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Crumbs: Lightweight Daily Food Challenges to Promote Engagement and Mindfulness.


Many people struggle with efforts to make healthy behavior changes, such as healthy eating. Several existing approaches promote healthy eating, but present high barriers and yield limited engagement. As a lightweight alternative approach to promoting mindful eating, we introduce and examine crumbs: daily food challenges completed by consuming one food that meets the challenge. We examine crumbs through developing and deploying the iPhone application Food4Thought. In a 3-week field study with 61 participants, crumbs supported engagement and mindfulness while offering opportunities to learn about food. Our 2×2 study compared nutrition versus non-nutrition crumbs coupled with social versus non-social features. Nutrition crumbs often felt more purposeful to participants, but non-nutrition crumbs increased mindfulness more than nutrition crumbs. Social features helped sustain engagement and were important for engagement with non-nutrition crumbs. Social features also enabled learning about the variety of foods other people use to meet a challenge.

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