A team of nutritionists and dietitians has launched the Fuel Your DreamsTM  public service campaign to help parents motivate their kids to tie the benefits of healthy food choices to being the best they can be.
Developed by a team of Family Food ExpertsTM the  program uses a variety of educational and online tools to motivate kids to want to eat healthier so they can optimize their potential, and empowers parents to understand that kids will eat healthy foods as long as they taste good.
The program educates families about nutritional health using its Kid Kritics ApprovedTM Seal , so that parents can quickly find foods that are "kid approved" (taste good) and meet firm nutrition guidelines.
Family Food ExpertsTM Founder Ellen Briggs, author of the books, "Are Your Kids Running on Empty?" and "Mom, I'm Hungry. What's for Dinner?", and host of the "Family Food ExpertsTM Kitchen" show on iHeart radio, challenges the notion that nutrition needs to be hidden in foods.
"When did broccoli become a 4-letter word? We believe in transparency with kids - they're too smart. Rather than hiding, pureeing, masking vegetables, we believe if prepared and presented properly, kids will embrace vegetables and create healthy, lifelong habits," she explains.
The campaign's message to kids is simple: you become what you eat and drink. However, Fuel Your DreamsTM realizes that kids need a reason to eat healthy food beyond "your mom said so." So, for example, if a kid wants to be an NFL football player (a popular choice among boys) or a veterinarian (the number one pick among girls surveyed), the program educates them on what specific foods can "fuel their body for success."
The Fuel Your Dreams program uses fun and motivating educational components such as posters, flash cards, and online resources to teach kids about how foods fuel their bodies for success. "Beyond teaching the concepts, we've included easy meals and recipes that are searchable by what foods feed each body part," said Briggs.
This is a logical extension of the Kid Kritics "Foods from Head to Toe Chart" that lists the foods that feed different body parts, and lets kids pick which areas they want to focus on, given their goals. The majority of kids surveyed picked strong muscles, smart brains and sharp eyes.
The Fuel Your Dreams team has found that kids are critical thinkers (love to ask and understand the "why"); they love to vote (power); and they appreciate being heard by food companies. Further, kids are egocentric, focused primarily on their own desires.
The public service campaign was written with these things in mind, realizing that once kids understand WHY nutrition fuels success, they will crave it.
Kids already know that carrots are good for your eyes, and that Popeye claimed a can of spinach leads to bulging muscles, but there's so much more to the story," said Kid Kritics ApprovedTM Seal Ingredient Standards Board Member Carolina Lima Jantac, MS, RD, LD, Manager of Healthier Recipe Moms, and host of "Better Food Choices" on iHeartRadio.
Jantac explained, "The connection between what kids eat and drink and what happens inside their young bodies was absent until now. Once they learn that 100 billion neurons in their brain send thousands of messages so they can run fast, they are totally motivated to eat avocadoes and sweet potatoes so they can be the best they can be." Further, she asserts that kids will eat healthy foods that taste good.
The Kid Kritics ApprovedTM Seal drives the education piece for parents. Weekly, the Family Food ExpertsTM team conducts blind taste tests with hundreds of kids and food products and/or recipes which have met ingredient standards established by the company's Board of 12 health professionals, including founders of medical centers, licensed nutritionist and dietitians, a pediatrician, a child psychologist, and more.
In total, the company has managed more than 25,000 "Kid Kritics" in blind taste tests. As a result, parents trust the seal, knowing that the foods have been independently evaluated, have healthier ingredients, and have been endorsed by kids to actually taste good!
The kids answer four questions regarding look, smell, taste, and whether they want to eat it at home. To achieve the Kid Kritics ApprovedTM Seal, pre-established ingredient standards must be met, including no bad fats or artificial additives, little to no caffeine, acceptable amounts of naturally-sourced sugar and sodium, and more. "Kids love to taste-test foods and they gladly give us their unadulterated, honest, and candid opinion," said Briggs.
By combining these resources, the Family Food Experts team hopes that Fuel Your Dreams will be a powerful motivation for kids around the country to take ownership of better food choices.