In his new book Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab Brian Wansink argues that 25 years of research have convinced him that “becoming slim by design works better than trying to become slim by willpower.” In the book, published this week, he outlines concrete strategies for designing homes, restaurants, grocery stores, workplaces, and schools in ways that surreptitiously encourage healthy eating habits. Here at The Eye, Wansink shares an adapted excerpt from the book that presents an idea for a stealthily redesigned school lunch tray—currently in the prototype phase—that he hopes will help kids make healthy choices without having to think twice.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation had been collaborating with an innovative food-service director who was preparing to buy new trays for her school district in St. Paul, Minnesota. Familiar with my book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, they wondered if the book’s principles could be used to get kids to mindlessly eat better by redesigning a healthier lunch tray.
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