The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Seductive Nutrition: Can we be Seduced by “Good For Us” Food?

Seductive Nutrition: Can we be Seduced by “Good For Us” Food?

Dietitian Dialogues

July 30, 2013

by Ashley R. Waters MS, RD

It is a well-known fact that humans eat for pleasure. Foods can be tempting. The sight, smell, and even sound of food cooking can stir up hunger pains. Unfortunately, this type of temptation is usually associated with sweat treats or fried goodies. But what if we let the enticement of food lead us to eat healthier?

Seductive Nutrition, a term coined by Unilever Food Solutions, is a concept to promote healthy eating in a new way. According to The World Menu Report: Seductive Nutrition, consumers generally want to eat healthier but want to feel as though they are still indulging. As a dietitian or nutrition professional, hasn’t the struggle always been to get people to eat healthy? Yet the general groan is “healthy doesn’t taste good.” The concept of Seductive Nutrition is “the creation and positioning of healthier dishes as equal in taste, value for money and overall satisfaction to their less healthy counterparts.”

Dr. Jim Painter, RD, PhD teamed up with Unilever for the Dietitians of Canada Conference in Victoria, Canada June 13-15, 2013 to drive this message home. Dr. Painter suggested that using terms like “healthy” and “low fat” when talking about healthier eating will give people the impression that the food will not taste as good or be as filling. Instead, make dishes “slightly healthier” by including more vegetables and fresh ingredients, making it the right portion, and using lower calorie ingredients.  

Dr. Painter’s key points were to make foods look better, taste better, and healthier. In his example, he took a typical salmon dish at a restaurant with a dill sauce (about 513 calories). The same salmon was grilled and topped with a fresh relish and herbs (372 calories). It sounds better, probably tasted better, and is… tada!!.. healthier. The “seductive” version not only saved about 150 calories, but added in some freshness and veggies that the dill sauce in the “unseductive” version did not have.

All in all, Seductive Nutrition helps promote what Nutrition Professionals have wanted consumers to do all along, eat healthy. This “seduction” movement reiterates that consumers just want their food to taste good and be healthy. Don’t we all?! So from now on, let food seduce you – but into doing what is healthy.  


Ashley Waters received a Masters of Science in Nutrition degree from Eastern Illinois University in the Summer of 2012 and became a Registered Dietitian in 2013. She currently serves as a Nutrition Consultant for the California Raisin Marketing Board, where she is involved in presentation research and development, nutrition information development, primary and secondary research development, and health promotion. She also provides support services for several national recognized food companies, such as the Tri Lamb Group and Mango Board.