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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsDR.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsSIMONE GIBSON: We don't only eat according to knowledge. The foods that we choose are dependent on a wide variety of factors. So some of that might include cost. Other things that influence what we eat might be time. So a lot of people, they work long hours, they've got kids to look after, they're running around. So having that time to prepare healthy foods can sometimes be difficult for people. And, you know, they end up just taking the easier option, which is grabbing some takeaway on the way home, or some convenience foods. And sometimes they can be healthy, but a lot of the times they're not. Culture influences what we eat.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsFestivities, birthdays, Christmas-- there's all different influences, apart from just knowledge, that determine what people choose to eat every day. It is still possible to eat healthfully, regardless of all those parameters and influences. What we do need to know is how to work within that. So, for example, how to cook healthfully on a budget. Or how to prepare healthy foods when you don't have much time. Examples of that might be knowing what sort of takeaway foods to choose. Or cooking foods in bulk and putting some in the freezer, when you do have a little bit more time. And easy recipes. There are some recipes that are really healthy that you can prepare in just 10 minutes.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 secondsRestaurant foods are often higher in fat and higher in salt, and research is showing that the portion sizes served in restaurants is bigger than what most people would serve at home. So being careful about what restaurants you go to, what sorts of foods you choose from the menu. Keeping in mind those larger serving sizes, perhaps you can share three dishes amongst five people, for example, to make sure that you're not eating more than what you actually need to. There is a lot of nutrition information out there, and there are a lot of diets out there. And, unfortunately, those diets are usually quite fixed, and they won't fit in to every individual's lifestyle.

Skip to 2 minutes and 16 secondsSo don't feel bad if you can't follow the guidelines exactly. But making small steps to go towards those targets is really beneficial. So I've had clients come to see me because they've wanted to improve their diet, or lose weight, or whatever. And I've started talking to them about what sort of foods they should choose, and they just say, Simone, just give me a plan an I'll follow it. But unfortunately, that never seems to work. They can follow it for a few days, but then it's more restrictive, because it doesn't fit in with their budget, or their taste, or their lifestyle. And then they just go back to the way that they were eating before.

Skip to 2 minutes and 55 secondsSo, yeah, it's really important to understand why we eat, and why you, personally, eat the way that you eat. So therefore, you can find a way to eat healthfully and apply all of that knowledge that fits in with your lifestyle and tastes. What we eat is way beyond just what we know we should eat.

Factors influencing what we eat

Watch Simone talk about some of the factors that influence the food we eat.

Talking point

There are many factors that can shape our dietary patterns and the foods we choose to eat, such as our food preferences, budget and sleep patterns. We must remember that while nutrition is a science, the way we eat can be considered a behaviour. Even though we are learning more than ever about nutrition and how it can affect our health, knowledge alone is not the only driver behind our food choices. We know that food choices can vary each day depending on changes in our daily routines.

To eat well and improve our diet we must have knowledge of nutrition and health science, and also take into account factors that influence our behaviour as well.

Within the Comments, consider sharing with other learners some of the factors that influence what you eat.

  • If you are tired or do not sleep well, does this affect your food choices or your appetite?
  • Does your budget or lack of time to cook influence the foods that you choose?

Don’t forget to contribute to the discussion by reviewing the comments made by other learners, making sure you provide constructive feedback and commentary. Remember you can also ‘like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.


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This video is from the free online course:

Food as Medicine

Monash University

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

  • Food as medicine in history
    Food as medicine in history
    video

    Watch Janeane provide an overview of how food was used as medicine in the past, and the role food science played in health.

  • Welcome to Week 3
    Welcome to Week 3
    video

    Watch Helen introduce the range of topics that you’ll learn about in this week of the course.

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