You CAN Eat Healthier Using Three "Magic" Words

Is it possible to eat healthier by remembering three words? According to a study conducted by Cornell, it is.

The study analyzed data from 112 other research investigations related to healthy eating behaviors. The data revealed that people of all ages are more likely to choose nutritious foods when cafeterias, restaurants, stores, a spouse, or a parent makes good food:

  1. easy to see and reach (convenient)
  2. look nice (attractive), and
  3. seem an obvious choice (normal)

“A healthy diet can be as easy as making the healthiest choice the most Convenient, Attractive, and Normal,” says the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

CAN Do: Convenient, Attractive, Normal

Applying the CAN concept to your life, and food, is simple. To encourage yourself or family members to eat more fruit leave some sitting out everyday (makes it normal) in a pretty bowl (attractive) and set the bowl next to where you keep your car keys, or near the kitchen sink (convenient).


To inspire consumption of veggies you might put pre-cut vegetables on the middle refrigerator shelf (convenient), purchase salad dressings with cool names and labels (attractive), and set salad bowls on the dinner table every evening (makes it normal). It also helps to store the cookies and chips out of sight.

Leading People To Healthy Choices

“With these three principles, there are endless changes that can be made to lead people - including ourselves - to eat healthier,” said Wansink.

To increase white milk consumption over chocolate milk, for instance, schools can put white milk in the front of the cooler (convenient), sell the white milk in fun or interesting bottles (attractive), and give white milk at least half of the cooler space (makes it more normal). In a study, these changes increased white milk consumption by 30 to 60 percent in participating schools.


So, if you want your family, or yourself, to drink more water just think of ways you CAN make it happen such as keeping a lovely pitcher of water - freshened daily (and maybe flavored with lemon or lime slices) - on a middle shelf of the fridge, with easily accessed glasses or cups nearby.

Sometimes it’s the little things - bits of practical magic - that make a big difference.

Source: Food Psychology
Photo credit: Bill G.


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