Featured Media Resource: VIDEO: Healthy Eating Tips: Do We Control Our Food Choices? (Rutgers Today)
“Food framing” is a strategy of food vendors to attract consumers to specific food choices.


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What influences your dietary choices?  #DoNowUDiet


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Learn More about Making Food Choices

How do we choose what to eat? You’ve probably heard that you need to eat a balanced diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but what exactly does that entail? Americans are bombarded with many food choices every day, from mainstream fast food restaurants, to endless aisles of food in grocery stores, to infomercials hawking the next weight loss program. It’s no surprise that there is confusion about what exactly is “healthy.” Though we have access to nutritional food labels and other health information, what should the average American be looking for when it comes to food?

Which would you choose?

As recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture, we should be diversifying our plates with color and nutrition. One option for deciding how to eat healthy is to think of your stomach as a party! Instead of analyzing nutritional labels and meticulously counting calories, you could strive to create the perfect party atmosphere in your stomach. For example, when planning a party, a diverse array of guests will be needed to ensure happy co-mingling. Therefore, you may want to invite that one person who’s always the life of the party (fattening foods), but you probably don’t want too many of these party friends in attendance, yearning for the spotlight. It would be better to complement your party friends with more introverted wallflowers (fruits and vegetables) who stabilize the party atmosphere. This will avoid your party turning into a “rager,” and eventually disturbing your neighbors (or your body)!

Many other options for “healthy” diets are presented to us through books, articles and advertisements. The fast-paced American lifestyle lends itself to quick-fix diets that will give the best results in terms of weight loss and overall appearance. An entire industry exists to promote diets that are low-carb, gluten-free or aim to return us to our caveman roots.  While some argue that these diets restrict certain food groups and decrease good nutrition overall, others point to  cases where individuals have been able to regain control over their weight and their health by using these dietary plans.

Everyone has a different definition of a good party. The body works in a similar manner, in which your own body has its own nutritional preferences and needs. It is important to take your activity level, current health status, lifestyle tendencies, and budget into account when deciding what is the perfectly balanced, nutritious meal for you.

What influences your dietary choices? Where do you get information about what you should eat?


More Resources

Article: Medical News Today
What is Healthy Eating? What is a Healthy Diet?
This article discusses the types and amounts of food that constitute a healthy diet, and lists the World Health Organization’s recommendations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Eating Index.

Audio: NPR
Eating Healthy: Whose Choice Should It Be?
Find out why we’re often not aware of the food choices we are making.

Article: The Atlantic
Science Compared Every Diet, and the Winner is Real Food
This article addresses Dr. David Katz’s study of different types of diets – including natural and processed foods – and how they affect the human body.


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This post was written by Sarah Abney, Ghazal Ahmad, Abby Boyd, Josh Funderburke, Thomas Norton, Erin Oliver, Kiara Smith and Payton Usher, students at Mercer University.

KQED Do Now U is a bi-weekly activity in collaboration with SENCER. SENCER is a community of transformation that consists of educators and administrators in the higher and informal education sectors. SENCER aims to create an intelligent, educated, and empowered citizenry through advancing knowledge in the STEM fields and beyond. SENCER courses show students the direct connections between subject content and the real world issues they care about, and invite students to use these connections to solve today’s most pressing problems.

What Influences Your Dietary Choices? 14 July,2017SENCER

  • John

    Honestly I think part of the issue is that we think of fruits and vegetables as “wallflowers” when they can be prepared well or be delicious by themselves and be just as “extroverted” as fatty foods. I appreciate the creative analogy, but I’m afraid it reinforces the thinking behind unhealthy eating (fruits and vegetables are boring, fatty foods are the life of the party) while it tries to push for a balanced meal. It also doesn’t account for a party that’s only fruit and vegetables that could be quite entertaining but doesn’t have any “lifes of the party”

    As for my eating habits, I try to intentionally invite “wallflowers” to my party since “lives of the party” seem to show up on their own accord!
    Recently I’ve gotten my information from a registered dietician and books she’s recommended.

    • Ghazal

      You make a really good point! It would be better if more people realized that fruits and vegetables can be just as delicious as fatty foods. However, this is just not the case, and the analogy was used to target a common way of thinking. But I do agree, if more people knew how to prepare and create foods with fruits and vegetables in a delicious way, and more mainstream restaurants incorporated this type of food preparation, then it could help address America’s obesity epidemic.

  • Bridget Trogden

    Best advice I’ve seen: from Yo Gabba Gabba. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Os-CACRwM8

    • Andrea

      Right? I loved it!

  • Manu Harr

    Definitely an interesting article. It gave me a quick insight in influence that companies have on us, and how easy our decision making can be influenced – not only food wise but generally.

    • Erin Oliver

      Very true, I don’t think most people realize how much of a role advertising plays in our lives. Or how expensive healthy food is

  • Andi Vang

    I think that this article is right, but it’s your choice to make it happen to choose what goes into your body not the food.

    • Erin Oliver

      It is definitely up to each individual to make their own food choices, but its not always as simple as “this is good for me, so this is what I will eat.” Healthy food is expensive, for starters. In addition, healthy food can take a lot of time to prepare, so its not always easy for people with busy schedules. I think its important to be kind to ourselves whenever we do slip and make mistakes with our diet, and to just do the best job that we can.

  • Amy Ayala

    I think this is a very interesting video/article. I do think it’s true that most of our decisions are very influenced by what’s around us and I think food companies have a big influence on what we eat. I like the analogy that they made with the fatty foods (the person who brings life to the party) and the vegetables and fruits (wallflowers) and how you need to think about your stomach as being like a party in order to try to have a balanced diet. But overall, I think even though companies could have a very big influence on what we eat, it is till our choice to decide what to eat. #DoNowUDiet

    • Thomas Norton

      We also loved the stomach party analogy! I agree, the ultimate choice does come down to the consumer. But think of how much healthier our choices may be if we weren’t being influenced by different companies to purchase unhealthy foods. Imagine walking into a store that highlights and accentuates the healthy options as opposed to junk food. While we do may make the actual final decision, would we not be more inclined to lean towards purchasing foods that are better for us? Also, if people are more aware of the social cues placed by companies to encourage the purchase of certain foods, there is a lesser chance that they will make food decisions based off of outside factors, like food companies.

  • Thandwiches

    In today’s society healthy food choices are very hard to find around local markets for the mere fact that we as Americans want to eat food, to make us full, with healthy vitamins and minerals to benefit us through-out the course of the work day. However we are getting tricked into buying ‘healthy’ food options from fast food restaurants like Wendy’s, Burger King, and McDonald’s but the things we don’t know is they are marketing their food by “Food framing” -(Rutgers Today) which is the use of colors, animations, and lighting to help make the food look more appetizing. For example, the American diet is a standard 2000 calories a day including breakfast lunch and dinner, and many people in the morning are in a hurry to get where they are going, so naturally they go to a drive through and get something on the go, and yes the menu inside and outside have the calorie count right next to the foods, but let’s be honest hardly anyone looks at the calories before they buy the item. Then for lunch items like the ‘big mac’ have a calorie count of 540! Including breakfast and lunch that leaves you only 922 for dinner and according to studies done over the year’s dinner is the biggest meal of the day. Not to mention the nutritional value in these fast food joints, their food is basically just carbs and saturated fats, which can lead to serious diseases if you choose to make them apart of your daily routine.

    “We should up our consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.” – Christian Nordqvist said in the article what is Healthy Eating? What is a Healthy Diet? I feel like we have wondered a little far from actually good food, in every direction including the school lunches. They literally took away salt because we were getting too much sodium in our supposed diet. So we were basically eating cardboard for lunch. Then in the kids meals at fast food restaurants they would fatten any kid up with their incredibly unhealthy meal parents would buy to save time. That’s why America is fat because while every other country in has limits we have a gallon of ice tea with 50 chicken nuggets (made out of who knows what) for the very low price of $1.29. I have for the past year been on a diet were some days I actually starve myself it’s called fasting, were for a whole 24 hours you don’t ingest anything at all, it is so that your body can clean itself out for a day and the next day you actually eat with in portions, because your body is still getting used to everything about eating the day after. I’m not saying everyone should fast like me but they should at least learn to eat with in portions of every meal they are given, and just for some extra healthy activity a work out for at least 30 minutes is everything you need for a healthy lifestyle.

    • Kiara Smith

      You are completely correct in the way the food industry causes us to desire certain foods more than others. It is quite a sad predicament that is many ways unethical to the consumers of these goods. While these fast and unhealthy foods are convenient, I think in order to eradicate the issues of these lifestyles both the consumers, work force, government, and business have to make more of an effort to provide healthy choices and change the mentality of diets and exercise. I also think that each person has different nutritional and dietary needs, so while fasting may work very well for you, another person may have to just continue to eat small portions everyday and incorporate water into their diet along with exercise. I do think that your advice however, was very befitting to this article. Thank you.

  • Emily Kurburski

    Every day you are surrounded by people, products, and places that all have an effect on how we live out our daily life. We need to make sure that we are surrounding ourselves amongst the best people, places, and things in order to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally. Consumers play a huge role in what we eat everyday as well as making sure we ourselves are maintaining a healthy diet are all a part of what goes into playing a role amongst our dietary choices.

    It is amazing to see how much of what a producer does with their product and the vast way it affects us as the consumers. According to a video done by Rutgers Today, they talk about food framing. Food framing is when a company uses specific techniques to lure consumer interest. These can include, but are not limited to, presentation, packaging, color of food, and the amount given in a package. This comes to show that we obviously pick up and purchase the things that interest us the most. When we see a colorful package of assorted fruits and veggies we are more likely to pick that up than to buy a bag of carrots or a whole piece of fruit. I can even admit that going to purchase food, I prefer pre-cut fruits or veggies with dip included in it. This is something that all food producers should look into as it plays a great role when it comes to what you eat and how to get everyone to eat better.

    We must not only see the way things are packaged, but also make sure that what we are picking up is good for us. According to MNT in an article, it says that it is very important to classify a diet as what you consume on a daily basis. You must make sure that you get the proper nutrients each day. The other thing they focused on was not only making sure you got those ingredients, but double checking to make sure they were not processed or stripped of their most influential ingredients. The ingredient they had focused on what wheat and how you need to make sure you get whole grains instead of the just wheat in your food products.

    Each and every time you head to the super market or swing through the fast food lane, think about how what you are putting into your body has been greatly influenced by those that created it. Also think about what it took for the piece of fruit to land in your grocery cart or those small fries that are now sitting next to you in the passenger seat. It is crucial that we look at these factors in order to make a more informed decision to be a healthier group of people. We cannot force healthier options on others, but we can encourage them to grab these healthy options whenever they head to the grocery store. There are so many things that influence your dietary choices, but it is up to us to make the right choice.

    • Thomas Norton

      I believe one phrase you put perfectly encompassed an important lesson to learn: “We cannot force healthier options on others, but we can encourage them to grab these healthy options whenever they head to the grocery store.” Making unhealthy choices when it comes to food is something many of us are guilty of us, and it can become a serious problem if not kept in check. I’m not a psychologist, but I would almost certainly guarantee that an increase in healthier food choice would occur if someone surrounded themselves with people who encouraged such consumption choices and actively participated in eating healthier foods. It’s important that we understand everyone struggles with choosing healthy foods, so we need to remember to be encouraging of those around us to purchase and consume healthier foods. If we all work on our eating habits together, I am positive that we will begin to make the healthy choice more naturally and subconsciously.

  • Melissa Ann Myers

    What influences your diet choice?

    As recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture,
    we should be diversifying our plates with color and nutrition. One option for
    deciding how to eat healthy is to think of your stomach as a party!
    Instead of analyzing nutritional labels and meticulously counting calories, you
    could strive to create the perfect party atmosphere in your stomach. My plate
    shows how we are actually supposed to eat our food and the right portions, but
    as always no one really follows it because we eat what we want when we want. When
    planning a party, a diverse array of guests will be needed to ensure happy
    co-mingling. Therefore, you may want to invite that one person who’s always the
    life of the party (fattening foods), but you probably don’t want too many of
    these party friends in attendance, yearning for the spotlight.

    Most people eat food out of stress then have to pay for the weight gain. Humans
    should eat healthier because we complain about our weight but don’t do anything
    about it. An entire industry exists to promote diets that are low-carb, gluten-free or aim to return us to our caveman roots.
    At parties everyone just has junk food but at grown up parties they do decide
    to have healthier food like vegies and fruit. Eating healthy would benefit
    everyone because we wouldn’t have obesity or diabetics. Healthy eating means consuming the right
    quantities of foods from all food groups in order to lead a healthy life. Diet
    is often referred to as some dietary regimen for losing weight. However, diet
    simply means what food we eat in the course of a 24-hour, one week, or one
    month, etc. period.

    Proteins and dairy and legumes, fats and sugars should all be portioned put evenly. A balanced diet – or a good diet – means consuming from all the different good groups in the right quantities. Nutritionists say there are
    five main food groups – whole grains, fruit and vegetables, protein, diary, and
    fat & sugar. What really influences our diets is we eat only things that taste good and because they are
    more affordable and the healthier it is the more expensive it is. We always look for the junk food when were
    depressed or not having a good day. Researchers from Oregon State University
    and the University of Mississippi examined how many adults succeed in four
    general barometers that could help define healthy behavior: a good diet,
    moderate exercise, a recommended body fat percentage and being a non-smoker. It’s
    the basic health advice, in other words, that doctors often give to millions of
    patients all over the world.

    Mexican American adults were more likely to eat a healthy diet than non-Hispanic white or black adults. Adults 60
    years and older had fewer healthy characteristics than adults ages 20-39, yet
    were more likely to not smoke and consume a healthy diet, and less likely to be
    sufficiently active. A total of 71 percent of adults did not smoke, 38 percent ate a healthy diet, 10 percent had
    a normal body fat percentage, and 46 percent were sufficiently active. Only 2.7
    percent of all adults had all four healthy lifestyle characteristics, while16
    percent had three, 37 percent had two, 34 percent had one, and 11 percent had
    none.

  • Philip schaub

    I feel that the majority of the times, you do have complete control over what you eat. In the video though, they said that you truly don’t have control over what you eat because of the ways the company or dining hall set up and lay their food out. The way you do this could influence you because they could make some foods easier to get or others may stand out more so they appeal more than the other foods that are laid out.

    If I am wrong and you don’t really have control over what you eat, then I feel that we should be using this to promote healthy eating. If we use this in the right way, we can trick a person into eating healthier, which is much needed in America. America is really starting to become overweight and it is a real problem. If we could get a handle on this, I feel that just eating healthier could really help out with America’s weight problem. “Healthy eating means consuming the right quantities of foods from all food groups in order to lead a healthy life .Diet is often referred to as some dietary regimen for losing weight. However, diet simply means what food we eat in the course of a 24-hour, one week, or one month, etc. period .A good diet is a nutritional lifestyle that promotes good health. A good diet must include several food groups because one single group cannot provide everything a human needs for good health.”( Christian Nordqvist) we could promote all of the food groups that are necessary to a healthy diet and that will help America slim down. I also feel that sometimes the prices can be what steer people away from the healthier foods. Some fruit prices are outrageous. If we could lower some of these prices and offer more sales for fruits and vegetables, there would be many more people going out and buying healthier foods.

    “We need protein for the building and repairing of tissue in our body. Protein-rich foods also include essential minerals, such as iron, magnesium, zinc, as well as B vitamins. Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD, Associate Professor, The University of Texas Medical Branch says that proteins should make up about 20 to 25 percent of our nutritional intake”(Christian Nordqvist) Protein is also very important. These help build muscles which is added on top of what was said above. If there are more muscles, then you will have a higher metabolism witch will lead to a healthier life. I hope that people read this and become aware of the tricks that companies can play on your mind to get you to buy something.

    Overall I feel that this kind of advertising should be used to help promote healthy eating and to help America drop a few pounds. This could be really helpful if it is used the right way. If we don’t get a handle on this and all of the fast food restaurants keep selling their fattening foods, America will just keep plumping right up.

    • Thomas Norton

      I think you’re exactly right that we need to use the power of advertising and “food framing” to encourage healthier eating. I don’t think the idea of “food framing” in the video is that we mindlessly eat whatever is put in front of us without choice (most of us, anyway), but the problem is that it does play a role in how we choose food. And so long as this type of product advertising is being used to promote the purchase and consumption of unhealthy foods, we have a serious problem on our hands. But you’re idea about utilizing these advertising techniques in order to promote healthier eating is exactly what I had in mind. If we can make focus in on making healthy food the subject of “food framing,” it could be the beginning of getting Americans to eat healthier and take better care of themselves!

  • Carly Rasper

    What Influences Your Dietary
    Choice?

    It may
    seem like we have a lot of influence in our dietary choice. Most universities,
    high schools and restaurants have a wide variety of options for students to choose
    from, but does the way they lay out food or set up the menu anything to do with
    our choices? Gretchen Chapman, Rutgers Professor of Psychology, says that
    vendors have more input on our decisions than we think. For example, in the
    universities where fresh fruit is put out in the front of the food court,
    students are more likely to choose fresh fruit opposed to a piece of pie. In restaurants
    menus are often colored or designed to highlight and promote foods. At Henry’s
    Diner the back page containing the desserts is colored drawing attention to the
    dessert section, so people are more drawn to that. As recommended by the United
    States Department of Agriculture, we should be diversifying our plates with
    color and nutrition. Instead of analyzing nutritional labels and meticulously
    counting calories as so many people do, people should strive to create a “party”
    atmosphere in your stomach. When planning a party, many different people show
    up, in the same way we should invite different foods to the stomach party. People
    may want to invite that one person who’s always the life of the party, the good
    fattening foods, but you probably don’t want too many of these” party friends”
    in attendance, because they will all be searching for the spotlight. The “party
    friends” can’t go it alone, because then they have no one to show off to, so
    inviting the introverts and wallflowers (vegetables /fruits) will give them the
    attention they need to shine! By stabilizing and maintaining the party, you
    will keep the cops (your body) from showing up.

    Knowing
    that vendors and solicitors of food are trying to influence the foods we eat
    can help us go for the apple instead of the chocolate cake, but knowing how
    much of what we should eat is helpful too. According to the USDA (United States
    Dept. of Agriculture), we should consume at least 3 ounces of whole grains per
    day. Whole grains are rich in fiber and vitamins. Eating enough fruits and vegetables can help
    prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It is recommended that
    people eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Protein should make up 20-25% of our
    nutritional intake. Unfortunately sugars and fats should be kept to a minimum,
    so say good bye to daily chocolate cake and Netflix binges. While we need sugar
    and fat in our diet, most fruits have the recommended sugars that we need and
    pasta, meats and grains hold a lot of our daily fat.

    When we
    are eating healthy and wisely, our bodies feel better and we can perform daily
    tasks much more efficiently. Be smart when choosing foods, and although sugary
    foods are sweet to eat, save them for special occasions instead of daily
    consumption.

  • corissa.clark

    Today in the society healthy food choices are very hard
    to find around local markets especially for a small town. The fact is that we
    as Americans want to eat food, to make us full, with healthy vitamins and
    minerals to benefit us through-out the course of the work day. Which we do the
    opposite. We are getting tricked into
    buying ‘healthy’ food options from fast food restaurants, like Burger King, and
    McDonald’s but the things we don’t know is what is actually in the product that
    they are serving to us. Every day you are surrounded by people,
    products, and places that all have an effect on how we live out our daily life.
    We need to make sure that we are surrounding ourselves amongst the best people,
    places, and things in order to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally.
    Consumers play a huge role in what we eat everyday as well as making sure we
    ourselves are maintaining a healthy diet are all a part of what goes into
    playing a role amongst our dietary choices. What we are eating is what our body
    has to digest anything that we consume.
    Not only that but we need to know what is being package and what we are consuming.
    According to MNT in the article, says that it is very important to classify a
    diet as what you consume on a daily basis. You have to make sure that you get
    the proper nutrients each day. The other thing, focused on was not only making
    sure you got those ingredients. Double checking to make sure they were not
    processed or stripped of their most influential ingredients. The ingredients
    that they had focused on were wheat and how you need to make sure you get whole
    grains instead of the just wheat in your food products. According to a video
    done by Rutgers Today, talk about food framing. Food framing is when a company
    uses specific techniques to lure consumer interest. They include, that they are
    not limited to, presentation, packaging, color of food, and the amount given in
    a package. This is showing that we
    obviously pick up and purchase the things that interest us the most. Whenever
    we see a colorful package of assorted fruits and veggies we are more likely to
    pick that up than to buy a bag of carrots or a whole piece of fruit. Some
    people just buy the carton with the vegetables already with the dip package
    together and ready to go. Although it’s nice to grab and go if you’re in a
    hurry, take some time and look at the fresh product. Also think about what it took
    for the piece of fruit to land in your grocery cart or those small fries that
    are now sitting next to you in the passenger seat. You have no clue how fresh
    that product is, one thing is if it’s old many people can get sick, or could be
    perfectly fine. Over the past five years my family has been watching and
    learning on what is produced and what happens to the product, before reaching
    to your hands. It’s amazing. We cannot force healthier options on others, but
    we can encourage them to grab these healthy options whenever they head to the
    grocery store. After doing some researching on what we eat and what is produce,
    you would change you ways on eating. So eat an apple a day to keep the doctors
    away.

  • Taylor Bentley

    What influences our dietary choice? In my opinion, I feel that price is a big factor because most people do not want to pay $7 for a salad and maybe $1 for a cheeseburger. $4 for a water and $1.58 for a soda. I feel that it is absurd. It is crazy about the prices for unhealthy food compared to healthy food.The United States Department of Agriculture said we should be diversifying our plates with color and nutrition. The more color, the more healthy your plate truly is compared to the plates of others with less color. I understand why people think that with more color, the more healthy it truly is, but I do not believe that is completely true. (http://ww2.kqed.org/education/2016/04/06/what-influences-your-dietary-choices/) Let’s take a Mcdonald’s burger really quick, a quater pounder deluxe. It has lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc. on it. Colorful, right? Green, yellow, red. Well it is not healthy because of the meat and stuff on that burger. It will make you overweight. In a long period of time, at least. It is not you eat one burger and you are the show “My 600 Pound Life.” The people on that show have no way of controlling themselves. Their heart is forced to pumped harder because their body produced more veins. The veins of a normal person, I believe, can stretch around the earth one or two times. An obese person is more like four or five. Instead of analyzing nutritional labels and meticulously counting calories, you could strive to create the perfect party atmosphere in your stomach.

    Healthy eating means consuming the right quantities of foods from all food groups in order to lead a healthy life. Diet is often referred to as some dietary regimen for losing weight. However, diet simply means what food we eat in the course of a 24-hour, one week, or one month, etc. period. A large breakfast helps control body weight – a team of researchers from Tel Aviv University, Israel, explained in the journal Obesity that a big breakfast – one containing about 700 calories – is better for losing weight and lowering one’s risk of developing heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153998.php)

    Why is healthy eating important? When combined with exercise, a healthy diet can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol level, and improve the way your body functions on a daily basis.You should exericsise an hour a day. I wake up at 2 in the morning so i can work out until 4:30 in the morning. I love working out in the morning because not many people and at the gym that early. I never use to like working out at all until spring break. My friend, his mom, and her boyfriend got me up at 2 in the morning. We would pick different work outs for the different days of the break. Working out never got boring with them. We would push all of our limits until we could not handle it any longer.

  • Kacie

    There are so many things that influence my personal dietary
    choices. For starters, I am a vegetarian. I have been a vegetarian for three
    years now. March of 2013 was the date I stopped consuming any and all meats.
    The reason I converted to being a vegetarian is because of all of the health
    issues processed meats pose to consumers. Think about it: poultry is pumped and
    “enhanced” with water and salt and what they say is chicken broth but that’s
    highly doubtful. The very cows that your beef comes from are given many
    steroids to plump them up so companies may process more meat from one cow. And
    you’re eating that. All I can say about
    being a vegetarian is that my body feels so much better and much healthier than
    it ever has before.

    As for my everyday eating choices, it is very hard to choose
    the right things. “Americans are bombarded with many food choices every day,
    from mainstream fast food restaurants, to endless aisles of food in grocery
    stores, to infomercials hawking the next weight loss program.” For me, it’s
    more of a ‘Do I want to look good? Do I want to feel good?’ and it’s usually
    the “looking good” part that makes me choose the right dietary choices. I enjoy
    many fruits such as apples, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, and
    pineapple especially! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be “boring” or “lame”.
    There’s so many cool ways and recipes that you can use fruits and veggies for.
    I am a bit pickier with the vegetables I will eat but some of my favorites
    include green beans, corn, carrots, broccoli, and lettuce.

    “The fast-paced American lifestyle lends itself to quick-fix
    diets that will give the best results in terms of weight loss and overall
    appearance.” Let’s be real, quick fix diets do NOT exist. Unless you consider
    them for what they really are: temporary weight loss. If you want to be healthy
    and exceed a specific weight goal, do it the right way. The right way is eating
    absolutely healthy (meaning balancing out your plate at dinner, no fast food
    whatsoever, try to avoid high carbs, look up the food pyramid approved by the
    USDA), working out on a daily basis, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and
    avoiding binge eating or any eating past eight o’clock. People need to wake up
    and see that there’s no secret trick or ingredient to healthy weight loss.

    “An entire industry exists to promote diets that are
    low-carb, gluten-free or aim to return us to our caveman roots.” I want to be
    very clear on a few things; for one, when you read certain labels that claim something;
    you should still look at the ingredients. Just because a product may read “GMO
    Free” does not necessarily mean that it is healthy. Or even if something says “Organic”
    does not mean there still aren’t harmful ingredients. Shop smart, not ignorant.
    I, myself, have tried eating gluten free before. It’s tricky to eat completely
    gluten free because it restricts you from a lot of foods. However, the health
    benefits of eating gluten free are wonderful. Dietary choices are definitely a
    preference. If someone wants to make a change, they will do it. I refuse to say
    people don’t choose their eating habits because they do; they know what foods
    are good and bad for them. People know right from wrong.

  • disqus_fhuHwZqPxM

    The choices we make in dining halls and in restaurants are greatly affected by the things that producers do. The packaging, the portions and even where the food is available affects our choices. I believe that producers take advantage of the consumer who is easily distracted by the empty promises. Another good example of this is when a food package has noticeable slogans that claim “only 100 calories” or something similar. Most of these foods may be low in calories but are high in unhealthy ingredients. These foods are not beneficial and prey on the consumers who are misinformed about healthy eating. There is no way to stop food companies from doing this, however the answer is to better inform consumers. If the consumers are informed about what they are actually buying, companies will be forced to change their tactics.

  • Bridget Trogden

    One more interesting article, which just came across the AP last week: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/f9483d554430445fa6566bb0aaa293d1/ap-exclusive-how-candy-makers-shape-nutrition-science.
    Food companies (go figure) play around with data to alter our food choices.

  • Monica Cabello

    What influences my dietary choices is how hungry I am and how fast I want to eat. If I’m really hungry I automatically i would rather go to a fast food restaurant for a quick meal. Whereas if I’m not hungry I would wait for my mom to make a good home cooked meal.

  • Cameron Gray

    Honestly, the main things that influence my dietary choices is what I’m craving. I tend to crave different types of food at different times. In addition, some other things that influence my dietary choices is the way food looks. If a sandwich looks appealing on a menu I am more likely to order it than one that doesn’t have a picture at all. Also, the way food smells is another thing that influences my decision on what to eat. When something smells good I automatically want to try it.

  • Eugene Vang

    Healthy choices and options influence my diet. I try my best to have a balanced diet with grains, vegetables, fruits, and meats. My cultural views also influence my choices when I eat dependent on what kinds of foods are available and my preference. I need to pay attention to what I put in my body such as avoiding processed and junk foods.

  • Isabella Ramos

    I usually look for foods that I can actually read the ingredients to or when I’m out eating I try to get something healthy. It matters to me because I want to eat healthy plus I like healthy foods more anyways. I also love to eat fresh fruit and vegetables a lot.

  • Amanda Martin

    Stores employ a variety of marketing techniques to try to influence us to make unhealthy choices. For the most part, these techniques work. A juicy burger seems much more tasty than a simple salad. However, we should try to eat healthy and strive for including more vegetables in our diet.

  • Adrienne Marquez

    I feel like the biggest influence on the choices that we make for what we want to eat come from product placement. Product placement includes the packaging, the way the food looks, and the price. Consumers are always drawn to the way a package looks and how easy it is to open. When you walk into a store and the first thing you see is fruit, then often times you want the fruit. If it was pie you would want the pie.

  • Olivia Nemmers

    My dietary choices are greatly affected by what “looks good”. My dietary choices are generally pretty good as well.

  • Taylor Scott

    I feel that supermarkets often persuade our dietary choices as it is much less expensive to buy something unhealthy, whereas vegetables and fruits are more expensive. No matter what, we should try our best to eat healthier.

  • Kaley Kranich

    Many things determine our dietary choices, for me it tends to be what I know tastes good, and of course what looks appetizing. This could be determined by how fresh it looks and the fun colors that might decorate it. For the most part, I used past experiences with food to determine what I will choose to eat.

  • Amisha Bedi

    We make the choices of food based on how they look. If they look nasty and not healthy then I would not get it. We need to have healthy food that looks decent to eat. For example fresh foods.

  • Solomon Her

    Although calorie count and display do influence our dietary choices, price also is a factor in this decision. From personal experience Id rather buy something cheaper and less healthier than something more expensive and healthier for you.

  • Kolbey Banks

    My food choices are influenced by the way it will impact my body, i try to stay away from eating unhealthy things on a regular basis .

  • Laura Xiong

    What I am craving and what I prefer influences my dietary choices. I tend to eat something I prefer over trying something new. Also, when I am craving something, I will find a way to have that food.

  • Matthew Vang

    I feel like eating healthy depends on the availability food is at the time. If you are hungry and need a quick bite, you would go to a fast food restaurant, but if you aren’t as hungry, you can go home and make a balanced meal. However, that may take longer and depends on if you know how to cook or if your parents are able to cook for you.

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