According to The Art of Influence, written by Kathryn Hoy who is a registered dietician, many decisions regarding nutrition, stem from subconscious desires. This idea relates to the conclusion that there are two main reasons why we choose certain types of foods. How we decide on certain foods is distinguished by influencing factors involving intrinsic or extrinsic motivations. Hoy separates the two and uses the phrases “Hot State” and “Cold State” to illustrate the reasoning behind simple food decisions such as, “Should I eat a bag of chips,” or “Should I eat a salad?” (Hoy, The Art of Influence).
Hoy describes The “’Hot State’ as a characterization created by impulsive operations; System 2, the “’cold state,” employs more deliberate, considerate actions.” An example of an impulse decision is buying food in the grocery store that instantly catches your eye, because you may be hungry at the time. A thoughtful food decision would involve a process such as following a budget, grocery list, or meal plan.
In other means, in relation to children’s nutrition, there is a psychological and theoretical approach that parents can take to encourage good eating behavior, while simultaneously adapting a child’s right to making their own autonomous, eating decisions! The important focus of this article emphasizes diligent decision-making and complete willpower. Both of which can be constructed and reconditioned to fit children’s nutritional needs. This means that anyone is capable of making the right food decisions to eat healthy. This is a matter of self-discipline and the mentality to want to put forth hard work to observe favorable changes. As found in scientific data, a behavioral economic study provided a substantial growth of children eating vegetables at lunch from 69 to 91 percent! Which in reality, a small step can involve changing the minds of a little more than 2/3 of children’s appetite towards choosing vegetables to almost the majority!
What does this mean for parents’ roles in their household? This suggests there are alternative ways of exposing children to healthy food instead of bribing or punishing. This implementation of “behavior economics” provides an innovative research proposition that could readily transform environments and food decision-making. This may be the new and most successful opportunity to significantly increase the desired outcome of certain food groups towards children’s nutrition. If the “cold state” is used more frequently with children and the choices of food options are both equally as healthy, children will have a sense of control and gradually will see healthy options as the better choice.
Hoy, Kathryn. “The Art of Influence.” Food & Nutrition 26 Aug. 2014: n. pag. Print.