While studying for my Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification, I come across a lot of interesting tidbits and information. I thought it would be neat to share some things as I study them. Like…the little fact that the most popular vegetables in the United States are:
- potatoes – in the form of french fries
- tomatoes – in the form of ketchup
- iceberg lettuce
It doesn’t surprise me, even as it greatly saddens me. I found it most interesting, though, that these food preferences aren’t solely based on taste. In fact, a huge variety of factors affect our decisions on what to eat on a daily basis. Everything from culture to advertising.
The most predominant area that affects our daily eating habits comes in the sensory component. We still greatly assess our food based on taste, texture, and smell. Each of these sensory components affect us differently. I, for one, am a huge texture eater. The smell of foods won’t bother me much, but toss sprinkles on ice cream and I won’t want it. Make bread the least bit soggy and I guarantee to dry heave on you. You, however, could care less about the textures and have a much sharper palate with the taste of certain foods.
That all makes sense, but I rarely consider the other ways I make my meal choices – yet I know they impact me daily. Here are some other factors that affect our personal dietary habits.
I know I ate differently when in Europe! Lots of FRESH, FRESH, FRESH foods.
- economics – including what foods are most accessible
- lifestyle – whether you live on a rural farm with your own gardens or in a busy city with limited time can affect the typical food consumed by a person
- religious practices and cultural tendencies
Can we say daily habit???
- daily habits – Most people follow a set routine for their meals and have trouble veering away from it too often. I own up to acting as a creature of habit with my standard oatmeal breakfasts, wrap lunches, and smoothie snacks.
- outside pressures and expectations from social settings – Think about how someone always wants popcorn with a movie or a beer when out with friends.
- cravings – either a physiological signal from the brain or a psychological desire for something – like a “comfort food”
- nutrition knowledge and what we believe is “good” or “bad” to eat – Information about certain foods will impact our decisions on how much to consume them.
HEALTH & GENETICS
- physical restrictions – disease will often impact the type of foods a person can or desires to eat
- age and gender – certain ages will be more averse to new foods or tastes while different genders may prefer some tastes over others
- genetic disposition – evidence exists that some people may carry genes that give them a sharper taste for bitter flavors and affect
I find that all so interesting. You never really consider the different factors that impact food choices, but when you think about it there really are so many!
Your Turn – Which of the above factors do you think influence your daily decisions the most? I think routine, lifestyle, and nutrition knowledge are the biggies for me. Although when I get on Pinterest, cravings is in there too.