Our culture defines our eating habits. What is Americans’ traditional food? One day I asked my Caucasian roommate, who has grown up in Portland, Oregon, what his taste of home cooking is. He answered that his taste of home cooking is nachos, tacos and burritos. It was not a joke. I said it is Mexican food; he replied it is “Mexican American food.” Dietary habits and choices develop early. “A person’s food preferences, like his or her personality, are formed during the first few years of life, through a process of socialization (Schlosser 123).
Parents in accordance with their view of what constitutes a healthy baby shape an infant’s eating habits. Those views are shaped by society and can indirectly affect the nutrition the baby receives. Parents who follow a vegetarian diet, for example, are more likely to introduce vegetarian food to their children. Some people perceive a heavy baby as more healthy and feed accordingly to achieve such an outcome. Food can be used as a reward for good behavior; sometimes food is used to interrupt bad behavior. “Children learn about foods they like or dislike by being exposed to different types of food and observing and experiencing the consequences and rewards of consuming those foods.” (Harris 665)
In our culture, marketing strategies that may or may not be for the better for society also pushes eating trends. Certainly, the advertisements for highly processed, highly refined, unhealthy food full of artificial sweeteners, fat, and salt aren’t a positive influence. Adding a “cool” and “fun” theme is simply masking these strategies, which is offensive. Especially considering the effect a child’s eating habits will have on their health throughout their entire life. Often, people start out on the wrong foot and end up on track to eating and drinking themselves to death. Since America has a short history, and does not have national traditional diet, we do not have the direction to what we are supposed to eat compared to other nations.