving it, plus they’re getting the omega-3 that they really need!
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, (aka “The Nutrition Myth Buster”™) is a board-certified nutritionist with a master’s degree in psychology. He’s the best-selling author of 15 books including The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Living Low Carb, The Great Cholesterol Myth, and Smart Fat. Jonny is a paid brand ambassador at Barlean’s.