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Does your Valentine influence what you eat? How love affects food choices

love and food

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I am delving into how love affects our food choices and if this evolves with the relationship over time.

An interesting topic that comes to mind is if love has an impact on the way we eat and the dietary choices that we make.

A study by Hasford and Kidwell in 2017 researched the dyadic decision making by examining how relationship partners influence consumer eating habits.

The study found that both the formation and maintenance of relationships influences eating habits and this influence evolves with the relationship.

To be more specific, the study highlighted that in heterosexual relationships women are initially more influenced by the eating habits of their male partners. However, as the relationship becomes more established men are more likely to be influenced by the woman’s eating habits.

katie young food behaviour
Katie Young and her boyfriend Kumayl Zaidi.

Case study: Katie Young from Newport

Speaking with vegetarian Katie Young from Newport, who is currently studying in Glasgow, she explained: “My boyfriend is Pakistani and we started dating a bit before the pandemic.

“Before we met I honestly wasn’t that much of a fan of South Asian food, I usually found it too spicy and didn’t ever know what to order other than tikka or korma.”

After meeting her boyfriend Kumayl Zaidi her eating habits changed, with him showing her different options within South Asian cuisine and teaching her how to enjoy ordering this type of food.

She added: “His mum is an excellent cook and she has her own spice blends which she sells called Asaan Cooking.

“I’ve learnt how to cook chana masala, palak paneer, and dahl, which have become staples in my diet now.

“Especially since I am vegetarian, it gave me a whole new range of meals and a cuisine which I love eating and can cook for myself.”

Why do romantic partners affects our food choices?

After conducting a recent poll survey on my Instagram, the question of love affecting food choices was asked to 76 participants.

love and food
Instagram poll on @mariamokhai.

The results indicated that 86% of people felt that love had influenced their food choices in some way.

For many individuals like Katie, being in a romantic relationship may result in more eating out and trying new food places together in an attempt to build a relationship and can heavily influence your dietary selection.

Photographer Christophe Abouem from Glasgow shared his view: “Loved ones can influence your taste for things, and it is perhaps a way of bonding.”

In many cases this may be down to the fact that in the initial stages men are more likely to pick the eateries for dates, and so women may consume a diet which is more in line with their partners.

But traditionally as women become mothers they will have more control over what is being eaten by the children and subsequently their life partners.

Love influences many of us in a positive way

When participants from the Instagram poll asked to elaborate, the responses echoed many of the behaviours which Katie described with regards to dietary choices and trying new foods.

Food blogger Marta commented: “My boyfriend is vegetarian and I mainly eat vegetarian too when I’m at home.”

love and food
Couples eating out together can influence each other’s choices.

Emily Burn from Liverpool responded: “When eating out with my boyfriend, I end up trying new foods” suggesting that partners can help you to make different and more interesting choices.

As a result, in many cases the dietary choices or preferences our loved ones have can influenced what we choose to eat and how.

This is emphasised by Nadya Nicoll from Glasgow who commented “We always make meals with each other in mind, knowing the other person’s preferences. And we order two mains at a restaurant that we can share.”

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