Getting people to eat healthier is a goal that many public health initiatives have struggled with. Just getting people to buy healthier foods in the store is only half the battle – actually getting people to prepare and consume healthier foods once they’ve filled their fridge with fruits and veggies is often another story.
According to research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, implementing a simple three-rule system into your everyday life can make the difference between snacking on healthy foods versus snacking on less healthy foods. It’s all about making the healthier options more convenient and readily available for snackers.
The C.A.N. Approach
What researchers came up with is a way of looking at nutrition that they deemed the “C.A.N Approach”(1). The approach relies on three basic principles:
Is the food easy to see, order, pick up, and consume?
Is the name, appearance, and price of the food attractive, and does it inspire attractive expectations in the consumer?
Is it a food that you normally order, purchase, and eat?
If a healthy food meets all of these criteria, the researchers found based on their systematic review of 112 scientific studies on eating behaviours, a person is more likely to choose the healthy option, even when presented with a less healthy one.
In short, people want to eat healthy, but convenience, attractiveness, and how well the food fits into their normal eating habits are often the stumbling blocks they need to get around in order to do so.