The psychology behind food choices for kids is dynamic

The psychology behind food choices for kids is dynamic
The psychology behind food choices for kids is dynamic

There have been attempts for a long time to use psychological persuasiveness to encourage healthy food choices for kids. Perceptions about the most effective manners to pursue this goal have been changing. Society for Personality and Social Psychology reported via EurekAlert, that there have been challenges to the status quo in determining the best psychological approaches to positively influence food choices.

Conventional beliefs dealing with the effectiveness of traditional strategies aimed at encouraging healthy eating have been challenged by researchers. For a start it has been considered a priority by health conscious people to help kids eat more vegetables. It has been shown by a study that putting photos of carrots and green beans on a school lunch tray increased the amounts of vegetables consumed during lunch, however this still wasn’t at levels which were consistent with dietary guidelines by the government.

Researchers therefore decided to study other simple methods which schools could use to encourage eating more vegetables during lunch. Researcher Traci Mann at the University of Minnesota says this research suggests that just little changes in the lunchroom setting can influence kids to eat more vegetables.

One idea which seems to offer promise is to give kids vegetables prior to offering any other food. It has been observed that kids who were given vegetables to eat prior to eating other food ate more vegetables than kids who were provided all the food options at one time.

It has also been suggested by researchers that it’s a good idea to associate healthy eating habits to things teens care about instead of trying to convince them to care about something they simply don’t care about. For instance explaining how junk food is made by firms to be as addictive as possible while using dishonest labeling to make products appear healthier seems to appeal to the interest of many teens. This awareness seems to compel many teens to make healthier food choices.

This study has been published in JAMA. Schools in the United States have been attempting to comply with US government recommendations to provide students with more vegetables in school lunches. The goal has been to increase healthy eating among kids. New psychological approaches to meet this goal seem promising.


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