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Where do your values about food come from?

Have you ever stopped to think about where your values about food come from? Have you ever thought about whether you even have values about food? Chances are you haven't but if you've ever heard yourself repeating a phrase that your parents used to say to you when you were a child then you are probably carrying around some values that aren't entirely yours.

When we are young we learn about food from our parents and other family members who had in turn had learnt about food from their parents. For the most part this is a good thing and the lessons we learnt serve us well. I grew up with home cooked meals, which were well balanced and always eaten sat at the dining table. Only when I got to university did I truly appreciate the value of this. I remember being in Tesco doing my first solo food shop not having a clue what to buy. I thought " If I were at home this week what sort of thing would I be eating?" and all those meals I had shared with my family were my guide. Luckily I had good guidance.

However some of those values we learn are not helpful and some, although useful at some stage in our lives, cease to be helpful in the here and now. What was once good advice for our parents no longer works in the modern world.

This is reason for the re-branding of Sugar Puffs. Remember those? Were you aware that these were re-branded Honey Monster Puffs in 2014? My initial reaction was "you can't change the name of sugar puffs-it's famous brand" but then I stopped to reflect and I realised that in this day and age branding something with sugar in the title when childhood obesity is a growing problem probably isn't a good idea.

So why did they ever think that 'Sugar Puffs' was a good name? Well this is because Sugar Puffs were first sold in 1957 in post war Britain. During the war sugar was one of the foods that were rationed. Certain foods were scarce and meeting your family's nutritional needs on rations was a real skill and a source of pride for many parents. The challenge during those times was to get enough nutrition into your children. Sweets back in those days were a luxury item and they were not easy to come by. Hence the name 'Sugar Puffs'. It was a desirable name. If you were giving your children sugar you were providing them with a real treat. You were providing them with something they needed and wanted so 'Sugar Puffs' made sense as the association with sugar was a positive one. Of course when you fast forward to current times when people are talking of a childhood obesity epidemic then you can see why having the word 'sugar' in the title doesn't work-hence the change in name. As times have changed, the brand needed to change.

The same thing applies to our values about food. The problem is we keep hold of these values even when times change and they are no longer serving us well. Our parents gave us values about food which they got from their parents growing up in post war Britain.

"Eat this to grow up big and strong"

"He's a growing boy!"

"This will set you up for day" (referring to a big breakfast)

Great advice at the time but they don’t always work for us in modern times.

So what about you? Where do your values about food come from?

What sayings from when you are young are you still repeating to yourself now?

Are you using post war beliefs in modern day Britain?

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