Food choices are based on cultural, religious, social, or psychological reasons. Even your own personal values enter into choosing foods. Sometimes, too, you eat what you eat because it’s the only food available when you need it.
Different cultures tend to center their foods around certain types. When one refers to Italian, Mexican, American foods, a certain kind of food comes to mind. Usually this is because of climate or geography that a particular food is grown there and becomes popular. Perhaps it is the custom or tradition to serve certain foods at festivals or special occasions and now becomes a food associated with a particular culture.
Religious influences such as not eating pork or not eating meat on certain days are special food customs of certain religions. Some are discouraged from drinking coffee and tea and alcoholic drinks. Fasting from foods is practiced by some religious groups.
Wouldn’t you think something was wrong with a get-together if there wasn’t something to eat or drink? Eating is very much a social activity. Most people don’t like to eat alone. Mealtimes with families are some of the first experiences of a social setting for children – a time of sharing the day’s events. Hopefully, with our fast-paced living, this social interaction will not become a lost art, but that families will continue to eat meals together.
Have you been a part of the “clean your plate” syndrome? Or, perhaps as a child you were given certain foods like candy or ice cream for good behavior. These are all part of the different ways you now look at food by what was encountered through associations with others. Maybe, too, you eat because you are unhappy or sad and lonely. These are all psychological reasons why you may choose to eat certain foods.
Then there are other, personal reasons why certain foods are eaten. It may have to do with a food allergy or condition, or because of a weight problem. Maybe it is because it smells so good and past experience lets you know it tastes good. Is it avoided because it is too expensive, or is it eaten because it is expensive and this is what the “rich people” eat? Here status comes into play.
So, you see, there are many influences that shape your eating habits and food choices: some are cultural, others are religious, social, or psychological. Hopefully, too, there is consideration of whether the food is healthy and good for you.
Why do YOU choose the foods you do when you are:
at the mall or fast food restaurant?
at a fancy restaurant?
at a cafeteria (school, business, or restaurant)?
in the grocery store?
I invite you to comment on why you eat the foods you eat.
Best to you and your family,
Lee Jackson, CFCS
Author: From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
The Littlest Christmas Kitten, a children’s story book