Junk food marketing: Is it possible for children to escape from fast food?

Understanding the importance of supporting and guiding children towards healthy eating choices 

We all know how much teenagers and children love fast food and how their never-ending love for junk has helped these junk food chains and fast-food-selling restaurants promote their products and increase their sales. Though it is never a food marketer’s intention to affect a child’s life by promoting unhealthy food, they all do it in the name of boosting their sales and promoting their products. 

According to CyberGhost’s blog post, junk food marketing ads on TV are more frequently shown during the family prime time between 6-9pm or while the children are watching YouTube. These promotional ads generally are celebrity endorsements, attractive or hilarious characters, bright and vivid visual elements, and interactive games that can grab a child’s attention immediately. Since a child’s attention span is already low, fast food chains knowingly add an element of fun to these advertisements and make them more memorable and eye-catching for children. 

Is it possible for children to escape from fast food?

Though enticing advertisements, convenient drive-thru options and colourful packaging hold a strong allure for children towards junk food, children need to move away from these fast-food-centric diets as they can cause long-term problems for kids at a very young age. Because of these fast-food chains, many children nowadays are already fighting obesity and long-term health consequences like high blood sugar levels, irregular food eating habits, low eyesight, indigestion, etc. While children may not stop eating fast food on their own, parents, guardians and educators must step up and put in consistent efforts to make the children aware of other nutritious alternatives. 


The first and foremost step in helping children break free from the clutches of junk food is educating them about the negative effects of consuming such a diet. Imparting proper education about the nutritional value and the impact of their food choices can help them make better choices. Most habits stay with children from a young age, and later, it becomes tough to break that pattern. So, teachers and parents must guide their children at a young age about different food groups, the benefits of eating green vegetables and colourful fruits and the downside of eating fast food items every day. 

Meal preps 

Meal prepping is another great way to ensure your child has healthy meals waiting for them to enjoy
Meal prepping is another great way to ensure your child has healthy meals waiting for them to enjoy

Parents can involve their children in meal preps and planning to make them more aware of their food habits. Meal prepping will not only make a child feel involved in the process but also develop a sense of ownership in kids over what food choices they are making. This way, you cannot only help your kids learn the basic habit of food prep but also encourage them to try new foods every day and broaden their food palette. 

Supportive environment 

Your child will not stop craving fast food until you step up and create a supportive environment for them. You cannot ask/ force your child to stop eating fast food items at once. This will only make your child more adamant about eating junk food. Instead, you can support your child in their food habits by stocking your house with various food items such as healthy options including - vegetables, fruits, proteins, whole grains, etc. You can limit the stock of processed and sugary foods at your home and only keep a day or two in the week where your child can eat some junk food such as a side of fries with their veggies or take a Lunchable to school for their lunch. 

Setting examples 

Children have a habit of looking after their elders and picking up after their habits. Children are incredibly observant, so as a parent, it's important to practice healthy eating habits around your kids. If parents prioritise taking healthy food items on their plates and discarding any junk food items, children will most likely follow the same pattern. Sitting at the dining table together and taking family meals will not only make the child feel involved but also foster good relations with healthy food eating habits. 

Reducing screen time 

Reducing children’s screen time is another important step and an often overlooked step we should take to foster healthy eating habits. Letting your kid watch TV or YouTube is no big deal, but advertisements and fast-food endorsements can easily tempt them and help them develop a liking for junk food. So, it is important to reduce your child’s screen time and instead promote playing physical games and taking part in any physical activities with them. 

Wrapping up 

It may not be possible for children to escape from fast food in a day, but yes, with patience, consistency and support, your children will start developing healthy food-eating habits. As a parent/ guardian, it will be your responsibility to extend continuous support to your children and health them break free from their unhealthy eating habits and take them closer to a healthier way of living. 

Children should have a balanced diet. Readers are advised to discuss health and food with a health practitioner, doctor or food/nutrition specialist before making any decisions based on the aforementioned information.