Red Light, Green Light

11949849751056341160traffic_light_dan_gerhar_01.svg.medThere is a hospital that studied what happened when they labeled food in their cafeteria with traffic light colors. Green means healthy choice, yellow means so-so, and red means less healthy choice. They reported these findings. Basically, people started buying more healthy food items and fewer unhealthy items.

Not to be evil, but here’s my question: why don’t they just serve healthier food instead of labeling it? They have the evidence that people will buy it. My unofficial study about diet soda vs. regular soda from many years ago is that when I would bring diet soda to a party and all the other beverages had sugar…my soda went first. Every time. (I had to start hoarding it.) Soda may not be a good example, since none of it is all that great for us, but my point is that when (decent and well-prepared) healthy food is an option, many – if not most – people will choose it. It’s all about what’s in front of us.

I propose that hospital cafeterias (of all people) serve healthy food without labels. If you serve it, we will buy.

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One Response to Red Light, Green Light

  1. Deirdre says:

    It would be great if places only served healthy food choices, but that does not teach moderation. I think the red light, green light concept is a great idea. When it comes to making food choices, I get overwhelmed by having to count carbs and calories; forget about making sure my serving is the size of my first, hand, or thumb. If someone said to me you can have all the green light foods you want, and a certain number of yellow light and red light foods, it would seem much more manageable. That being said, I am sure I would still eat more than my share of red light foods.

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