What Affects My Food Choices?
#1 TASTE — Taste is the most important factor influencing food choices. Taste easily beats out cost, convenience, and concerns with health. The taste of food is a powerful force for pure delight! However, the powerful force of taste can also subject you to manipulation by food industry forces to trade in good nutrition for simple pleasure. Often, nutrition and taste are viewed as opposing forces: nutritious foods taste bad and tasty foods are not nutritious. Fortunately, nutritious foods can be tasty. The good news is that most of our taste-pleasure responses are conditioned, so they can be re-conditioned. Plus, you can use food and nutrition science to better identify and prepare tasty nutritious foods. You can teach yourself to better align taste with nutrition.
#2 COST — Cost is the second-leading factor in making food choices. Cost is the most fundamental limiter of our diets. The fundamental questions here are: How much am I able or willing to spend on food? and How can I get the most nutrition for what I am spending on food? The good news here is that even on a tight budget it is possible to eat many nutritious foods.
#3 CONVENIENCE — Convenience rounds out the trifecta of Taste-Cost-Convenience which dominates most of our food choices. Convenience is a close second to cost as a fundamental limiter of our diets; for many people, convenience will trump cost as the most important limiter. While cost is about a limit of money, convenience is about a limit of time. Cost and convenience are often interchangeable. With enough money, you can buy convenient, nutritious foods. With enough time, you can prepare (even grow!) nutritious foods at a modest cost. The key question here is: How much time am I willing to spend to get nutritious foods in my life? Learning about food and nutrition, meal planning, cooking, and even gardening, can pay off big time, if you are willing to invest the time.
Ultimately, a nutritious diet that is friendly to the planet, is about harmonizing your values about eating, lifestyle, nutrition, ecology, and life in general.