Every family knows the dinner-time drill: Mom and Dad cajole their children to try new foods and make healthy choices. Kids, well â€“ kids want to make their own decisions on their own terms. And they want it to taste good, too. So is there a way to meet everyone’s needs here?
Yes, there is. But the key is to understand what everyone really wants in these situations, as represented by the food on the plate.
Kids want to experience something that’s real, that’s genuine â€“ an authentic experience. And they want to do that on their own terms, whether that’s the fatigue a 10-year-old feels with ordering off the kids’ menu or the desire a 15-year-old has to fit in with friends whether that’s over takeout pizza or homemade pasta made with heirloom tomatoes.
Parents want their children to experience something that’s real, too, but they get there through a very different method. They want their kids to understand the connection food has with family and friends, with their culture and the cultures around them. To achieve this, they want their kids to try new foods, make healthy choices and partake in the family dinner â€“ in essence, to have the authentic experience their kids are seeking.
In this paper, we’ll examine how those motivations play into day-to-day decisions about what goes on the plate and into the mouth. We’ll come to see that what kids want for themselves and what parents want for their children are goals that aren’t as far apart as they might seem.
We’ll take a look at how:
- Kids’ food choices can provide them with a sense of belonging.
- Those food choices can give their self-esteem a boost.
- Food decisions kids make today can set them on a path of lifelong eating habits that help them not only improve themselves, but perhaps even make the world a better place to live along the way.
In the end, we’ll come to realize that food truly is a catalyst for communication between generations and for recognizing the common aspirations we all share.