A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes health and wellness, primarily by focusing on nutrition: providing kids with information, enabling hands-on involvement, and empowering kids to make smart decisions about food. Offers a look at all the positive programs going on in schools and communities around the U.S. Additional themes include curiosity, perseverance, and teamwork.
Positive Role Models
Spotlights teachers, parents, scientists, and activists who are raising awareness of nutritional needs, encouraging kids to participate in healthy eating choices, working to raise health and wellness consciousness, and, in some cases, making nutritious foods accessible to underserved communities. The men and women are all ethical, motivated by a desire to do the right thing, and have both realistic and optimistic goals. The kids interviewed and shown are in the process of becoming informed consumers who often provide healthy food to others.
Products & Purchases
Positive consumer "product placement." Strongly advocates for informed, wise choices about eating. Promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unprocessed foods. Many highly marketed, brand-name foods are shown (cereal, sodas) but as examples of what not to eat.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Kids Menu is an upbeat documentary about the many forward-thinking efforts ongoing throughout the U.S. to build kids' and families' awareness of the rewards of healthy eating. In contrast with the constant media onslaught of scares about childhood obesity, diabetes, and the like, this film takes a far different approach: profiling imaginative, successful garden-to-table programs; highly motivated teachers and scientists; and kids of all ages, cultures, and economic backgrounds as they become educated food consumers and eagerly begin to participate in their own eating adventures. Lots of positive messages and relevant facts are included, always connected to the kids and adult spokespeople in an entertaining way. Best for thoughtful middle-grade kids, tweens, and teens, and best of all for families to watch together. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film is a welcome relief from doomsayers who cry "childhood obesity" and have no fixes. It's informative and confident that change is possible, and it offers positive, viable solutions. It's heartening to see the progress that has been made in raising awareness about dietary choices, health, and wellness. One of the mantras of The Kids Menu is, "If we don't make time for health, we'll have to make time for sickness," and watching a wide variety of kids who actually "get" that notion and care is promising. Kudos to Joe Cross for highlighting these programs, the staffers, and the kids. There's too much information and talk here for most younger kids, but middle grades and up should learn more than a little something and actually be entertained in the process.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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