Spicy, Sweet, Sophisticated? How What You Eat Says Who You Are

December 20, 2016 Sam Hawkins

What Your Food and Food Tech Say About Your Personality

A culture is often defined by its food. But what about the people themselves — the individual factor?

According to the age-old adage “You are what you eat,” one’s way of life is in fact reflected in the foods they feast on. Consume your share of spinach and you could appear like Popeye. Have too many Jelly Bellies, and well... you get the idea.

Although farfetched, it turns out there may be more truth to the expression than these examples suggest. Owing to a number of studies over the past few years, a connection has been made between a person's food choices and their personality. In fact, even how you eat can be revealing. 

Spicy Foods

Spicy Food

Based on findings out of Penn State, individuals predisposed to risk taking are probably up to their eyeballs in hot wings and other spicy foods.

Has someone suggested skydiving or roller derby for the next team-building activity? If so, they may have a penchant for particularly hot peppers. Keep an eye out for anyone who has listed " Carolina Reaper" on their Linkedin resume.

Sweet Teeth

We all know the saying "Sugar and spice and everything nice," but turns out, girls aren't the only one who have a soft spot for sweet treats. According to research, those who hanker for confections tend to have a sweeter disposition overall and are more willing to lend their assistance in times of need.

Looking to lean on someone in a high-stress situation? The friend with the five-cent candies may be set to sweeten the pill.

Bitter Bites

On the flip side, those that have a taste for bitter bites are prone to being more judgemental of those around them. Furthermore, a study out of Austria found that these types of people often possess anti-social personality traits, such as being manipulative or insensitive, and in extreme cases, may even by psychopathic.

If you’re on your way to the water cooler and overhear a conversation about unsweetened cocoa and sesame seeds, you may want to steer clear. Just saying.

Exotic Edibles

Those who seek more exotic edibles — think fried crickets or fugu — can always be trusted to want to try new things. Courageous in the kitchen and elsewhere when they eat, these people prefer new experiences over worn ones. But this adventurous attitude isn’t only indicative of audacity. Exotic eaters are infrequently flustered and can be relied on when times get tough.

If you ever need a workplace confidant or someone for support, look to those with the most bizarre lunch meal. They may be able to bail you out.

Healthy Options

Ever wonder what your executives are eating? Chances are it consisted of kale or any other health staple of the week.

According to the Health and Enhancement Research Organization, "Employees who eat healthy all day long were 25% more likely to have high job performance... while those who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least four times a week were 20% more likely to be more productive."

CEOs and other administrators got to where they are for a reason and healthy eating could have something to do with it.

Apples and Carrots Only

Steve Jobs flirted with some pretty bizarre healthy meal plans himself, including, but not limited to, fruitarianism — a subset of veganism that means eating only fruits, seeds, vegetables and grains — and an apples-and-carrots only diet. Yes, you read that correctly.

Jobs wasn't trying to see better in the dark, and when it comes down it, we don’t really know what he was up to. But if we can attribute his success to something discernible, we’ll do just that.

Corporate Meal Delivery #FoodTech

If you're hoping to find the best and brightest in your office, look to those who understand the mechanics of corporate meal delivery and utilize corporate meal delivery services like Foodee that makes it easy for companies to order food from top local restaurants. Whether you’re ordering food for a specific event or as a perk to encourage team building and a more unified company culture, innovators like Foodee and their food tech peers can assist you every step of the way.

Related: Food Tech Startups — The Simple Way to a Free Lunch

It’s Not Just What You Eat, But How You Eat 

As per our examples, it’s becoming clear that the meals you eat reflect who you are as a person. But for Juliet A. Boghossian, a behavioral food expert and founder of Food-ology, the old saying “You are what you eat” misses the mark.

According to her research, it isn’t just what you eat — how you eat your food also defines you. Everything, from the momentum at which you munch to the order in which you fork your food, testifies to who you are as a person.

The Slow Eater

Slow eaters are defined by the plodding pace at which they eat. If one is still working away on an appetizer while their compadres pay the bill, there’s a good chance they fall into this category.

Edible overkill aside, this lick, or lack thereof, is said to represent a methodical makeup. Besides holding up most dinner parties, slow eaters possess an increased appreciation for their food and all other experiences in general. In a professional setting, rather than rush a job, slow eaters make sure to get things done right, even if it means waiting for the cows to come home.

The Fast Eater

On the other end of things, fast eaters will force themselves through food like an eighteen wheeler up an emergency off-ramp. Chewing isn’t exactly a part of their vocabulary and, although it’s insisted upon, it isn’t exactly required.

That said, Food-ology defines fast eaters by their ability to do away with deadlines well in advance of their actual due date. This kind of action plan is largely appreciated in offices everywhere, as the more you get done, the more you can do. And if that weren’t enough already, these types of individuals make easy work of multi-tasking.

But just because they’re Quick Draw McGraw in the kitchen, doesn’t mean it’s all good in the hood. It’s often suggested that fast eaters need to slow down and to stop and smell the roses. When your well-being is at stake, taking time for yourself is never the wrong call.

The Adventurer

If you regularly find frog legs in front of you or if your friends and family shake their heads as they watch you suckle on some starfish (yes, this is a thing) or if you always need to eat somewhere new, it’s pretty obvious what kind of person you are.

Adventurous eaters are known to be bold and brave individuals who are always wanting to try new things. Never anxious to leave it all on the line, these adventurers are known to propose new initiatives at work or redefine old campaigns. As a result, others tend to flock to you as they recognize a forward-thinker is in their midst.

However, adventurers should proceed with caution: not everyone will be up to their level. In life and in eating, these people must recognize when others aren’t interested in leaving their comfort zones and must try to act accordingly.

The Picky Eater

Most people like to pretend that there isn’t anything unusual about their eating habits — and they’re probably right — but if you eat only one brand of vanilla yogurt and nothing else, you are most definitely a picky eater.

Picky eaters are known to thrive in familiar space. Preferring tasks that they already are accustomed to, you can count on these people to get their duties done. Furthermore, Picky eaters are known to be inquisitive individuals and aren’t afraid to question the status quo.

The Isolationist

One of our more interesting eaters, the isolationist is someone who eats only one food at a time. If you fall into this category, you’re known as a detail-oriented person and one who is always sure to think their actions through to the end. Careful not to make any mistakes, isolationists are often credited for their attention to detail.

But, be careful not to be too inflexible. Just because you’ve envisioned projects all the way to their completion, doesn’t mean there aren't other ways to get the job done. Not everyone appreciates a know-it-all.

The Organizer

Organizers separate their food into tidy piles before consumption. Not allowing any one thing to touch another, organizers can appear possessive to onlookers.

In actuality, these diners are determined to prevent any sort of mess and will avoid disorder by any means necessary. With skill sets like these, organizers are great at keeping track of all their tasks, as well as any that may come their way.

The Mixer

When eating, the mixer will stir all their food into one big bowl, providing themselves a chance to taste everything at once.

Known to be strong people, mixers are quite capable of taking on more than their share. As an outgoing and affable group of individuals, they’re used to having handfuls of healthy relationships and aren’t anxious about creating too many close connections.

But mixers beware, for this can lead to certain conflict. Sometimes known to over-commit, these people can become hard-pressed about which task to tackle first.

The Over-Sharer

Over-sharers aren’t necessarily known for sharing per se, but rather for putting on a bit of a show. If you know someone who chews with their mouth open or points with their fork, you’ve got yourself an over-sharer.

That said, these types of eaters are known to be more free-spirited than your average person. Not afraid to let people know exactly what they think, over-sharers are often first to break the ice.

But like any good thing, some people find this upfront personality to be off-putting. Saying whatever you want won’t always get you ahead, and in fact, the exact opposite is often true. Learn to dial it back and you may be better off.

The Preparer

The preparer likes to cut everything into manageable bites well before they start eating. The epitome of a forward-thinker, these types of people dream big and quickly move up the ladder. CEO, executives and supervisors can be easily lumped into this category,

Related: The Epic (and Intellectually Tasty) Guide to Employee Management

The Emotional Eater

Emotional eaters aren’t motivated by hunger. Instead, they look to food for comfort, stress-relief, or as a reward.

Not exactly the healthiest of habits, everyone experiences emotional eating at one point or another. If you’re having trouble containing these sorts of reflexes, look to friends and family for help, or seek professional services.

The good folks at mindbodygreen offer these 5 powerful tools to avoid emotional eating:

  • Welcome your emotions instead of attempting to drown them in chocolate covered almonds (or your comfort food of choice).
  • Explore other sensory experiences, like the wind on your face, sunshine on your shoulder, etc.
  • Only eat when you’re actually hungry. Don’t starve yourself, simply learn to recognize hunger and the feelings and rewards of eating well.
  • Know your triggers. If a deadline makes you instinctively reach for salty snacks, try a little reprogramming. Keep healthy food on hand for moments when time is short but your hunger is real.
  • Feed your body with love. Aww… we love this one. Be who you are and strive for a healthy relationship with yourself and your cravings.

The Mindful Eater

Mindful eating is recommended for everyone as it allows you to fully enjoy the experience with moderation and restraint. While we all have our individual quirks, it’s important to recognize where we can improve, even when it comes to eating.

Make sure to appreciate each and every bite, taking time chew thoroughly. Mindful eating can be a great stress reliever, and it allows us to mull over our tasks and activities.

Want to learn more? Check out the Center for Mindful Eating

The Playful Eater

Last but not least, if you’re someone who enjoys flinging food across the room, don’t beat yourself up about it. Despite what our parents might have told us growing up, there’s evidence that playing with your food is a great sign of creativity and curiosity. If nothing else, it’ll give you a chance to ease up just a little bit.

Help Yourself to These Fun Quizzes

If you’re still not sure where you fall on the food spectrum, try out one of these great quizzes. It’s your chance to get a better picture of who you are as a person, all based on what you like to eat! Plus, they’re pretty fun too.

Your Own Recipe For Reality

One final thought: remember to take these personality profiles with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, you define who you are as a person. Just because you’re a slow eater doesn’t mean you can’t shake things up somewhere along the line. But if there’s one thing to be learned in all this, it’s that to improve as a person, you need to know where you currently stand.

Eat Well and Live Well!

Wagepoint would like to thank their friends at Foodee for this eminently tasteful and entertaining guest post. They are to food perks as we are to payroll — fast, friendly and happy to help take the details off your plate. 

About the Author

Sam Hawkins

Sam Hawkins is the Social Media Manager at Foodee. While he swears himself a starving artist, he’s typically found stuffing his face.

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