A simple trick to eating healthy

Some researchers have explained that a simple trick that may give you the ability to prepare healthy food is to become edible immediately, as reported by the newspaper "Russia Today".

For example, peel a banana so that it is in your fridge when you open its door. Or cut some pepper into slices and empty some nuts into a bowl.

Scientists at the University of Aberdeen, as Russia Today noted, said this was due to people who considered food appetizing if it required no effort to prepare at all.

As well as in your home, public health campaigns should show images of healthy, ready-to-eat options — such as cooked salmon and broccoli.

Dozens of studies have found that people prefer to choose foods with higher calories over low-calorie options.

But no studies have looked at how willingness to eat — food that can be eaten as is, rather than having to make an effort to prepare — affects food cravings, according to the researchers.

They recruited more than 200 volunteers, aged between 16 and 66, who were shown pictures of food at different stages of preparation and asked how much they wanted to eat on a scale from zero to 100.

The images were presented in pairs in three categories – raw/uncooked, whole/sliced and packed/unpacked.

For example, raw beef was compared to a cooked steak, while whole peppers were compared to sliced.

The findings, in the journal Food Quality and Preference, revealed that participants felt that food was 15 percent appetizing if it could be eaten immediately rather than having to cook, peel or even just pull out of a can.

The results were applied to food groups across the board – so banana slices were rated as more attractive than those that needed to be peeled.

The results show that raw food scored about 27 out of 100, while cooked food ranked 38th.

Meanwhile, packaged food (about 34) scored lower than food removed from the package (about 36).

Sliced food (about 32) is considered more appetizing than items that need to be cut (about 30).

Participants who reported feeling hungry before looking at the images were more likely to choose ready-to-eat food rather than food that needed to be prepared.

Dr Helen Knight, a psychologist and author of the study, said it was "really important" for everyone to know how being prepared to eat affected food cravings.

"If you're starting this year trying to eat better, make sure you prepare healthy food to encourage healthy choices and avoid shopping for food when you're hungry," she said. This can make you crave more ready-to-eat snacks that are usually as unhealthy as home-cooked food."