Theme parks aren’t exactly known for their healthy food options. When you think Disney World, you might think Tower of Terror or get “it’s a smaaall wooorld aaafterrr all” stuck in your head for days, but you’re most likely not thinking of fresh fruit and veggies. Well, the people behind the park’s restaurants are.
Starting in 2006, restaurants throughout Disney World replaced the usual sides of french fries and soda with low-fat milk and fruits and veggies. Kids (and their parents) still had the choice to opt out and have the fries and soda, but about half of them chose to stick with the healthier option.
To track the changes, the park provided data to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center so they could analyze it in more detail and figure out just why the shift was working so well. The lead researcher says that other large companies could learn from Disney World’s approach.
“While these results were obtained in a theme park setting they may have broader applicability and may encourage other restaurants to try the opt-out approach for making healthier choices easier for consumers,” he said in a news release. The idea is that instead of default sides for every dish being fries with a small-print option to substitute for healthier sides like salad, reverse that and people will often stick with the healthier choice.
Don’t get us wrong— we love a good fries-and-soda combo or a Mickey Mouse-shaped waffle once in a while. But it is encouraging to see that more and more places are embracing the beauty of choice in what we eat!
Do you think we’ll start seeing healthier defaults in other restaurants? Tweet us your thoughts at @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)