Size Matters (for Healthy Eating): Use Bigger Forks and Shopping Carts

Think a shopping basket is the wisest choice at the supermarket? Think again

The grocery aisles are full of decisions: white or wheat, whole milk or skim, butter or margarine? But what about the first choice we make after walking through the door?

A new study in the Journal of Marketing Research, found that using a shopping cart instead of a basket helps us make healthier food choices. In fact, shopping cart users are three times more likely to choose better-for-you options than their basket-toting counterparts.

Basically, the flexed-arm motion used when carrying a basket encourages shoppers to grab food with immediate gratification. The pleasure following a bite into a small piece of candy is quickly attainable, but not the healthiest choice.

Pushing a shopping cart has the opposite effect. Buying larger, healthier ingredients that take time to prepare are better suited for a cart.

I always thought that by using a basket I’d not only tone my biceps, but I’d also buy fewer things and consequently, eat less. Despite the researchers’ findings, I still believe that to be the case. My biceps might be unchanged, but by making a shopping list and using a basket, I stick to the game plan. Maybe I’m not the norm though.

So does size matter when it comes to eating healthier? Apparently, bigger is better. Not only should we use a shopping cart over a basket, but a study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that those who eat with bigger forks eat less than those who eat with small ones. Next time you’re at the store, throw some larger utensils in your cart and remember the bigger picture.

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