How do we learn to like the food we like?
When asked why and when they eat or don't eat, most people say “I like it,” “it tastes nice,” or “I was hungry,” which is in line with a more biological model of eating behavior and the biological sensations of hunger and fullness. But people eat differently according to their culture, ethnicity, and family history. When they move from one country to another their diets and food preferences change, and when people share their lives with others from different backgrounds they adjust their food choices accordingly. Given the enormous cultural diversity in food preferences it is generally accepted that food choice is more complex than simply a matter of biological drives. Psychological models of eating have therefore been developed which focus on how we learn to like the foods we like from the moment we are born (and possibly even before), and how our preferences are shaped by the people around us. When we feed our children, we are therefore not only shaping the foods they will eat and like as children, but we are also shaping when, why, and what they will eat for the rest of their lives. This chapter will therefore explore why we eat what we eat in terms of the following:
- Taste, hunger, and fullness
- Role models
- Learning by association
- Parental control
Good parenting …
Eating is about so much more than taste, hunger, and fullness. We eat what we like and we like what we have learned ...