It’s all in how you look at it. The way you perceive a particular person, situation or item depends on how it is presented to you. If an introduction is prefaced with a list of faults, indiscretions and misdeeds, you will meet the described individual with a less than positive opinion. And if she is wearing something seemingly inappropriate, your thoughts will be even lower. However, if her arrival is preceded with nothing but praise and she appears looking smart, sleek and put together, you will automatically think highly of her. The same is true for food.
If you describe a green bean as a green bean, wrinkling your nose and employing a tone of dull indifference, the vegetable will be consumed less than enthusiastically. However, if you present that same green bean as a scrumptiously seasoned and snappy bean, your diners will gobble it with abandon. They will, simply because you described it as such, believe that they have eaten a miracle from the garden. And if it is served in the same manner an unhealthy alternative would be, the fact that it is nutritious won’t even cross the eater’s mind. In a study of 26 children, researchers found that those given the same amount of foods but with varying calorie counts were unaware of the difference. They consumed no more throughout the day, actually eating less because of the healthier substitutions.
So if you’re looking for new ways to get your family to eat healthy foods, try changing the presentation. Alter the way you describe the foods and the way you serve them. Rather than basic names employ descriptors like succulent, tantalizing, exotic and velvety. Rather than offering lesser portions of the same foods, give the same amounts of lower calorie dishes. If they think they’re eating large quantities of something sinfully delicious, their taste buds will never know the difference.