Food is a huge part of social culture, even for Millennials. High school and college students aren’t known for their culinary expertise, but 65% of female students and 67% of male students enjoy cooking, according to a recent Ypulse Report. More than six in 10 students (61%) cook for themselves regularly, and 25% regularly cook for their families. Their friends and roommates are far less likely to benefit, with fewer than one in seven cooking regularly for either group.
Still, Millennials want to share their food finds with their friends and family; two thirds do so. What’s more, they also share such info online. It’s part of their interest in contributing to the collective knowledge, while simultaneously building their street cred. Checking in at the newest restaurant near campus or commenting about the latest superfood being blended into an energy drink shows their social network (both online and off) that they’re up on trends.
There’s a change in students’ attitudes toward food between high school and college, and it involves more than refining their palates. Students get their first taste of household independence in high school when busy parents occasionally leave them in charge of finding their own dinner. Despite such freedom, they still retain a somewhat childlike attitude toward food. For example, high school boys still adore fast food, with a whopping 26% preferring fast food to a home cooked meal.
But by the time they reach college age and truly become heads of their own households, they have developed more responsible attitudes toward food. College students are less likely than high schoolers to say they eat whatever they want and more likely to watch what they eat. Collegians are more likely to be conscious of how their food choices’ impact their looks. College students are significantly more likely than younger students to say they’re unsatisfied with their weight. Among boys, the proportion on a diet grows from 13% in high school to 18% in college; among girls, the proportion jumps from 18% to 24%.
College students also hold themselves to higher standards, which results in fewer saying they are healthy eaters, despite most feeling well informed about nutrition. Collegians are more likely than high schoolers to get diet and nutrition information online, meanwhile high schoolers are far more likely to rely on their parents for such information. The difference is about more than proximity and living at home; not all online sources are backed by solid science, but they are more likely than most parents to carry the credentials of “nutrition experts.”
Overall, students’ top sources for nutrition and diet information are:
- Websites (60%)
- Parents or family (51%)
- Friends (40%)
- A doctor (40%)
- Magazines (37%)
- Other sources at school or university (36%)
- Television (32%)
- A specific health or nutrition class (32%)
- Newspapers (16%).
Read more: 10 Belly Blasting Foods