Have you ever thought why you make the food choices you do? Perhaps it’s the only food available in the present time. Hunger may be a reason. Is it because you feel sad and depressed, or lonely and bored?
There are many physical and emotional reasons why you eat what you eat.
Food is associated with many kinds of feelings. A baby first knows about love through food. Birthdays and holidays are days with special food. Some people feel their spirits lifted when they have a dish of ice cream. Ordering familiar foods in restaurants gives one a feeling of security in knowing generally how the food will taste.
Many persons tend to eat according to already established family patterns and traditions. With the fast paced life many families lead, meals may be kept simple. More elaborate meals are saved for holidays. Certain foods may be considered for certain days, such as taco Tuesdays and pizza on Friday.
Religious and ethnic beliefs of individuals may direct food choices. For example, Muslims and Jews do not eat pork. Other religions place restrictions on eating meat. Many Roman Catholics continue to eat fish on Fridays although meat is allowed except during Fridays in Lent. Some families practice meatless Mondays as a humanitarian effort.
There are many other forces in the world around us that affect what we eat. Where you live may determine what you can grow, or buy, or have available. Are there stores in your area that carry fresh fruits and vegetables? Have weather patterns affected the fruit crop, or other crops? Modern technology has provided us with a great selection of foods grown and produced.
There is a heightened awareness regarding the quality of food we eat. There is an increased preference for organic food and grass fed beef and dairy. One of the strongest reasons for eating organic is to cut down on exposure to pesticides and insecticides.
A study by the European Parliamentary Research Service concluded that eating organic foods reduces pesticide exposure, improves the nutritional value of food, lessens disease risk, and improves early childhood development. The safety of our current food system is very concerning to many people. In many cases, their food buying and eating habits portray this concern.
Nutrition information comes from many sources and this, too, influences what we eat.
In order to have a well-balanced diet, certain nutrients must be included every day.
You may want the cookie, but you know you should eat the apple instead.
Friends also influence our eating habits. Eating is not only a necessity but a pleasure, and sharing it with friends makes the food and time eating extra special.
As you have seen, food choices are influenced by early experiences, traditions, food associations, and food availability. There are many food choices to make every day, and these choices are being influenced in many ways.