We Eat with Our Eyes

Google uses subtle cues, which they call “nudges,” to help employees eat healthier.  One example they found to affect change was adding a simple message in their cafeteria: “people with bigger dishes are inclined to eat more.”  Here, we also believe in letting the environment take on the hard work for you.  Some Next Jump behavioral cues that we include in all offices are the following:

  • At dinner we place salad at the start of the buffet-line: people fill their plate up with whatever they see first.
  • The best and healthiest snacks in our snack bins are at the top and mid-level where it is easiest to grab.  The worst are at the bottom.  The cups are no more than 3-4 oz to limit portion size.  The color coding tells people when to “Go, Slow, Whoa!”
  • We offer healthy drinks and place the water cooler near the fridges for easy grab n go.

These behavioral techniques were studied by Dr. Brian Wansink, a nutrition and behavioral expert who studies why people continue to partake in specific behaviors, regardless of whether or not they know the consequences.  Read on to learn more about Wansink’s other findings.

Some Brian Wansink favorites…

  • The shape of a glass will predict how much you drink (tall skinny ones – drink less; short fat ones – drink more).
  • The proximity of a specific food to your desk determines how much you may eat of it
  • People experience a “ripple effect” – when they are successful at just ONE healthy habit, that success will trickle into partaking in other healthy habits.  Example, just exercising alone can actually help people eat better.
  • Smells will affect how people perceive the taste of their foods (putting cat food near filet mignon, people were less prone to eat)
  • Labels will affect how people perceive the taste of their foods (stating that there was soy protein vs protein in a bar, people were less inclined to eat the bar)

Below shows how we strategically place the healthier foods mid and eye-level, for fast grabbings.

 

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