Healthy eating is important for physical health. However, it is sometimes seen as a necessary evil. On one hand, it’s essential to good health, but on the other, it’s suggestive of restriction and self-denial. Nutrition and healthy eating are not a one-size-fits-all dietary prescription. Traditional meals and food culture deserve a seat at the table too.
A major challenge for those hoping to promote a better diet is the question of what factors support and encourage healthier eating. Health promotion research has linked a range of personal, psychological, informational, and environmental factors to what people eat.
What are Food Culture
Food culture refers to the practices, attitudes, and beliefs as well as the networks and institutions surrounding the production, distribution, and consumption of food.
For most people food is cultural, not nutritional. A plant or animal may be considered edible in one society and inedible in another. Probably one of the most important things to remember in connection with the cultural factors involved in food habits is that there are many combination of food which will give same nutritional results.
Importance of Food and Culture for Global Well-being
To break it down even further food cultures, no matter where in the world, all encompass a few key components:
- They involve sharing food with community and family
- They value the needs of the land over the convenience driven desires of people
- They use food to celebrate religious and community events
- They focus on local and seasonal ingredients, and use them to create unique and distinguishable flavors
- They value their food experiences and then move on with their day
- Food is not something to be manipulated, it is meant to be shared and celebrated
There are no rules when it comes to developing a strong food culture. Some people may have grown up with one, while others develop one later in life. Regardless, the most important thing to me is that more people (especially here in the USA) start to change the way they view their food, and more importantly the way in which they experience and value it.