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How your partner’s eating habits influence your food choice

It is well understood that What we eat can impact our health. However, Who we eat with can also have a significant influence on our choices. In children as young as age 2, peer influence can play a role in food choices and preferences. but an influential change of the dietary pattern can occur at any time of the life span.

For example, preschool-aged children and their eating behaviors depends on the behaviors of their peers. When a preschooler with a strong dislike for a vegetable was seated with peers who had a strong preference for the same vegetable, the preschooler was significantly likely to alter food preferences over time and eventually select the initially disliked vegetable.

photo of four girls wearing school uniform doing hand signs
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Acceptance becomes of critical importance to teens, social pressures can play a major role on eating behaviors. The role of peer pressure greatly influences adolescent eating behavior. Through social reinforcement, for instance, peers may indirectly bolster the idea of the “ideal” thin body shape, thereby pressuring teens to skip meals or change their diet. Adolescents may also imitate the behaviors of their peers who practice unhealthy eating behaviors.

Just as peer influences can alter youth behavior, so can parental and familial influences. The environment in which a child grows up is strongly influenced by the family. Consequently, food habits and preferences of children are often mediated by parents. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that parental influence had a significant impact on the food selection of young children which stay with them for a long time.

Marriage is another one of the potent influential cause of change in dietary behavior. When you tie the knot with someone who has eating habits drastically different than your own, it impacts your dietary pattern too. Some people try to lose weight before marriage to look good or to fit into the dream wedding dress.

focused man mixing ingredients in stewpan on stove near wife
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This may affect their daily dietary routine. Carb-less or just curbing cravings with vegetables rather than reaching for a bag of chips. Sometimes extreme diet restrictions can impact your health and can lead to malnutrition and weakness.

Also, the dietary choices of the partner can greatly influence your diet. For example, if you partner is vegetarian and you are non vegetarian or vice versa , then there can be a chance that you start following the same diet pattern as your partner.

Or if your partner is very much into fitness, then he or she might convince you to follow the same diet and same lifestyle. Or it can be that your fast food loving partner may make eating fast food a habit for you too.

Sometimes when your partner is allergic to any particular food that can lead to permanent exclusion of that food or ingredients in your diet as well.

Depending on the health conditions of your partners, the choice of food and diet changes for both. The cultural difference and difference in feeding pattern of your partner’s family may change your old food habits that you were following for a long time.

So, it’s okay to have a commonality in you and your partner’s diet, till the time you are willingly doing it and it is not causing any physical, mental or health issues. But avoiding any food because of your partner is causing you any kind of health issue, then stop following that diet or stop avoiding that food. And your partner’s lifestyle and diet habit causing any benefit to your health and your lifestyle then go for it without any doubt.

Reference:

Perry, B., Ciciurkaite, G., Brady, C. F., & Garcia, J. (2016). Partner Influence in Diet and Exercise Behaviors: Testing Behavior Modeling, Social Control, and Normative Body Size. PloS one, 11(12), e0169193. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169193\

The Times of India, Can your co-workers food choice affect yours? (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2021.

Kemmer, D., Anderson, A. S., & Marshall, D. W. Living Together and Eating Together: Changes in Food Choice and Eating Habits during the Transition from Single to Married/Cohabiting. The Sociological Review, 46(1), 48–72. doi:10.1111/1467-954x.00089

Higgs, S., & Thomas, J. (2016). Social influences on eating. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 9, 1–6. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2015.10.005

Lily K. Hawkins, Claire Farrow, Jason M. Thomas. Do perceived norms of social media users’ eating habits and preferences predict our own food consumption and BMI? Appetite, 2020; 149: 104611 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2020.104611

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