Debunking ‘Kids Food’: A chat with Lynn Fredericks from Kids Food Reboot
A chat with award-winning family nutrition pioneer, Lynn Fredericks about Kids Food Reboot and debunking the ‘kids food’ myth.
Lynn Fredericks, Founder of the Kids Food Reboot
Mac 'n cheese, pizza, and hot dogs - kids all over the globe can be found devouring these ‘kids foods’ regularly, simply because they're categorized this way. Through embarking on an in-depth exploration of food and nutrition education for children and families, Lynn Fredericks, the woman behind the Kids Food Reboot campaign, tells us that food designed exclusively for children is nothing more than a modern myth that reaps negative consequences. Fredericks, who has long been involved in nutrition education and is also the Founder of FamilyCook Productions, organized the Kids Food Reboot in an attempt to inspire children to explore new tastes and flavours and help families enjoy one (that’s right, one!) meal together.
Enjoy this recap of our conversation with Lynn Fredericks.
BT: Lynn, what inspired you to launch the Kids Food Reboot Campaign?
Lynn Fredericks: Before embarking on food and nutrition education for children and families, I was a food and wine writer and restaurant publicist for top restaurants in Manhattan. I had learned from my international chef friends, my Egyptian born husband and my many clients, the food ways of cultures across the globe. Personally, as a mother of young children, I discovered that cooking with my kids not only bonded us as a family, but created curiosity about food and opened them to be more willing to explore new tastes and flavors. Our mission at FamilyCook Productions is going strong 20 years later, and cooking in schools is becoming more common, yet the idea that there's seperate food for adults and young children has become pervasive. I am well aware that this is a cultural myth and our nation’s children did not wake up one morning and collectively agree that only 5-6 types of food would pass their lips. So I knew that it would take a cultural shift on multiple levels to support parents and society, to re-boot ‘kids food’ and respect children for being the adventurous and adaptable young people they are—hence Kids Food Reboot was born!
BT: Why do you feel this is an important message for parents and kids?
LF: When we limit children to a few recipes that we ‘think’ they will eat and don’t challenge them either at home or in restaurants—where they have an opportunity to explore foods outside what they are typically served—there are negative consequences. The consequences of this myth include less food variety, fewer nutrients and lower quality foods. These are serious consequences for a child’s health and food behaviors, and can extend into adulthood as well.
BT: Who are you trying to reach with your message and what is the intended impact of this campaign?
LF: There are three primary audiences we're trying to reach through the Kids Food Reboot campaign: families, chefs/restaurants and advocates/nutrition professionals. We reach these groups through offering educational tools which can be used in a variety of settings. Overall, my goal is to experience the day when families will serve their children the same food that they eat, with portions and spices adjusted as needed. I also look forward to the day when going to a restaurant as a family will mean exploring something new and delicious, and not looking for that kids menu. We gain nothing by ‘dumbing down’ food and nutrition for our children.
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Thanks for this insightful discussion, Lynn. To our community: If you'd like to learn how to reboot your family dinners, plus explore delicious recipes, then check out Kids Food Reboot. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #KidsFoodReboot.