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Surprising Science

School Lunch Psychology

Simple marketing strategies can be very effective at getting kids to eat healthier lunches, like putting fruit in an attractive bowl and replacing carrots with ‘x-ray vision carrots’.

While school budgets are especially tight when it comes to feeding their students—the Boston Globe reports that after expenses are paid, schools have about one dollar per student to spend on food—the way to get kids eating healthier may not have a monetary solution. Instead, beneficent manipulation is the way to go: “Brian Wansink, a Cornell professor of applied economics, told school lunchroom managers to buy an attractive bowl from T.J. Maxx, and use the bowl to display the fruit in a prominent, well-lit place in the lunchroom. The schools saw fruit sales double.”


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