If you’ve ever prepared a meal or packed a lunch for someone you care about, you might have tried to make the meal extra tasty with a little additional butter or packed an extra cookie in that lunch. Folks over at the Nudge blog highlight a recently published study showing that people te…nd to choose a variety of healthy and less healthy foods for themselves, but more unhealthy foods for a friend. The lessons here? 1) Do your friends a favor and serve them good, healthy food and 2) Don’t allow yourself to be (over)served food that you would not otherwise serve yourself.
This study also reminds me of a 2006 paper by Brian Wansink in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. In it, he described how the majority of “nutritional gatekeepers” or people who are primarily responsible for purchasing and preparing most of the food in a household believed that other people in the household (e.g., children and husbands) held most of the influence in terms of what foods were consumed by the family. Interestingly, non-gatekeepers responded that they would pretty much eat whatever was prepared and that the gatekeeper held most of the power. The lesson here? A home’s nutritional gatekeeper is biggest food influence in the lives of his or her family members.