~Aravindh & Sunil
Choice architecture is a method to extend multiple choices to individuals and giving them liberty in choosing an option coherently. In Choice architecture, consumer behaviour is taken into consideration while designing the alternatives and represented in a way that individuals select the option that is more aligned to the provider. In schools, choice architecture is an excellent way to improve students’ physical and mental well being. Healthy habits can be nurtured in children using Choice architecture.
In one of the outreach schools in Auroville, around 4 in 10 students were anaemic. Students eschewed nutritious snack and preferred tasty snack. In this case, children are often under a familiarity bias. A familiarity bias is when one decides to stay within their comfort zone. In this case, children portray absurdity heuristics; they tend to put away the nutritious food. They didn’t want to consume healthy food separately. To overcome this, the facilitators came up with a brilliant idea to blend drumstick leaves, dates, and peanuts (which are rich in iron) with porridge to keep the taste balanced with nutrition. After that, students preferred this snack and started to consume without any excuses. This nutritious mix meal resulted in a significant improvement in their health.
The core driver behind this action is that the mere thought of eating food reminds us of how we feel when we eat it. Digestion starts with sight and smell. Instead of giving nutritious food separately, we can blend both nutritional and non-nutritional elements in the lunch meal. Children usually default to choices which are suitable to their taste and tend to take smaller portions that are easy for them to digest. By disguising nutritious food as per their preferred taste and size, we can nudge them to have a healthy meal.