I usually don’t do this, but when 2010 TED Prize Winner Jaime Oliver, chef, had a wish to help “create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.” It caught my eye. And my imagination. So I threw my name in the ring as a possible contributor.
When an email appeared from the TED people yesterday asking for concepts, I started thinking about my kids and how I could get them to eat healthier. Then it struck me – despite potential etiquette shortfalls (and because of them as a fun double entendre), what if we asked children to eat like animals? After all, people, like animals, are just organic beings. And somehow animals in the wild thrive on natural food sources all around them without going to the corner store for a bag of processed cheese puffs. Plus, kids love animals. I know. We have two daughters and lots of pets. More than pets, though, our kids are completely and unreasonably infatuated with animals. And not just pets either, all types. Thanks to our daughters, we’re contributing members of the World Wildlife Fund, routinely visit zoos and preserves and own a stable of exotic stuffed animals.
When I was a kid, my favorite show was Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. I’m sure it was yours too. But at some point in our lifetimes, most of us grow out of this obsession with animals. It’s kind of sad, really. But if we’re trying to get children to eat healthier, the animal angle might actually work. Think of how much fun kids would have with this. Think of the potential cross-promotions with conservation organizations. Think of kids everywhere choosing an apple over a bag of Doritos because that’s what a spider monkey would choose.