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Food as a Reward

Food and snacks given as rewards seem so harmless. But before you reward yourself or any one else with.. lets say a dessert, you should think of the signals you are unintentionally sending and the bad habits you could be building. While rewards and incentives can be an effective way to encourage positive behavior, health experts recommend using alternative rewards over food. Some reasons why we should reconsider this practice especially in children are:

  • Today’s kids are already overwhelmed with unhealthy food choices. They face high risks of being overweight and having serious health problems in the future.

  • Children need to be taught and encouraged to make wise choices about food and healthy eating. Giving food (or treats) as a reward makes this confusing and difficult for them.

  • Bribing with any food (whether it is sweet, salty, fruit or even veggies) encourages children to eat when they are not hungry. They learn to reward themselves through eating, a habit that may continue into adulthood.

  • When treats are offered as a reward for daily activities, children quickly learn to prefer “junk food” rather than healthier foods. They may also begin to see healthy food as punishment.

  • Giving food (or treats) as a reward contradicts healthy eating messages taught in school.

  • Studies show that kids actually prefer non-food rewards.

To ensure that students like the non-food rewards, ask for their help in developing a list of non-food rewards. Some ideas for non-food rewards include:

  • First in line or first to do something in class

  • Stickers, stamps

  • Erasers, pencils, notepads

  • Certificates

  • Lunch with the teacher

  • Be the teacher’s assistant

  • Student chooses where to sit for the day

  • Extra free/play/game time

  • Listen to music

  • Watch a movie

  • A hug or praise

At Envision we are inspired by your success

Healthy eating habits can at first be hard to develop but they make our lives easier in the long run. It’s worth the effort and time it will take to be healthy because life is really better when you eat better. Unhealthy eating habits are easy to develop but make our lives a lot more difficult. We teach you how to retrain yourself to help you develop new habits naturally.

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