Google is famous for the free food it provides employees at work, but as any college freshman will tell you, the allure of the buffet can sometimes lead to unhealthy eating and weight gain.
The company employs a handful of psychological tricks in the cafeteria at its New York office to subtlely encourage Googlers to go for fruits and veggies instead of sodas and desserts.
1. The salad bar is front and center.
ABC News reports that Google moved the salad bar right in front of the cafeteria entrance so that it’s the first thing employees see.
Research suggests that people at buffets tend to take a lot of whatever food they can get their hands on first.
2. Googlers are made to think twice about portion sizes.
Google also started offering employees the choice to use smaller plates in its cafeteria, according to a 2012 story from Fast Company. To help persuade them to downsize, Google placed a sign in the cafeteria reminding employees that people who use bigger plates tend to eat bigger portions.
The company also started making desserts that could be consumed in just three bites, this way employees who want more have to think about the extra calories when they go back for seconds.
3. Soda and candy are hidden from view.
Google moved its popular M&M’s from large, clear dispensers (similar to the ones that hold cereal on many college campuses) into opaque plastic jars, ABC News reports.
In the seven weeks after the candies were no longer visible, New York employees consumed 3.1 million fewer calories in M&M’s.
Google also encourages employees to choose water and other healthy drinks by putting them at eye-level behind clear glass in company refrigerators. By comparison, sugary drinks like soda are housed at the bottom of the refrigerator behind tinted glass.