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Major Changes in Australian Eating Habits and Patterns from Colonial Times to Modern Day

The Australian community has reported significant changes in their eating patterns and habits since the colonial days. According to Ridoutt et al. (2016), eating habits are the types of foods consumed by a community, the sources of nutrition, reason for consumption, as well as the process of discarding the waste. The types of food consumed before and during colonial times were different from modern Australian cuisine. In essence, the changes in the Australian food habits reflect the colonial period and the migrations reported in the region since World War II. 

Text Box: Figure 1: Australian Bush tucker
Image result for australian bush tucker

Significant changes in the sources of food have been witnessed. Before colonization, the majority of native Australians obtained food from hunting. The harsh Australian landscape was the major source of food, and people relied on animals such as kangaroos for meat. The main dish during the times was the “bush tucker” that consisted of kangaroo, snakes, moths, and roots (Hunter Valley Online). Native Australians also survived on seafood, so the sea was regarded as another source of food in the past.

Vital changes in the source of food were witnessed in the year 1788 when food was brought into the country by a fleet. The Australian got access to basic food supplies such as rice, beef, pork, and sugar (Taste.Com). This time also marked the start of industrialization by the settlers to make food more available as opposed to relying on the bush tucker. The colonialists introduced sheep and cattle rearing as well as promoted agriculture. Agricultural produce such as tea, wheat, and irrigated fruits and vegetables were produced. In the 1900s, the Australians mostly relied on agriculture and meat from the reared animals more Europeans migrated into the country. More flavors and ingredients were used in cooking.

Additionally, Chinese food was introduced to Australia during the Gold Rush. Chinese people taking part in the trade introduced new foods that remained present in Australia even after the merchants left (Hunter Valley Online). Moreover, some of the Chinese immigrants opted to remain in the country.

In addition to the changes in the source and types of food, a change in the cooking styles has also been witnessed. Traditional barbecue and outdoor picnics were popular in the 1900s (Hunter Valley Online). However, a significant change was reported in the 1960s. Eggplant, pepper, pasta, and different types of cheese were introduced to Australia.

Text Box: Figure 2: Modern Australian Cuisine
Image result for modern australian cuisine

Modern Australian cuisine has mostly been influenced by the foods consumed by the immigrants. The Europeans, Asians, and Arabs  brought many ingredients and flavors. Foods such as pizza, pasta, fish, steak, sandwiches, etc., are the modern Australian dishes available. However, modern foods have been associated with health risks, specifically obesity, prompting a significant part of the population to consider making changes in their food consumption patterns  (Leung & Funder, 2014).

Changes in the amount and types of foods taken by the Australian community have been reported in response to health concerns. Initially, there were no such concerns about health issues associated with the consumption of different kinds of foods. A decrease in the consumption of fatty foods and sugar has been reported among the adult and young populations in Australia (Ridoutt et al., 2016). On the other hand, an increase in the consumption of foods such as beans, cocoa, and beans has also been reported. The increase in the intake of fruits and vegetables was more pronounced in adults than in the young generation (Savige, Ball, Worsley & Crawford, 2007). The increasing health concerns justify the changes in the types and quantity of foods consumed by the Australians.

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