It's not just what's in the buffet that matters. According to Science Daily, the way that the dishes are arranged may also make for healthier food choices.

Researchers Dr. Brian Wansink and Dr. Andrew Hanks hypothesized that the dish placed at the head of the buffet is what people get the most, setting the mood for the entire meal. To prove this, they organized two breakfast buffet tables with seven dishes each. On one, the team served cheesy eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, cinnamon rolls, low-fat granola, low-fat yogurt, and fruit in that order, while on the other table, the food was served in the opposite order, starting with fruit and so on and so forth.

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A total of 65 participants were randomly assigned to the cheesy eggs-first table, while 59 participants were assigned to the fruit-first table. All of them were asked to make only one food trip.

The results showed that 86.4 percent took the fruit when it was served first compared with the 54.8 percent when it was served last. On the other hand, 75.4 percent took the cheesy eggs when it was served first, while only 28.8 chose it when it was offered last.

The order of dishes seems to be important in promoting healthy eating habits, as according to the researchers, 65.7 percent of a person's plate is already filled with one of the first three kinds of food in a buffet line. An interesting correlation also follows upon making the first choice -- those who have chosen the cheesy eggs followed the dish with other savory viands such as potatoes and bacon, while those who picked fruit didn't feel that it was neccessary to pair it with the other available dishes.

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This kind of behavior doesn't only apply to the buffets. At home, you may also help foster proper diet among family and friends by serving healthy food first, such as salads or vegetable soups. This way, they'll be more inclined to pick healthier viands.


(Photo by 松林 Lvia Flickr Creative Commons)

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