Friday, 21 September 2007

Get that candy jar out of your office

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Brian Wansink knows food behavior. He directs Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab, authored "Mindless Eating" and spent hours watching people's food choices in and out of the home.

We may think we overeat if we're super hungry or the food is tasty, but according to Wansink, that's a bunch of hooey. He says visibility and convenience are the most influential motivators. Get that candy jar out of your office -- out of sight, out of reach, out of mind. In one fascinating experiment, Wansink placed candy jars stuffed with chocolate in employees' cubicles for a month. Then he moved the jars a mere six feet farther away. Subjects chowed down five more candies daily (125 calories) when the jar was nearby. I was never one to turn down the candy jar, unless it sat in the office of a supervisor I didn't like. Then I would walk more than six feet and pounce when they went to lunch!

Take that Lazy Susan off your dinner table, too. Do people still have those serving circles? Wansink states you'll consume more food if you eat "family style", directly from a bag/carton, from a big plate/container, in front of the TV, in the car or with friends. I relish the days before kids when I could totally control what food sat in the pantry. I buy plenty of healthy fruits/veggies, but the kids' treats beckon to me every day.

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