People eat more of healthier foods like fruits and vegetables when these items are visible and easy to reach, enticingly displayed and appear like an obvious choice.
So if you are trying to unlock the secrets to healthier eating, the keys could be found in making them convenient, attractive and normal, the findings suggest.
“A healthy diet can be as easy as making the healthiest choice the most convenient, attractive, and normal,” said study author Brian Wansink from the Cornell University.
The researchers analysed 112 studies that collected information about healthy eating behaviours.
The study showed that when fruit is put in a nice bowl next to your car keys — or when a cafeteria puts it next to a well-lit cash register — it becomes more convenient, attractive, and normal to grab a banana than the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the far back of the freezer.
When restaurants give the high-profit shrimp salad appetizer an enticing name, highlight it on the menu, and have the waitress point it out as a special, it becomes more convenient, attractive, and normal to order that than the deep-fried onion rings on the back of the menu, the study noted.
“With these three principles, there are endless changes that can be made to lead people — including ourselves — to eat healthier,” Wansink pointed out.
For instance, if a school wants children to drink more white milk than chocolate milk, they can make white milk more convenient (put it in the front of the cooler), more attractive (sell it in a shapely bottle), or more normal (give it half of the cooler space instead of a small corner of the cooler).
The study was published in the journal Psychology and Marketing.