Phelps was certainly one of my favorites from the Olympics and thought a great example for kids. But lately there has been a great deal of controversy following his decision to endorse Frosted Flakes. He will be appearing on their box in the next week or so. This was chosen over the traditional Wheaties box where famous athletes have appeared for as long as I can remember. I can't speak for what his motivation was to choose Frosted Flakes over a more nutrition high fiber cereal but one can easily imagine...$$$.
But let's focus on the kids. Should we parents be worried as we look for quick and nutritious breakfasts to feed the kids before they rush out the door. With school here, breakfast is even more important for children. Will this latest marketing move make it even harder to say "no or not today, you had that yesterday" to the kids? Will kids get a message that great champions eat high sugar cereals? Will they make the correlation that in order for them to achieve greatness they need Frosted Flakes? Lots of concern from the healthcare community that this is one more message that will not help the growing childhood obesity problem we face.
He is and will be a great legend for years to come for children all around the world. So, like it or not, he is a role model. But, we parents are role models also. And we parents have a great deal of influence over our children, much more than the box of cereal with Phelps picture.
I think first of all, Phelps does a heck of a lot of exercise and burns thousands of calories a day. So one important message to kids is that you can eat more of this higher sugar foods if they are so active that their body will burn it off. I think this offers a great opportunity for parents to talk about the balance between energy in and energy out. We won't burn calories the way he does, so we need to be more selective so that we get the calories we need but also all the different foods we need...like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein and milk products.
All things in moderation is another topic for discussion. Frosted Flakes once in a while is fine, let's face it, it does taste good. I enjoy the occasional bowl myself. But not everyday.
One last comment on marketing, we need the high fiber healthier breakfast cereals to make their cereals more fun, add a character and make it tastier. These cereals are not marketing to kids, they are marketing to the health oriented adult. I read one nutritionist disappointed that Phelps wasn't on Fiber One. Well, even if he was on Fiber One, I don't think it would draw kids to eat. We always see the "slam" on the high fat, high sugar companies but what about the health oriented companies. Are they making the foods fun? What are they doing to reach out to the kids?
Here are some tips for a healthy Back to School Breakfast:
Click here for our matching nutrition tools for kids- 'build a healthy meal'Â fun and educational tool.