The Tasty Trick To Saying ‘No’ To Junk Food

Photo (cc) by Alice Henneman

Eating better starts with buying more healthful foods, but there’s a trick to it.

Consuming a healthy snack before grocery shopping boosts your chances of buying more produce, according to three new studies written up in this month’s issue of the journal Psychology & Marketing.

Study participants who were given an apple at the start of shopping trips purchased 28 percent more fruits and vegetables than participants who were given a cookie.

Those who received an apple also bought 25 percent more fruits and vegetables than participants who did not receive a snack at all.

One study involved virtual shopping, in which online participants imagined they were shopping in an actual grocery store and were asked to choose products from a range of options.

Even here, apple eaters chose more healthful options. Cookie eaters chose fewer healthful options.

Research associate Aner Tal of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York — which conducted all three studies — concludes:

What this teaches us is that having a small healthy snack before shopping can put us in a healthier mindset and steer us towards making better food choices.

Tal conducted the research with Brian Wansink, who is director of the lab and author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” and “Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life.”

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