Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Want Kids To Eat Healthier? Add A Toy

Children make healthier choices when toys are involved, and parents are generally okay with that.

Children are familiar with the toys that come in fast-food kid’s meals. Research suggests that the appeal of healthy foods might be heightened if toys came with it.

Researcher T. Bettina Cornwell from the University of Oregon found preschoolers were more likely to eat foods that came with a collectible toy, even if the food was healthier than say, pizza.

“What was interesting to us—even more than we expected—was that the presence of the collectible toy moved the healthier food option up to the point that it was just as likable as the fast-food offering,” she says.

When the toys were part of a set, the desirability of the food went up —  in other words, if the child recognized he or she wanted a complete set of toys, the food that came with the toy became more desirable.

This led preschoolers to choose and eat healthier foods.

Parents don’t seem to mind — more than 70 percent of respondents were okay with marketing toys with healthy food, if that meant children were more likely to make healthy choices. 92 percent were against similar marketing when fast food was involved.

Read More:

  • Toys turn healthy foods into ‘happy meals’ (Futurity)
  • Collectible toys could foster healthy food choices (Zee News)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media