Marta De Wulf
Smash Your Food: Healthy eating apps for kids. Toronto StarNovember 19, 2012
First, your kid smashes a pizza slice into greasy smithereens. Then, a cupcake, squashed into a gooey mess. Finally, a big bowl of ice cream, splattered in every direction.
It sounds like a parent’s worst nightmare — but in Smash Your Food, a new iPhone app, playing with your food is finally educational.
The app works like this: First, start with a fridge full of your favourite junk foods. Pick your poison, and guess the amount of sugar, salt and fat in the food.
After guessing, use the giant hydraulic piston to squish your chosen junk food into a disgusting mess. Then, the true amounts of harmful sugar, salt and fat are revealed — 25 sugar cubes in a milkshake, really?
The app also features weekly challenges. Imagine some parents’ amazement when their child agrees to skip soda for a week.
Created by family-friendly developer Food N’ Me, the app won an honourable mention in Michelle Obama’s “Apps for Healthy Kids” contest in March. (It was then only available for iPads, but the new iPhone version has just been released.)
There are plenty of other apps on the market to teach kids healthy eating habits:
Fooducate lets you scan bar codes on foods to see a letter grade rating its healthiness. It turns grocery shopping into a point-and-shoot video game.
Go Go Mongo! has kids teach Mongo, a shapeless, one-toothed orange creature, how to make healthier choices. The game is designed for toddlers and features 40 colourful levels filled with fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats.
LaLa Lunchbox teaches kids and parents how to pack balanced lunches for school. Kids choose from a variety of food options and place them in a daily lunch box. Then, the app generates a full grocery list so parents can buy and prepare healthy, balanced lunches.
Munch5aday helps kids reach their recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies. Tap the icons on the screen each time you munch an apple or a carrot, and the app rewards you with badges when you hit your target.
Awesome Eats allows you to sort and stack fruits, veggies and whole grains in order to learn how to build a healthy plate. Thieving birds and other obstacles make the game challenging and fun.