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Creating a Healthful Food Environment

Imagine this: You’re put in charge of the snack table for your kids’ next event. How do you properly arrange the table to promote the healthful food options? What types of foods do you ask volunteers to bring?

Believe it or not, we have more influence than we realize on promoting healthful food options. This could be at a concession stand, an event for school or church, or a gathering at your own home. Here are some simple tips and tricks we can implement to help with the promotion of these healthy food items.                                        

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Having healthy food available and affordable in food retail and food service settings allows people to make healthier food choices. When healthy foods are not available, people may settle for foods that are higher in calories and lower in nutritional value.”


1) Advertisement

  • List healthful foods toward the top of a menu or poster.
  • Hang posters promoting healthful items at eye level.
  • Don’t be discouraged by junk food. No matter what the event is, chances are some less healthful items such as baked goods, chips, candy or pop will be offered. Place those items lower on the menu or posters.

2) Placement

  • Place a fruit chute or bowl with fruit on the table so people can choose what they would like as they go through the line. This makes choosing healthful food fun and interactive.
  • Try a mini fridge. Offer fresh, healthful items such as yogurt, string cheese or milk in a mini fridge on the table/counter so people easily can see fresh items and choose what they would like.
  • Place healthful beverages on the top shelves or at the front of a cooler so they are the first things people see.
  • Place less healthful items further back on the display, whether this be on a table or on a back counter

3) Pricing

If your organization sells snacks or other food items, strategic pricing is another beneficial tool to promote the selling and consumption of healthful foods. Price helps influence what someone decides to purchase, which can lead to an increase in profits. Here are some pricing strategies to help boost the sales of healthful items:

  • Price healthful items at lower costs and less healthful items at higher costs.
  • Group healthful items, such as carrots and hummus, together for sale to promote the purchase of two healthful items instead of just one.
  • Offer combo deals on healthful items, such as a lunch combo meal, for a lower price. An example of this could be an entrée, a side of fruit or veggies and a bottled water for a reduced cost.


By Melissa Glatt, dietetic intern, NDSU Extension

Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., food and nutrition specialist



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy Food Environments

Fargo Cass Public Health. Fast Fuel Toolkit

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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