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Can You Be Seduced Into Eating Healthfully?

 

Which sounds more enticing: fruit salad or seasonal exotic fruit drizzled with ginger citrus sauce? According to a new report released by Unilever 52 percent of U.S. diners say they look for healthy menu options when dining out, but 70 percent choose to treat themselves when placing their orders. The problem is nearly 40 percent of diners say the healthy option sounds less tasty, or they don’t think it will be as filling. So to help wannabe healthy eaters order nutritious fare Unilever suggests that restaurants engage in what they call “seductive nutrition.”

The idea is to gently nudge people towards healthier menu options by tweaking the titles of dishes along with the ingredients. In 90 percent of the countries surveyed, diners were more likely to choose menu items that included descriptive words, such as “steamed,” “succulent,” and “fresh.”

I love this idea, because perception can be reality. In my newest book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim all of the recipes are healthy and tasty, but I have noticed the meals that seem to get people excited about eating healthfully are those with descriptive titles, like the California Sunshine Salad. It just makes sense - if you won a ‘romantic weekend getaway’ you might be more enthusiastic than if you won an ‘overnight stay.’ Do you agree? Do delectable sounding healthy menu items entice you just as much, or even more so, than indulgent fare? If so let’s get creative. Below I’ve included a simple, healthy lunch or dinner recipe that meets the ‘5 piece puzzle’ concept of my book. Tweet your seductive name for it to @cynthiasass and @Shape_Magazine. I’ll choose my favorite and send you a copy of the book! Here’s a photo of the finished meal from my Pinterest page.

Name this recipe!

Produce: 1 cup mixed greens, ¼ cup each sliced onion, mushrooms, red bell pepper and eggplant 

Whole grain: ½ cup cooked, chilled quinoa

Lean protein: 3 ounces peeled deveined shrimp or 1/5 of a 14-ounce package of extra firm organic tofu, sliced into triangles

Plant based fat: 1 tablespoon coconut oil

SASS (slimming and satiating seasonings): 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice, 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, 1 small clove roasted garlic, ½ teapoon fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
Directions: Place sliced onion, mushrooms, red bell pepper, and eggplant on a cookie sheet and roast in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. While veggies are roasting whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, ginger, garlic, and thyme, toss it with the greens, place them in a salad bowl and sprinkle with the quinoa. Sear the tofu or shrimp in a pre-heated pan in the coconut oil. Top the greens with roasted veggies and shrimp or tofu and serve.   

Looking forward to your ideas!

Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.

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