Your Food, Your Choice Your Food, Your Choice

People make thousands of food choices every day. These choices can be between choosing oatmeal or a sausage biscuit for breakfast, eating out instead of cooking at home, or even putting creamer in your coffee or having it black.

Many of the food choices that we make are done automatically without much thought, but the reasons can be found easily.

Top Reasons for Choosing Foods

  1. Taste
  2. Cost
  3. Hunger
  4. Convenience
  5. Nutrition

 

#1 – Taste

Taste is one of the biggest factors in food choice. We all want to eat what we think tastes good, right? Let’s look at how taste affects our food choice:

 

#2 – Cost

Cost is a big factor in what foods we choose to eat. Sometimes it may seem like healthy foods are out of our budget, but there are ways that you can save money and eat healthy too!

Tips for saving money on groceries

Check here for more tips and resources on how to eat healthy on a budget.

 

#3 – Hunger

Hunger is the natural urge we feel to eat. Controlling hunger is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight and good nutrition.

Bonus tip: Go to the grocery store when you’re full! People who shop at the grocery store when they are hungry tend to buy more high-calorie foods. Eat a snack before going to the store, and stick to your shopping list.

 

#4 – Convenience

At times life can be busy. Between working, going to school, and taking care of children it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to cook at home. Grabbing a meal on the go may be quick and simple, but the costs can be greater than cooking at home and there can be a lot of added calories that you wouldn’t put in your home cooking. Here are some tips that can add convenience to your life, without adding hidden costs or calories.

Tips to Speed up Meal Planning Times

 

#5 -Nutrition

Though we choose recipes for a variety of reasons, nutrition is an important factor to consider. Good nutrition habits can reduce symptoms of diabetes and heart disease, and help prevent other diseases. How to find and cook nutritious foods may be confusing, so here are a few tips to help you eat healthier.

 

Tips for Eating Healthier

 


Other Reasons for Choosing Foods

Attitudes, Beliefs, and Knowledge About Food

Sometimes people choose foods because of what they like, dislike, or know (or don’t know) about foods. If you have a negative attitude or belief about a healthy food, think about the reasons why. Is it because it was cooked improperly the one time you tried it? Have you never tried a food because of its look or what other people have said about it? The best way to overcome these barriers to healthy eating is to try new foods, try them multiple times to allow your tastes to change, and to prepare foods in different ways that can improve the taste (while still being healthy).

Availability and Accessibility of Food

Sometimes eating healthy is difficult because of where we live and when we get food but it is not impossible. Search the stores closest to you for healthy options when available, use resources in the community that aid with accessing foods, and communicate with those around you (family and peers) to make a shopping plan.

Social Norms—Culture, Family and Peer Influences

We often eat certain ways because we want to fit in with the people around us. The region that we grew up in may affect the types of foods that we like to eat. Other foods may be eaten because of family traditions and social gatherings. Sometimes we eat things just because our friends have ordered something and it looks appealing to us. Staying healthy doesn’t mean that you have to give all of these things up—try keeping a balance of your social customs and eating healthy. Altering traditional recipes to be healthier is a great way to achieve this balance!

How You Feel—Mood, Stress, and Guilt

Eating certain foods can be related to how we feel. When we are in a bad mood, stressed out, or guilty, we may choose unhealthy food to help us feel better. Unfortunately, this can cause weight gain and health issues. Instead of turning to unhealthy foods, try an activity that can give some stress relief—talking with others, exercise, meditation, or healthy snacking (eating well has been associated with a better mood!).

Advertising

Companies spend millions of dollars on food advertisement every year to convince you to try a certain food. Many of these advertisements are for unhealthy foods so be careful about how much these advertisements can influence you.

Posted March 30th, 2015


Resources

EUFIC
Caton et al. (2014)
Hale (2011)
Drewnowski & Darmon (2005)
USDA
Tal & Wansink (2013) 
Hoefling & Strack (2010) 
Sausage Biscuit photo
Oatmeal photo
For recipes and more: