Time to recap another FNCE session for you guys! In case you missed it, check out my FNCE 2013 recap which also has links to my first two session recaps! I was drawn to this session immediately because you guys know I’m all about helping people make smart choices. Both presenters were fabulous and very engaging which made it a fun session even at 8am 🙂
How Consumers Decide What To Eat: Strategies for Making Healthy Choices
Speakers: Jim Painter, PhD, RD & Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD
Why are Americans gaining weight? We lose track of how much we are eating. The answer to the obesity epidemic is to beware of consumption.
- 20 years ago, a bagel was 3 inches in diameter and 140 calories. Today the average bagel is 350 calories – equivalent to 5 slices of toast.
- When you order a value meal, you get an extra 600 calories on average!
What can we do?
- The amount of food on a plate, whether it’s one serving or four, is what most people consider a “normal” portion. We need to work on teaching people correct portion sizes. Bigger bowls and bigger spoons can increase portion consumption without you even knowing! Switch to smaller plates, bowls and utensils.
- Out of sight, out of mind. People ate 30% less candy when in desk drawer vs. on desk and 60% less when 2 meters away. If you want people to eat better, make healthy choices visible, accessible and readily available!
- Descriptive labels impact perception. Use this to your advantage and make healthy food sound good! People will enjoy it more!
What do people think?
- Americans eat according to the my plate pattern(meeting 70% of their nutrient needs) just 7 days per year. 2% of the time.
- Half of those people polled think it’s easier to do their own taxes than figure out how to eat healthfully.
- More than 40% of actions performed every day qualified as habits, not decisions. Use this to your advantage! Form healthy habits!
- Throwing info and facts at people doesn’t always mean they will change for the better. Asking people to make a change that’s too different than their regular behavior can be ineffective. Try small changes!
- Most people want to keep things the way they are. Loss aversion is the reason for inertia. Focus on adding good!
- Good for you may = tastes bad in consumer’s mind. Food needs to be healthy and enticing. Eating more produce is unappealing for many. Focus on suggesting tasty cooking methods to try, like roasting to bring out flavor.
- About half of people say that “taste” drives food choices, rather than “healthfulness. Healthy should never taste bad, healthy can always be delicious.
- People avoid change by thinking in the abstract. Make concrete, simple, realistic goals that can become healthy habits!
The good news?
- Willpower” buckles under stress and fatigue and challenging circumstances. But you can improve self control! Will power is like a muscle- work it and it gets stronger!
- Self-control in one area of life translates to other areas as well. Work on eating better and it may become easier to exercise more.
- You don’t need to try to change forever. Emphasize the process. Deal in the present. One healthy day at a time!
- There is power in groups! Obesity may be “contagious” but so is good health! sharing experiences can form healthy habits.
- We can help people resist temptation by recognizing triggers for unhealthy habits and forming healthy habits.
Know that taste and convenience rule the day for most people. Teach them how to make choices that are healthy AND work for them.
Let’s chat: What are you doing to help yourself and those around you make healthier choices?