To be successful at healthy eating, a person must adopt a 3-tiered tactic toward food, according to a study from Cornell University. The researchers reviewed more than 100 studies and found three factors that consistently helped people make better food choices. The foods had to be 1) convenient (C), 2) attractive (A), and 3) normal (N), or CAN. Healthy foods that fit this criteria were more successful than telling people not to eat certain foods or asking them to use willpower to avoid temptation. The study found that people make about 200 food-related decisions every day, which means the majority of those choices are quick and instinctive. Healthy foods must be on-hand, easy to prepare or in plain sight, and convenient. To be attractive, healthy foods, such as fresh fruit, should be at the top of a bowl on the counter, not buried at the bottom of the refrigerator drawer. These two factors help to make healthy choices more normal or typical for a person to instinctively choose.
Wansink B: Change their choice: Changing behavior using the CAN approach and activism research. Psychology & Marketing 2015;32:486-500.