A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Go Nini's goal is to promote healthy eating choices for young kids. A little monster-looking character named Nini briefly introduces the concept of "go" foods, "slow" foods, and "whoa" foods. According to Nini, "go" foods are OK to eat all the time and give lots of energy; "slow" foods are OK to eat sometimes and give a little bit of energy; "whoa" foods are OK to eat once in a while and don’t give much energy. In the game, kids help Nini decide what to eat for breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. When Nini eats enough "go" foods, he makes it to the end of the day feeling strong and healthy, and he grows bigger and stronger.
What's it about?
Nini is out for a walk and needs help deciding what to eat. Depending on the level, kids choose from three or four food options, such as a donut, a banana, lowfat yogurt, or an egg. If kids choose a "go" food, Nini will "go, go, go" as he walks -- kids can tap to make him jump over objects. But after "slow" or "whoa" foods, Nini is slow and lethargic. At the end of the day, if Nini has eaten at least three "go" foods, he gets bigger and stronger and kids move to the next level. If he didn't, kids are invited to try again and to ask a grown-up to help them choose more "go" foods.
Is it any good?
GO NINI's message is great. The "go," "slow," and "whoa" concepts are a really nice way to emphasize moderation: even bad foods (which are often so tempting!) are OK so long as you only eat them once in a while. Also, kids can relate to seeing Nini grow bigger and stronger.
Unfortunately, the message is a bit incomplete and could be misleading. Some discussion on what goes into a nutritionally complete diet and how to categorize foods would add depth. In the game, kids could feed Nini water, an apple, broccoli, orange slices, and water again and again (all "go" foods) and see him have energy to "play all day," which is unrealistic and could be confusing. It could be helpful to see Nini's activity level change more depending on what he eats. Nini's jumping could be made more relevant if, by the end of a day of eating too many "whoa" foods, he didn't have the energy to keep jumping over objects. Overall, it's a brief introduction to an important topic that requires a lot of input from parents. There are discussion prompts in the settings menu, and that's a good thing!
Talk to your kids about ...
Discuss more examples of "go," "slow," and "whoa" foods and what other kinds of foods belong in each category.
Talk to your kids about how they feel after eating different kinds of food (in both the short and long terms).
Discuss how your family could incorporate more "go" foods into your diet; have kids help prepare healthy meals.
For kids who love being healthy
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