How Do We Make Food Decisions? Seductive Nutrition

We hear about “Mindless Eating” often, and I speak about it often during my health and nutrition presentations. I was so glad to find out about Dr. Wansink, an expert in the psychology of food. In his book, “Mindless Eating, Dr. Wansink explores and trys to understand how small changes in people’s everyday food decisions can make a positive difference on their health. He is supportive of Unilever Food Solutions’ “Seductive Nutrition” approach.

What is “Seductive Nutrition”? Dr. Wansink states, “It can speak to the holistic dining experience. Nice dinnerware, soft lighting and a matching tablecloth can help enhance a person’s dining expectations and is something to keep in mind for your next dinner party.” In his research, he found people rated the taste of a brownie much higher when it was served on a nice dinner plate than on a cheap plastic plate. Look how this broccolini  looks more luscious in this photo (above). See health benefits of broccolini and the recipe for Broccolini with Pumpkin Seeds. Dr Wansink now wants to help industry professionals (bloggers, recipe developers, restaurant operators) and their dining patrons learn how quick, easy meal changes – whether dining in a restaurant or at home – can make positive impact on how people eat, and therefore how they live. The group at Unilever Food Solutions recently hosted a “select group of chefs and restaurant operators at the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone (CIA) to highlight their efforts to help people choose delicious, slightly healthier meals when they eat out through “Seductive Nutrition.” Developed by Unilever Food Solutions after the release of a global World Menu Report, “Seductive Nutrition” nudges guests to choose top menu items made slightly healthier through small changes to ingredients and preparation methods, with more enticing menu descriptions.” For example, my recipe for Checkboard Tuna Sandwich is more enticing by its name and its presentation.

Here are a few tips from he suggests on how to seduce diners or readers into making the healthier meal choices:

  • Research from his Cornell Food and Brand Lab, and his book show that we eat first with our eyes and imagination, and then with our stomachs. If we think something is going to taste good, it also tends to.  Knowing this tendency, “Seductive Nutrition” may help make the healthiest of foods not only appear – but also taste – indulgent to your customers.
  • Simple, yet descriptive, words on a menu board can help lead customers to select healthier menu items. Using words like creamy, hot, or spicy on a menu board have been shown to help increase food sales in restaurants by up to 28 percent; and, in his studies, he found it led people to view restaurants as more “trendy and up-to-date.” It’s an easy change to make.  For example, including descriptive adjectives can turn your everyday mashed potatoes into “creamy, whipped mashed potatoes,” and a yogurt parfait into a “silken yogurt parfait.”
  • Incorporating vivid adjectives can trigger people’s meal expectations. In his analysis of more than 1,000 descriptively-named menu items, he found three key ways for foods to be “seductively” named:
  • 1. Geographic Labels: Use words to create an image or illicit the ideology of a geographic area that diners can associate with foods. Examples include Southwestern Tex-Mex Salad; homegrown Iowa Pork Chops; “Real” Carolina Barbeque Sauce; or Country Peach Tart.
  • 2. Nostalgic Labels: Alluding to your customers’ past can trigger happy associations of family, tradition, national origin and a sense of wholesomeness. Use these fond associations to create appealing names, like Old-World Italian Manicotti; Grandma’s Best Banana Cream Pie; or Green Gables Matzo Ball Soup.
  • 3. Sensory Labels: Describing the taste, smell and texture of menu items served can help set customer dining expectations. Dessert chefs accomplish this masterfully; example menu names include Velvet Chocolate Mousse; Silky-Smooth Pumpkin Pie; or Warm Apple Crisp. Sensory labels apply to all meal courses, such as Hearty, Sizzling Steaks; Snappy-fresh Seasonal Carrots; or Garlic butter-infused Chicken Kiev.

For more information on Unilever Food Solutions, the “Seductive Nutrition” approach to menu development and the “Seductive Nutrition” Challenge, please visit www.unileverfoodsolutions.us.


Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of a sponsored opportunity from the Mom It Forward blogger network for Unilever Food Solutions. All ideas, images and opinions are my own.

 

7 Health Benefits of Apples

Do apples make you skinny? That’s what I have heard from some time. Whether they do or not, apples are in abundance right now, and I love cooking and eating them. My daughter, Leigh, fractured her foot last week at dance (this is the 3rd fracture she has had in a year-ughhh). I told her yesterday, “Maybe you should start eating apples since they are good for bone health”, and it made me think of writing this post on the 7 Health Benefits of Eating Apples:

1. Apples make you feel full (or skinny?)-I heard that apples can make you skinny, but perhaps it’s the fiber in an apple that keeps you feeling full longer. There are about 95 calories in a medium-sized apple, and they take our bodies longer to digest since they are made with complex fiber. One component of an apple’s peel is something called ursolic acid, which was been linked to a lower risk of obesity in a recent study in mice. Also, applesauce is also a great healthy substitute for baked goods. Try substituting it for half of the butter and oil in many dessert pr baked recipes.

2. Apples can lower cholesterol- Apples are one of the top fruits with plenty of pectin, a soluble fiber that reduces cholesterol. Pectin prevents cholesterol from building up in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis and heart disease.

3. Apples are a good memory booster- Apples have quercetin which may protect brain cells, help improve your memory and lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

4. Apples help reduce blood sugar– The polyphenols in apples can influence the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and help achieve normal glucose levels.

5. Apples have anti cancer benefits- Studies have showed that apples can also help protect against colon cancer from a chemical in apples. Another in 2007 also found additional compounds, called triterpenoids, which seem to fight against liver, colon, and breast cancers.

6. Apples can protect bones-Apples contain phloridzin that is said to increase bone density and boron that strengthens bones.

 7. Apples can help reduce and prevent Asthma– Studies link a higher intake of vitamin C with improved asthma. Another study, discovered adults and children who consumed apples or apple juice every day also reduced their risk of asthmatic attacks.
Also studies show that women who eat plenty of apples are less likely to have children with asthma.

Fitness Friday: Bob Harper’s Top 5 Fitness Tips

Bob Harper is America’s #1 TV weight-loss authority and fitness expert from NBC’s The Biggest Loser. You can also find him here on twitter, and he is the creator of Smart Success. Here are his top five weight-loss and fitness tips:

1. Protein is important for building muscle and repair. It is essential to get at least half of your body weight of protein in grams. For example if you way 180 pounds, you must get 90 grams of protein.

2. When traveling, stick to your workout regiment; sneak out to your hotel gym, and get a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio a day. Pack a jump rope-it doesn’t take up much space. Grab a hotel bath towel, and create a short circuit, or just run around the surrounding area of your hotel to keep your body trim and in its normal fitness routine

3. Your warm up sets the mood for your entire workout. Choose something that gives you a dynamic and strong start. An example is standing kicks. They are excellent for getting the blood pumping.

4. When building better abs (or any muscle), work them out 2 to 3 times a week. Not everyday.

5. For an overall body workout, you can keep it simple and stick to push ups. You will see great results.

Photo via Pinterest