Diet And Community

A lot of research has been done into encouraging better dietary choices. One of the less obvious yet still highly important factors is the role of community. The eating habits of the people around you, especially in your formative years, can have a major impact on your attitude toward food (

It starts when you’re very young. Your parents and other family members will have their own practices and beliefs, and you’ll likely absorb them. The meals you eat when you’re little, those special recipes that you only find at home, often become treasured memories that you try to recreate throughout your life. Sitting around the table together, sharing food as a communal experience, is an incredibly powerful thing.

If everyone else at the table is adding salt to their food, it’s more likely that you will as well. If you grow up with people who prioritize healthy eating, those ideas will continue to guide your choices as you age. You don’t want to offend your loved ones, so if they pile your plate high with unhealthy food, it can be difficult to say no. Factors like income, culture and religion can also impact what is and isn’t acceptable in your diet.

Once you start school, there’s even more pressure – this time from your peer group. Children and teens often just want to fit in, which can often mean making the same food choices as everyone else. They don’t want to look weird by snacking on vegetables when everyone else is enjoying cake. As an adult, you’ll have other communities, like at work or even online, and that means even more people influencing your decision-making.

In fact, social media and social influencers are an unavoidable part of this discussion in the modern world. You can connect to people miles away who may introduce you to new and exciting ideas about food but can also encourage bad and unhealthy behaviors. You need to learn to recognize how these articles and videos are affecting you so you can give more careful thought to your own choices.

Communities can be a powerful force for good, supporting and encouraging you as you try to improve your diet, but they can also teach you bad habits. By being more aware of these influences, you can make more informed decisions about what you eat.

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