August 2015 Issue

3 Ways to Make Healthy Eating Within Your Reach

More people are interested in improving the quality of their diets, but often their best-made plans don’t come to fruition. Yet healthy eating might be a lot easier to achieve than you think, according to intriguing new research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

Lead researcher Brian Wansink, PhD, analyzed data from 112 studies investigating healthy eating behaviors in grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and home kitchens. He found three principles that led to choosing healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables, over not so healthy choices, like chocolate chip cookies or chips.

1.  Make healthy food convenient. When healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are easy to see, order at restaurants, pick up, and consume, people will choose them. Think of a bowl of fruit on the dining room table instead of hidden in the refrigerator, bananas at the coffee shop checkout lane, and veggie sticks with hummus in a supermarket aisle.

2.  Make healthy food attractive. No matter where healthy foods are displayed, if they look more attractive, people will choose them more often. For example, a gorgeous bowl of strawberries at the breakfast table; a fresh, enticing salad bar in a cafeteria, or a colorfully garnished wholegrain side-dish.

3.  Make healthy foods seem “normal.” When a healthier item, such as a shrimp appetizer, gets more attention on the menu, people will choose it over something like onion rings. By taking away the “special” or “healthy” label from better-for-you foods, such as salads, fruits, and whole grains, people will more likely choose them.

By making healthy foods—fruits, vegetables, whole grains—easy, attractive, and common wherever you eat, you’re set for success.

—Sharon Palmer, RDN, Editor EN