How to Identify Food Influences

The reasons behind the choices we make in selecting our own diet are varied and are determined by many factors. 

In this fact sheet we will explore some of the reasons that determine our food choices to provide a better understanding of the different influences on our own diets. Here at NutriFit Clinic we believe that exercise and nutrition are synergistic in delivering personal training solutions that fulfil our clients’ goals and long term holistic health requirements.

how-to-identify-food-influences
influences-on-diet

As you can see below there are many factors that have an influence on the foods we eat driving our dietary choices. Some of these are positive and influence healthy food selection whilst others have a negative impact.

Our personal training approach looks closely at the connections between the foods you eat, your emotional well-being, energy levels and physical appearance to deliver optimum results for our clients that are sustainable in modern living.

There are numerous drivers that can influence individual diet and the diagram shows some of the most common factors. However it is by no means a definitive list!

The extent to which these factors influence diet and whether it is a positive or negative impactor varies greatly between individuals.

For example, if two people are equally hungry, one may opt for quick healthy snacks such as a salad and mixed nuts whilst the other may grab a fast food takeaway!

Health

A healthy balanced diet sets the foundation for good health and a poor diet is a key factor in many health complaints.

However, one size doesn’t fit all here! Someone of good health may assume all is well and in fact make poor food choices. Equally someone with health complaints such as obesity or diabetes may as part of tackling their condition make consistently positive choices.

Health and Fitness
Fitness Budget

Budget

Few people have an unlimited amount to spend on food and for the vast majority food spend requires careful budgeting.

Those facing financial hardship may well find difficulties with maintaining a healthy balanced diet due to the fact that sugary and processed food alternatives are generally cheaper.

Cooking Skills

If an individual lacks basic cooking skills this will greatly inhibit their ability to make well balanced healthy meals and adopt positive food choices.

Please note

Food technology has returned to the vast majority of schools as part of the curriculum.

Cooking-Skills
Time

Time Management

Having sufficient time during the day for meal planning and preparation is a key influencer on food choice.

A lack of time will frequently be cited as the reason for opting for ready meals, takeaways and pre prepared foods.

Please note

We all have the same hours available each day. A little forward planning is all it takes to ensure that those occasions where time is more limited don’t result in negative food selection.

For example, making double quantities of bolognaise sauce, soups and stews means there’s a healthy meal ready and waiting in the freezer!

Location

Living close to shops and local amenities provides easy access to a variety of fresh foods. More remote locations can inhibit access to local facilities resulting to higher dependency on tinned, packet and frozen foods.

Please note

With the developments in on-line food shopping adopted by the majority of large supermarkets in recent year’s location should be less of a factor than perhaps it once was.

Location
Age

Age

As people age it can be harder for them to plan their shopping and cook meals meaning that they may well rely on ready prepared meals or uncooked choices.

Employment

Working hours can often lead to snack eating but also diminished time available to food shop and cook.

This may result in the purchase of ready prepared meals or fast foods such as fish and chips, burgers, Indian takeaway etc.

In addition,

  • Work pressures can often result in comfort eating to negate the stresses of the day.
  • Colleagues may bring in cakes, biscuits, tins of sweets for sharing which may prove hard to resist when they are so close to hand.
  • Meetings may include biscuits, working lunches, meals out where food selection is more limited and an individual may feel a need to participate along with everyone else.
employment
Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Modern day eating has changed drastically over recent years and family meals have become somewhat eroded. These changes reflect our 24×7 society and the greater access to a wider variety of convenience foods.

A busy lifestyle can potentially affect food choices.

For example;

  • A hectic school run might lead to a parent/carer skipping breakfast.
  • A busy day at the office might lead to grabbing a quick takeaway.
  • Hectic family evenings could result in microwave ready meal choices.

Leisure

A busy, active social life may result in little time for food planning and preparation.

Leisure
Emotions

Emotions

For many food can be an emotional crux where positive emotions influence healthy choices and negative emotions influence less healthy choices.

We can all relate to instances in our life when we have felt tired, low or had a bad or busy day and allowed this to affect our food choice.

Hunger

A busy, active social life may result in little time for food planning and preparation.

Health and Fitness
Fitness Budget

Marketing

Marketing and advertising plays a huge part in food choices.

From the layout of the supermarket, position on the shelf, the special offers and promotions, food labelling and signage, food marketing is everywhere.

This marketing can lead to positive or negative food choices. For example, Waitrose ran a campaign with 20% off fresh fish on a Friday. However, their £10 meal deal with a ready meal, wine and a dessert is possibly less nutritionally beneficial.

Media

Outside of the supermarket we are bombarded with TV advertisements, careful product placement during our favourite programmes and printed and on-line advertising that subconsciously can influence our food selection.

Media
Health-Food-Planning

Planning for Healthy Food Choices

A little planning and preparation makes a massive difference to being able to consistently opt for healthy food choices.

Use the questions below to help you evaluate your own needs so that you can plan more effectively for a healthy diet.

  • Does my current diet include the main food groups – quality proteins, fats and carbohydrates?
  • How often do I eat fast foods?
  • How often do I resort to pre prepared meals?
  • How many portions of fruit and vegetables do I eat per day?
  • Am I drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day?
  • Do I eat on the go or devote proper time for my meals?
  • Most of the time do I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner?
  • Am I affected by emotional eating and if so how and what can I do about this?
  • Do I drink alcohol regularly?

If this has struck a chord with you and you’re keen to learn more about how our Personal Trainers can help you with your fitness and weight management goals contact us using the options below.