Marta de Wulf wants kids to play with their food -- well, at least on a computer screen. She wants kids to smash it and see how much salt, sugar and fat they're eating. Which is why the game is called "Smash Your Food" and it's a lot of fun.
"It's ooie and gooie and it's messy, but out drops sugar, salt and oil, And it show the kids what is in this food," she said. "And it captivates them because they're willing to stay in the game long enough to learn those important nutrition concepts."
There are 40 foods to smash, including pizza, a can of sugary pop, French fries, jelly donuts, potato chips and a milkshake.
"The milkshake just explodes and kids gasp when they see 25 cubes of sugar come out of it. That's the a-ha moment,and then they see the oil drip out of the French fries," said de Wulf. "It's not necessarily that these foods are bad; it's just that in excess amounts, it leads to excessive calorie consumption which is the leading cause of obesity."
So far, the game has had more than 400,000 smashes. DeWulf says feedback from parents makes it clear that the nutritional message is getting through.
"Some children will say 'Mom, I want a salad.' They're just so grossed out after seeing this," said de Wulf.
The Smash Your Food app was a winner in First Lady Michelle Obama's Apps for Healthy Kids competition. It's available for the iPad, and the iPhone app is due out in October.
The website is free -- so you can check out the game at smashyourfood.com.