If you build it…

This may sound worse than it is, but I’ve been sorting through stacks of paper and apparently 2016 had some interesting nutrition findings. And I’d like to take this Minute to share two articles.

The first was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. A short pilot study and then a longer trial attempted to see if grocery shoppers can be influenced to buy produce. Researchers included control grocery stores and they matched demographics and poverty levels in the study.

The variable was green arrows stuck to the perimeter of the grocery floor pointing the way to the produce section. Arrows had healthy messages like, “follow the green arrow for health”.

Did you guess? Shoppers DID buy more produce but did NOT increase their total food budget. A win-win.

We know groceries can lure us to high margin, low nutrition items but this is remarkable. The shortcoming of the studies was its short duration. More research needs to be done to see if this is short- or long-term change. I’ve advocated this approach at a local food bank but haven’t been taken up on the idea.

Our second study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (yes, 2016) showed location matters in the school cafeteria. Salad bars within the regular lunch line had significantly greater use than salad bars located in a different area. I know you think, of course! Convenience matters to everyone.

I loved that these were low/no cost ways to encourage healthier eating. You can arrange your kitchen/fridge/cupboards similarly. Make the healthy choice the easy choice to be well,


PS Who knows what happened in 2017 – stay tuned!!

Permanent link to this article: http://marciacrawford.net/archives/build-it

The Grocery

In class this semester, one of the groups “presented” on the psychology of the grocery store. I love that topic but this semester it gave me pause. Let’s chat.

The things we have long known:

  • bigger carts encourage you to buy more
  • warehouse clubs encourage more buying  (resulting in eating more and wasting more)
  • fruits/veggies/flowers are at the entrance so you feel the freshness, wholesomeness, healthiness of the store
  • candy at the check out aisle is there because you’re exhausted and you deserve a reward by that time
  • the scent wafting from the bakery increases your chance of buying a baked good

So, my thoughts turn to those using grocery shopping services and knowing that Nutrition Minute readers are health conscious:

  • are you buying more/less/same?
  • are you buying more/less/same amount of produce?
  • cooking more from scratch?
  • are you adding SOFAS? solid fats and added sugars like cookies/cakes/pop/snack foods/candy

Dollars spent (pre- and post-quarantine) in the grocery isn’t an accurate comparison since we’ve restricted eating out so much. Did your daily diet get healthier or not so much? Healthier on week one and less so by week 734?

Will share some food trends in another Minute but, in the meantime, would love to hear how and what you’re doing to be well,


PS Share your habits at cmarciam@gmail.com – I can shield your identity – except for outing my registered dietitian/nutritionist friend who said she’s been ADDING candy to her list!

Permanent link to this article: http://marciacrawford.net/archives/grocery

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