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Persuading kids to make healthier choices in the lunchroom

Using behavioral economics tactics such as re-labeling peas as "power peas" on menus and prominently displaying fruits and vegetables could help children develop healthy eating habits, according to researchers at Cornell University.

In a paper published in a recent issue of Choices, researchers observed:

  • Preschoolers ate 62 percent more carrots when the vegetable was referred to as "X-ray vision carrots".
  • When middle school students were given the option of choosing between having celery or carrots with their lunch, 94 percent ate all their vegetables compared with only 69 percent of students who were not given a choice in vegetables.
  • High school students opted for more nutritious food options when forced to pay cash for desserts and soft drinks.

Additional solutions are outlined on Smart Lunchrooms.

Previously: School nutrition standards come into the 21st century
Photo by Bruce Tuten

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