Study Shows People Enjoy Healthy Food More When They Prepare It Themselves

In the study, 120 women tasted milkshakes they made themselves or were prepared by someone else
Smoothie Ingredients

Flickr / Stacy / CC BY 4.0

Findings support the “IKEA effect,” in which people give higher value to objects they create themselves.

Could the secret to encouraging people to eat healthy be at-home preparation? A study published in Health Psychology suggests you might want to give at-home cooking and food preparation a chance.

After studying 120 women who tasted milkshakes made from healthy or unhealthy ingredients, made by themselves or by someone else, it was found that the women were more likely to enjoy the healthier milkshake if they made it themselves, according to Time. Self-preparing the unhealthy milkshake had no effect on taste, the study found.

It was concluded by the study that, “self-preparation increases the health salience of foods, because when people prepare foods, they become more aware of the ingredients that constitute a food.” The authors of the study point out that their findings support what previous studies have called the “IKEA effect,” in which people give higher value to things they make themselves. “According to this, people like self-made objects more than objects that were created by someone else because they have put more effort in these self-made objects. In addition, these efforts feel rewarding, because self-created products also signal competence to the self and others.”

Though the study has its limitations, given the small number of test subjects and only including milkshakes, the authors of the study argue that these findings can help to inform more effective campaigns to get people to eat healthier.

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