You CAN Cultivate Healthy Eating Habits: Three Easy To Apply Principles

Anyone trying to establish healthier eating habits can give their self a boost by remembering three words: convenient, attractive, and normal.

A study, done by Cornell researchers, analyzed the results of 112 other studies investigating healthy eating behaviors. The Cornell data revealed that humans of any age tend to select more nutritious foods when they are easy to grab (convenient), pleasantly displayed (attractive), and made to seem an obvious choice (normal).

“A healthy diet can be as easy as making the healthiest choice the most convenient, attractive, and normal,” said the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

Convenient, Attractive, Normal: The CAN Principles

Applying the CAN principles to your life just takes a bit of creative thought. To inspire yourself or family members to eat more fruit you might set a pretty bowl (attractive) of fruit next to where you keep your car keys, or by the kitchen sink (convenient) everyday (makes it normal).

To encourage consumption of vegetables try keeping some pre-cut veggies on the middle shelf of the fridge (convenient), place salad bowls on the supper table each evening (makes it normal), and buy salad dressings with interesting names and labels (attractive). It also helps to keep chips, and cookies stored in the pantry.

Leading Ourselves To Healthier Habits

“With these three principles, there are endless changes that can be made to lead people – including ourselves – to eat healthier,” said Wansink. Plus, the principles are effective not only in the home, but in schools and workplaces as well.

For example, to raise the consumption of white milk over chocolate milk schools can place the white variety toward the front of the cooler (convenient), sell the white milk in funky-shaped or colorful bottles (attractive), and give the white milk half or more of the cooler space (makes it normal). In one study, making these simple alterations boosted white milk selection by 30 to 60 percent in the participating schools.

So, if you would like yourself, or your family, to drink more water, just come up with ways you CAN make happen. Maybe have a lovely or adorable pitcher full of water, freshened daily (possibly sweetened with strawberry or cucumber slices), available in an easily accessed part of the fridge—with glasses or cups nearby.

Little changes can make a lasting difference.

Source: Food Psychology
Photo credit: Bill G.

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