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More about behaviour 

  • Julie de Vaan

How to stimulate healthy food choices?


Every day, we make a lot of different food choices in all kinds of different settings. At home, in the supermarket, in the cafetaria at school or work, or on the go. While most of us want to make healthy choices, we are often tempted to make unhealthy ones. How do we help people to make healthy food choices and to resist unhealthy food choices that are driven by temptation and external influences?


These are the buttons that influence our food choices, and determine whether we are able to make conscious choices. If we push these buttons right, we can help people by making responsible food choices the standard.


Attitude towards healthy choices

What's people's view on food and health? And how important is this to them? This depends, for example, on what people think is healthy, on their personal standards, and whether people are aware of the possible problems en consequences of eating unhealthy.


Motivation and commitment

How motivated are people to choose healthy at the moment they have to make a food choice? For example, do they feel responsible for this? Do they feel support from their (social) environment? And what do they expect to get from their choices in the short term? This not particularly concerns health consequences, but, for example, immediate satisfaction after consumption.


Self-efficacy and self-control

To what extent do people feel like they are capable and able to make responsible food choices, and that they control the choices they make? That depends on freedom of choice, people's habits, the feeling that making healthy food choices makes sense, and the attraction/attractiveness or appeal of certain options.


Suitability of healthy choices

Are or do healthy choices seem to be the right choices? For example, are they or do they appear to be functional and attractive? And are they similar or equivalent to other options?

Ease of healthy choices

Is it easy to make healthy food choices? For example, because they are easily recognizable and available?


Norm

Does making healthy food choices seem normal? That depends on what behaviour we see (or think we see) in others, how available and obvious healthy choices are, and how these choices are presented.

By pushing these buttons the right way, we can make it easier for people to make responsible food choices. Exactly how choices are made, which buttons are most important, and how to push them right, depends on the situation. It may differ depending on your target group, your environment, who you are as an organization, and which behaviour you specifically want to provoke. If you want to stimulate people to make more healthy food choices effectively, look specifically into your situation to find out how you can best push the right buttons.

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