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Eating With a Tray Could Promote Healthy Eating

Update Date: Jan 04, 2014 10:22 AM EST

With the New Year starting, dieting by eating healthy and joining the gym is one of the many goals people have on their resolutions list. For some people, sticking to this resolution might only last a few weeks to a couple of months, which is why finding ways to stay motivated is important. In a new study, researchers found another way that people could eat healthier without having to count calories and think about every food option available. According to the researchers, people who eat at self-serve locations and use trays are more likely to eat more salad and less dessert.

For this study, researchers from Cornell University observed that people who went to canteens and used trays ended up taking a salad, main course and a pudding. The trays provided space for the people to take what they wanted to eat. The researchers noted that when people did not have a tray, they were forced to leave behind something they wanted to eat. The team found that people were more likely to pick the pudding over the salad.

The team calculated that when there were no trays available, 18 percent fewer students picked the salad option. Since the students had to leave food behind, they tended to take larger portions of the food options they picked. This meant that they ate more calories and fewer greens. On the days where the cafeteria stocked up on trays, 86 percent of the students ate their entire main course. When the trays were not present, only 39 percent of people ate their entire main course. On tray days, 92 percent of students ate all of their salad where as only 54 percent of people did on no-tray days. The researchers conducted their study by observing a cafeteria at a University.

The researchers concluded that using a tray could dictate how people eat without them realizing it. Canteens and cafeterias should consider providing trays so that people eat better and waste less food.

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