Choosing healthy food over favorite snacks

By Karin Lillis • Published: November 16th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Choosing healthy food instead of your favorite snacks can be a challenge, but there are ways to establish healthier eating habits.

If you want to lose weight, eat healthy foods that you enjoy. So says a research team from Baylor University, whose findings were published recently in the journal Psychology and Marketing.

Those who succeed in efforts to slim down — high self-control dieters — focus on healthy foods they enjoy eating, such as strawberries. They also are more likely to develop healthy-eating plans that incorporate the occasional “treat” to stave off cravings and keep themselves motivated.

Those who do not succeed in their attempt at weight loss — Low self-control dieters — are more likely to replace an unhealthy food with a healthier option that they don’t like, such as Brussels sprouts. They concentrate more on avoiding certain foods or snacks. By doing so, the team noted, they are setting themselves up for failure.

In another study, a team of researchers from Denmark found that people are more likely to purchase easily accessible food at the grocery store, or order dishes that are prominent on a restaurant menu. In other words, marketing influences us.  The team said the process is known as “food nudging.”

Placing healthy foods at eye level in the grocery store may prompt shoppers to select those options over unhealthy alternatives. In a restaurant, the order in which items appear on the menu can influence what diners ultimately order. For instance, a buffet restaurant might put fruits and vegetables first in line to encourage diners to fill up their plates with healthy options.

So if you want to get smaller, think small sometimes: Even little diet changes can help your overall health and well-being if they are strategic and sustainable.