Media is everywhere! Advertising gets to people through different forms of communication – print, television, social media, and what not! Although advertisements help us to become aware of the products in the market, they have their negative effects too, especially on the children! Previously, what the advertisers did was to market children’s products towards the parents. But nowadays, marketers aim their messages directly at the children. Children are known to be picky eaters and take everything at face value and believe the messages conveyed in the advertisements without a shadow of the doubt.
The food industry is once again in the eye of a storm, especially junk food industry. This time not for promoting junk, but to make it worse, promoting junk as healthy. Let’s take a look at a few such products out of hundreds out there in the market:
- There are advertisements that show how the sun sucks on all their energy while playing outdoors, and all you need is sugar to recharge your energy. Hence, a certain energy drink or energy powder with all the essential fruit power, iron and vitamins is all they need to get back the lost energy!
Such a product is nothing, but just pure sugar shots with a lot of artificial flavouring agents which, over time, cause harm.
A glass of lemon water, coconut water, aam panna, a banana, fruit milkshake, chaas/lassi will do a better job after the kids play in the sun.
- A very popular brand promotes their extremely sugary breakfast cereals as something that gives you the same nutrition as chapattis! What about the fact that chapattis have no sugar and preservatives! Have you ever noticed how these sweetened cereals placed at eye level on the supermarket shelves and the plain ones or oatmeal down by your feet ? What you see is what you buy … this is social engineering by food marketers … CHOOSE WISELY
If you want to get rid of your child’s habit, mix ¼th of the sweetened cereal with ¾th portion of unsweetened. And if your child is not eating cereals, be happy and don’t introduce these so called healthy treats. Because, seriously, they are anything, but HEALTHY!! Better breakfast choices are breads, peanut butter, eggs (anyway they like them), fruits and just plain milk.
- Oh, so your child doesn’t like milk? We have the solution ready… the so-called energy boosting powders that can be added to milk! They even go up to the extent of telling you that these powders increase the power of milk! The fact remains that milk is a complete food in itself and it doesn’t need these artificially synthesized agents to boost its power. Also, if you check the ingredients carefully, you will find some nasty chemicals and preservatives in the list.
If you feel your child is undernourished or deficient in any nutrient, the sugar and fortified nutrients are not going to come to the rescue! Get advice from experts for healthier alternatives!
- Not just children, but haven’t we all stopped eating regular ready-to-eat noodles and started having “oats or atta noodles” guilt-free, instead? And why not! That’s how they are promoted! But alas! Irrespective of what the commercials promote, these packaged quick cook noodles are high not just in sodium, but carbohydrates and food additives as well; and low on essential elements like fibre, vitamins and minerals. It cooks in 2 minutes so it is also ‘fast food’
- Well, another reputed brand sells their soups labelling them as an extremely healthy option to satisfy your small time hunger pangs! The added benefit is that they have no preservatives! Think about it – the soup packets can remain on the rack for months without getting spoilt. Can a homemade vegetable soup remain fresh for months?
Quick finger foods like a sandwich or yoghurt or handful of nuts or a fruit are definitely better choices!
Children often develop a natural preference for food they enjoy eating the most. So, the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing. Home cooked meals are the best! Habits inculcated since childhood last forever! Make sure you are building the right foundation for your child.
It’s for all of us to understand that we do not have to be carried away by these tricks! In the end, it is pure business for them and all they are interested in is to SELL.
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