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You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

How does my heritage affect what I eat?
Why do I eat junk food when I'm stressed out?
Life-changing events
What else affects my food choices?

Ever wonder why you're always thinking about food? It's no accident. You might be surprised to learn that people eat 80,000 to 100,000 times in their lifetime. In fact, eating will consume 13 to 15 years of your waking hours. It's no wonder that making food choices is a big part of our lives. back to top

How does my heritage affect what I eat?
Early experiences with food help shape our tastes. Think about what you ate when you were a kid. Was it mostly macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Were you raised eating rice and beans, seaweed salad, or mango curry? Or was BBQ the house specialty? Maybe someone in your family doesn't like tuna so you never tried it. But it doesn't have to stay that way. Take a look around you when you're eating lunch at school. Is one of your friends eating something new? Educate your taste buds and give it a try. Chances are you'll like it too! back to top

Why do I eat junk food when I'm stressed out?
The stuff going on in your life can have a big effect on your eating habits and food choices. The everyday stresses of school, homework, after-school activities, and socializing with friends definitely have an impact. For instance, girls and boys are more likely than adults to skip breakfast. When you feel rushed or tired, you may reach for fast food without thinking about whether you are getting the nutrients you need. You may also find yourself craving specific foods because of the hormonal changes that occur during puberty or as a part of premenstrual syndrome. back to top

Life-changing events
Keep in mind that life-changing events, such as death, a divorce, and other difficult or traumatic situations at home, are highly stressful. These stresses can cause you to feel depressed and can definitely affect what you eat. You may find yourself overeating. Or you may lose your appetite altogether. If you are concerned about your eating, take this self-test or talk with your health professional or an adult you trust. back to top

What else affects my food choices?
Almost everything in your life can influence your food choices. And yet, we tend to eat the same foods out of habit. Most people eat only about 100 basic foods. Educating yourself about health issues and nutrition may make you want to change some of the foods you eat. For example, girls need a lot of calcium to build healthy bones. You might decide to increase the amount of milk, yogurt, or cheese in your diet. Or check out nondairy sources of calcium like collard greens, kale, beans, and tofu.

On the other hand, knowing what good nutrition means doesn't always make it easier to stick to MyPyramid. Ads on television and in the magazines you read can influence what you eat. Have you ever found yourself eating a bag of chips after watching a tempting commercial? On the other hand, have you skipped a meal because you heard someone talking about how much food a girl "should" eat, or because you wanted to look more like your favorite singer? All of these factors can give you a distorted impression of your weight and body image. back to top

Last Modified Date: 2/28/2001
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