Day 34: Eye Candy. Brain Food.

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February 3, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

Getting people to eat healthfully isn’t always easy, especially with kids.  Getting kids to recognize and think about healthy food is a tricky task because so much of what they’re exposed to is cheap, fast and greasy.  But there’s more to it than just limited lunch options – it’s a matter of healthy food being unfamiliar, unknown, foreign and scary to so many kids.  Case in point: this afternoon in the dining hall here in my dorm building, about 100 or so students from one of the Lansing-area high schools came in for lunch as part of a university tour.  Today’s menu included vegetable fajitas, corn salsa, black beans, steamed corn, seafood sausage chicken gumbo, cream of cauliflower soup, fried chicken patty sandwich, steak-cut french fries, hunan chicken and rice, an impressive array of fresh berries, granola and yogurt, on top of our usual salad bar and other standard options.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that 90% (at least) of these students were getting a fried chicken patty sandwich with french fries, chocolate milk and ice cream.  Not a single one was at the salad bar.  Not one.  They were ecstatic about the prospect of unlimited hard-packed ice cream, but all I could do was contemplate investing in a pharmaceutical company that produces diabetes meds.

Seriously, these kids wanted nothing to do with the healthier options, even when they were present, even when they looked great, smelled great and probably tasted great.  These kids stuck with what they knew, and are likely to continue to do so right into adulthood.

There’s a lot of logic behind the notion of getting kids familiar with fresh, whole and natural foods at an early age – to familiarize them with real food before they get set in their ways and opt for fried chicken no matter what else is on the table.  Getting kids to accept and prefer fresh food is just as important as simply making it available, and today’s project is trying to get real food stuck in kids’ heads.  Literally.

The Fresh Artists, a nonprofit organization supporting art and creativity amongst students in under-resourced schools throughout America, have put together a memory game built using the fabulous artwork of some of their students.

Gorgeous mosaics assembled by kids, for kids, built into a puzzle game to get kids thinking and remembering the beauty of real, whole and natural foods – there’s nothing here I don’t love.

Fresh Artists has big plans, too…

The Memory Game project is the first in a series of products the kids want to bring to the marketplace such as creating other games, wrapping paper, and branded sketchbooks and art kits. They love the idea of watching their brainstorming and brilliant artwork stir up real sales across the country!

By supporting this project, you’ll be empowering young artists, proving that their creativity pays off in more ways than one.  Keep their creative juices fresh and flowing and buy yourself some healthy eye candy by pledging before it’s too late.


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