January 13, 2010

A response to Satter’s hierarchy of food needs

Today I was reading about Satter’s hierarchy of food needs (great article, go read it!), and I found it really interesting. As someone who has never had a problem with “enough food,” “acceptable food,” or “reliable, ongoing access to food”, I thought back and realized that I definitely play around with the top few tiers of the pyramid.

“Novel food”? Not that important to me. I’ll eat the same thing day in and day out for a long time if I really like the taste of it and it’s super nutritious. I’d rank that one as the lowest of the top three.

“Good-tasting food” and “instrumental food” (if you didn’t read the article, that means nutritious food) are pretty interchangeable to me. I won’t eat something that tastes revolting, but I’ve definitely been known to sacrifice taste for nutrition. I cook with a lot less oil, butter, and salt than most recipes call for, and I’ll regularly drink things like green smoothies that aren’t quite as sweet or delicious as an icy pina colada… but are a heck of a lot healthier. Who among us hasn’t at least once opted for the grilled chicken salad instead of the huge plate of loaded nachos (okay maybe not last week), not because you wanted grilled chicken more but because you were trying to make the smart choice?

And actually, I’ve even played around with “instrumental food” and “ongoing access to food.” If I’m in a place where I can’t get something healthy, sometimes I’ll go hungry for a bit rather than satisfy my hunger with chips or cookies or junk food. I’ve gone to book clubs where the only food choices were bar foods, and chosen to hold off on eating dinner until I get home at 10pm, just so I can eat something home-cooked and healthy instead of dripping with butter and with non-lean proteins. I suppose the key there is I know I can get the healthy food later. I’m lucky that I have that choice.

Where do you fall on the pyramid? Do you think it’s in the right order?


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