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Eating Habits and Personality: A Surprising Connection

When it comes to eating habits, I’m definitely my father’s daughter, but I never considered that our different eating habits and personalities could coincide.
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He taught me that mixing food together creates a sloppy mess that looks unappetizing, but tantalizes the taste buds in a thousand different ways. My mom, on the other hand, enjoys each side dish separately. She can’t fathom my love for mingling flavors any more than I understand her stringent “one flavor at a time” policy.  According to Juliet A. Boghossian, behavioral food expert and founder of Food-ology, a belief that eating styles are related to character traits, we aren’t just what we eat—we’re how we eat, too. 

Food-ology’s Origins
Boghossian developed the concept after noticing a connection between the way her dad ate and the way he acted. After studying non-verbal and verbal communication in school, she made her findings a science and used it to analyze people. “Our food habits are one of the most instinctual habits we have,” Boghossian explains. “It’s a universal need with no boundaries, regardless of economic or social status.” Because of this, she believes our food habits can reveal a great deal about ourselves. “You can fake a food habit … but eventually, the instincts will kick in,” she says, thus uncovering the “real” you.

The Most Common Eating Habits
After twenty years of studying the way people eat, there are a few traits Boghossian encounters more than others. Chances are most people fall under at least one of these categories. 

Slow Eaters
Boghossian believes that those who dine slowly are wed to routines and are stubborn. They make a point of savoring their food, indicating that they make the most out of every experience. They’re also more likely to put themselves and their needs before anyone else’s. As she puts it, “they are the priority in their lives.” 

Fast Eaters
Eating quickly shows a lack of balance when it comes to priorities. Those who finish food before everyone else tend to put other things before themselves. However, they’re also productive powerhouses and excel at finishing projects. 

People Who Mix Foods
This type of person can take on a great deal of responsibilities efficiently, but might have trouble deciding what’s most important to accomplish. He or she can also have trouble concentrating on a particular task. 

People Who Eat Foods One at a Time
“Task-oriented” and “methodical in approach” are the ways she describes people who eat this way. They’re less flexible when it comes to fitting into situations that deviate from what they’re used to. 

Food Habits and Job Skills
Boghossian advises recruiters and hiring managers about what eating traits to look for depending on the job. “The goal of a recruiter is to know what skill sets are most critical to a given position, then seek those traits through an individual’s food habits,” she says. These food habits may provide recruiters some insight. 

Cuts Meat All at Once
“Cutting meat [at once] displays an individual that is more methodical, strategic, and forward thinking,” she writes in her Web site’s advice column. This type of person is well-suited for positions that require logical thinking and precision. Fields such as engineering, accounting, or computer technology would be perfect fits. 

Enjoys Trying New Foods
Those excited about sampling different cuisines would do well in creative positions because they’re willing to explore new paths and will be more likely to go against the grain in terms of ideas. 

Asking questions about the menu is also indicative of an open-minded person. Watch out for people who pre-season their foods or don’t even glance at the menu before ordering—they’re more likely to be stubborn and less likely to embrace change.

What It Comes Down To
However, Boghossian is quick to point out that these attributes don’t speak to the character of the person. “You can’t single out one food habit as altogether negative; there are always pros and cons to every behavior,” she reasons. In other words, my love of blending foods and my mom’s abhorrence of said love doesn’t make either one of us a bad person—it just makes us different (and qualified for different jobs, apparently). 

I guess we can add eating styles to the list of characteristics that give away our personalities unbeknownst to us. It might seem silly to associate behavior with something as simple as the way we eat, but the small things we do instinctively can be incredibly revealing if you pay enough attention. And if it takes a little of the guesswork out of potential job candidates, just think of what it can do for our dating lives!

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