The Society for Personality and Social Psychology continues their 16th Annual Convention in Long Branch, Calif., with a healthy eating-related symposium.

Consistently making healthy food choices can be difficult, especially for kids and rebellious teenagers. So the four scheduled presentations will explore “the harmfulness of weight-stigma, encouraging healthy choices, and strategies to help children and teens.” Ultimately, each presentation will make a case against the conventional methods used to inspire a healthy lifestyle.

One such method is bringing healthier foods into school cafeterias. While public schools have made a point to add more fresh fruit and vegetable options, researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found nearly six out of 10 kids won’t even touch a healthy option on their plate. To Traci Mann, symposium presenter and professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota, kids need to be nudged.

In her study, placing photos of carrots and green beans on a school lunch tray influenced the number of vegetables kids ate (though it still wasn’t enough to reach the daily recommended amount). And that’s not all: the order in which foods are presented to kids can make a difference.

"[Our] research suggests that little changes to the lunchroom setting can help kids eat more vegetables. For example, you can help kids eat more vegetables by providing vegetables before you offer any other food," Mann said in a press release.

It gets tricky when trying to nudge teens in a similar direction, if only because they’re “notoriously uninterested in healthy eating,” said Christopher Bryan, another symposium presenter and professor of psychology at the University of California at San Diego. Bryan believes healthy eating practices have to be linked to something teens already care about.

Turns out, teens (just like their adult counterparts) care about the deceptive food marketing practices used to get them to eat junk food, including dishonest labeling.

"We find that by changing the way teens think about healthy eating, we're able to increase the extent to which teens want to see themselves as healthy eaters...and by doing that, we're able to increase the rate at which teens make healthy choices," Bryan said.

Something that doesn't quite work to inspire healthy eating: counting calories and the negative way in which overweight and obese individuals are portrayed in the media. These strategies backfire, actually encouraging unhealthy choices and weight gain. Researchers from UC San Diego and Santa Barbara will work to put forth strategies that remove high-calorie food temptation and the mere threat of stigma in order to inspire positive behaviors in kids and teens.

Source: Challenging Misconceptions About the Psychology of Food Choice. Long Beach Convention Center, 2015.