Why we need to promote healthy food as good for us - and tasty - to change eating habits
Estimated reading time: 3-5 minutes
Recent research by Stanford University suggests that we are more likely to choose healthy food if we know we’re going to enjoy it. Hear from Roy Jakobs, Chief Business Leader of Personal Health, on his perspective.
I recently came across some interesting research by Stanford University published last month. It suggests that while most of us want to eat more healthily, encouraging people to eat healthy food by promoting it as nutritious hasn’t had much of an effect on our eating habits. Intriguingly, the research suggests that emphasizing the taste of healthy food could help: diners surveyed in the study put vegetables on their plates 29% more often when the food had taste-focused versus health-focused names on menus.
The case for healthy eating is strong
The research supports my own thoughts that we’re more likely to choose healthy food if we know we’re going to enjoy it. For me, nutritional value is top of my list, but I appreciate that finding the time to cook balanced meals while juggling work and family commitments can sometimes feel like a case of ‘easier said than done’, especially with so many pre-prepared, ‘fast’ foods now available.
But unhealthy eating is now responsible for more deaths worldwide than any other risk factor, including smoking. The good news, however, is that eating a healthy diet is proven to reduce our chances of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease (the leading causes of diet-related deaths), making the case for healthy eating stronger than ever.
We need to change the dialogue
I believe that to truly inspire people to eat a balanced diet, we need to change the dialogue around healthy food from something that is not only good for us but also tasty – because it can be! But dialogue is just the start. Real change can only come from developing more convenient ways to personalize healthy meals at home, because our kitchens really are the best and most obvious place to start.
Technology: making healthy and tasty possible
During my recent trip to one of Philips’ most advanced research and development centers, in Klagenfurt, Austria, I was reminded once again of how helpful technology can be. There, our experts collaborate and apply their deep expertise to develop and rigorously test meaningful innovations that help people live healthier lives.
During this visit, I had some insightful interactions with the team behind our smart home appliances and got to learn a bit more about our latest innovations. Our Airfryer XXL with Smart Sensing Technology really stood out to me. What’s really clever is its AI-powered Smart Sensing Technology, which automatically adjusts timings and temperature throughout the whole cooking process. It simplifies cooking by taking out the guesswork, which means even I can cook up a tasty meal for my family every day. And it doesn’t just fry, it also grills, bakes and roasts, giving it the potential to revolutionize healthy home cooking as we know it.
It’s also about education, support and inspiration
But technology alone isn’t enough to change people’s long-term eating habits: healthy-eating education, support and inspiration are just as important. The Airfryer XXL’s connected NutriU app contains 1,000 tasty, healthy picture-guided recipes, useful cooking tips and tricks, and even lets users share recipes so they can inspire each other, which has made preparing healthy meals really fun and educational in our household. Ultimately, by inspiring and helping people change their cooking routines in this way, we’re making homemade food easier to prepare, which is so much better for us.
It’s never too late to start making changes
Encouraging people to live their healthiest lives possible sits at the heart of everything we do at Philips. A big part of this involves giving people the tools, support and inspiration they need to prepare tasty, healthy food — easily. We believe eating healthily should be enjoyable and delicious: it certainly shouldn’t be boring or time-consuming.
I hope I’ve inspired you to start cooking healthier meals at home, just as I was inspired by our innovations during my Klagenfurt visit. Remember, it’s never too late to start making even small changes to your diet because every step counts on the journey to better eating and a healthier you. Enjoy your meal!
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Roy Jakobs is Executive Vice President and Chief Business Leader for the Connected Care businesses of Royal Philips, effective January 28, 2020. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of Royal Philips. Connected Care comprises the Connected Care Informatics, Monitoring & Analytics, Population Health Management, Sleep & Respiratory Care and Therapeutic Care businesses. Prior to this, Roy led Philips’ Personal Health businesses.