Marta De Wulf
iPad app that teaches kids to smash unhealthy food choicesMarch 21, 2012
iPad app that teaches kids to smash unhealthy food choices
Anne Hart Children's Nutrition Examiner
Can smashing food in a new video game application on an iPad help children choose healthier meals? To find out, try the video games application for iPad, Smash Your Food andFood 'N Me. How is 'healthy' supposed to taste?
Kids under age 12 know little about healthy nutrition unless there are nutrition-centric games they can play that also are fun for the whole family, such as smashing junk foods and developing habits of choosing and eating healthier foods. Kids can be taught that healthy foods do taste good after all, in spite of all the talk, myths, and ads that associate healthy foods with bland bitter taste. See my other Examiner.com article, Why does the advertisement read, "Our turkey burgers don't taste healthy?
View slideshow: Smash Your Food and Food 'N Me
Now there's an iPad game application (app) that is meant to mobilize families to eat healthier foods. “Eat what you wish, but you are what you squish!” Healthy eating trends can be taught through a mobile game application for the iPad. Mobile learning about healthy trends can be fun.
Healthy Kids' competition winner gets iPad ap for choosing healthier foods, according to the March 21, 2012 news release, "Winner in First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Apps for Healthy Kids’Competition, Food N’ Me’s “Smash” Nutrition Game Mobilizes Families to Eat Well."
Now the public can have the "Squishy-Licious" Smash Your Food™" educational game that emphasizes mobile learning on the iPad. On March 20, 2012, the Bellevue, Washington-based Food N’ Me™ announced the release of its award-winning, Smash Your Food™ educational game, now available for iPad at $2.99 on the Apple App Store.
This fun and exciting mobile game encourages families to smash real foods—burgers, cola, French Fries and entire meals—to learn about nutrition, inspiring healthier food choices while providing parents with personalized emails filled with nutrition advice. “Smash Your Food, an engaging, empowering tool, provides parents and educators a fun positive way for children to learn about the nutritional aspects of foods that contribute to excessive calories consumption allowing them to make better food choices at home and on-the-go,” said Frederic De Wulf, CEO and Co-Founder, Food N’ Me, according to the news release.
“Childhood obesity is a nationwide problem and our mission is to mobilize families to eat well,” said De Wulf, in the news release. A 10-foot, real-life robot called ‘’MASTER SMASH” was inspired by the software game, Smash Your Food -- that includes smashing actual food in HD with vivid sound effects.
Recently lauded by the White House as a winner in First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Apps For Healthy Kids” National Contest, Smash Your Food was selected from hundreds of submitted games by industry leaders, including Mark Pincus, CEO Zynga (Farmville), and Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder, Apple Computer. The goal focused on developing software games that motivate kids and their families to eat healthier foods by choice.
Developers were challenged to “develop fun and engaging software tools and games that drive children, especially tweens (ages 9-12) – directly or through their parents -- to eat better and be more physically active”. Statistics show childhood obesity is out of control.
Currently, nearly one in three children in America is overweight or obese. In total, we are now eating 31 percent more calories than we were forty years ago – including 56 percent more fats and oils and 14 percent more sugars and sweeteners. (Source: Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” Campaign)
Smash Your Food is a great way for kids to learn about what they’re putting into their bodies. When they smash common foods, they see and hear for themselves about the startling amounts of sugar, salt and oil in those foods.
Kids, according to the news release, say things like, ‘Whoa, I had no idea that there are 25 cubes of sugar in a medium milkshake.’ and ‘Eeeeew, look at all that oil, I’m not eating that again!’
Best yet, ‘I’ll have fruit instead of fries with my sandwich.’ It’s that exciting moment of positive education that encourages kids to change their eating behavior on their own.
“Many kids don’t realize the amount of these ingredients in commonly eaten foods, nor is it something they want to spend their free time learning about or that many adults are comfortable teaching them,” De Wulf said in the news release.
“In fact, many adults, themselves, don’t necessarily know the contents of the food their families consume. The good news is that by making just a few lifestyle changes, we can help our children lead healthier lives – and Smash Your Food is an effective tool to help us achieve that goal.”
"Smash Your Food is a dynamic new way to teach kids – and parents – about fat, sugar and salt," said Adam Drewnowski, PhD, Director, University of Washington Center for Obesity Research, in the news release. "As kids squeeze and squish their way into understanding Dietary Guidelines, they learn about healthy eating at home in a whole new way that challenges their thinking and puts them on a positive, life-changing course to change their behavior."
With inventive graphics and a unique real-life “smashing” process, Smash Your Food helps children make smart choices by inviting kids to guess the amount of sugar, salt and oil in some of their favorite foods, and then “smash” them into a mushy pile to learn the actual totals.
Kids watching high definition (HD) video say, "Yes, we did do this to real food," according to the news release. The game features 40 foods on 5 levels – burgers, doughnuts, milkshakes and entire meals –that kids can smash into smithereens. Also the game reveals eye-popping, educational facts, such as there are 25 cubes of sugar in a medium-size milkshake and 16 teaspoons of oil in a serving of chili cheese fries.
For the families the game provides parents with personalized emails delivering nutrition-rich information instructing them on how to integrate healthy habits into their family’s lifestyle. “Childhood obesity is a great concern to all of us at Food N’ Me,” said Co-Founder and Nutritionist Marta De Wulf.
“Families are bombarded with mixed messages and many are not getting the personalized information they need to make healthy choices. Nutritionists and dieticians agree that the best solution is to address the problem through education. Smart food choices begin at home with the family. With our positive, personalized advice, families become educated and empowered. Smash Your Food was created by a nutritionist mom and dietitians for families.”
Smash Your Food and Food 'N Me
Now available for the iPad for $2.99 on the Apple App Store. Smash Your Food™ is a fun and engaging mobile game challenging children and their parents to smash many popular foods teaching them about their nutritional qualities, inspiring healthier food choices. Smash Your Food™ was named a top winner in the “Apps for Healthy Kids” contest sponsored by First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign targeting childhood obesity, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles.
Smash Your Food is currently being featured in two museum exhibits – Yale Peabody in New Haven, and starting April 4, the “Eat It Up!” exhibit at the Toledo’s Imagination Station Science Museum, which will feature the 10’ version of the distinctive Smash Your Food machine. The parent company, Food N’ Me, has partnered with WedMD, to offer Smash Your Food on fit.webmd.com.
It all began in the De Wulf’s hometown of Bellevue, Wash. when Marta, who after 20 years of experience as a nutritionist, designed and taught a children's nutrition program to over 3,000 students ages 5-12, and discovered how little children knew about nutrition. Frederic, whose extensive 30-year career in multimedia has included producing documentaries with Bill Moyers, Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic, also had a digital media career at Microsoft and Turner Broadcasting. The two visionaries – and parents -- joined forces to create Food N’ Me to fulfill their mission to mobilize families to eat well. For further information, check out the Smash Your Food or the Food 'N Me sites.