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Table 3 Theme 2: eating practices

From: A focus group study of healthy eating knowledge, practices, and barriers among adult and adolescent immigrants and refugees in the United States

Subtheme Adults Adolescents
Family Eating Habits Cambodian: “We just eat when we are hungry and we don’t eat when we are not hungry. That practice keeps us from worrying about dieting.” Cambodian: “We eat a lot of fish. […] Mostly rice. […] Vegetables and rice.”
Mexican: “Beans and rice. […] lots of oil.”
Mexican: “With family and kids in particular, you need to set an example. The kids won’t eat vegetables if you don’t eat them […] otherwise they are content with their pizza or chicken nuggets.” Somali: “My mom does not like us eating out. She is trying to cut us from the fast food.”
Somali: “We might not have the right food to eat at home; we just like eat the same things over and over.”
Sudanese: “My mom told me that people in [our country] are healthier because there is no such a thing ‘pop it in and I’ll microwave it.’ They cook every single day.”
Sudanese: “We eat healthy […] We don’t have so much fast food where we originate from. Fast food is considered junk food. Here […] we try to make sure […] we feed [our children] homemade meals.”
Sudanese: “When my mom’s cooking it, all it is, is vegetables and then sometimes there’s a little bit of meat, but it’s not like all the time it’s meat.”
Sudanese: “In Africa, we cook what the father needs, not the kids.” Sudanese: “My dad, he plants things outside like in the summer, and then he cooks it and he eats it.”
Somali: “My kids go to school and they learn Sudanese: “My Dad always says, [when he] orders pizza or chicken [on weekends]: ‘you are not supposed to eat this stuff all the time because you are going to get fat, […] you are going to get sick from all the fat in the food. [And] the food your mom cooks is healthier than any food in America. You get stronger after eating it. That’s why most Africans are strong.’”
about health and eating fruits and vegetables […], but when they come home they fill their stomach with pasta and rice.”
Sudanese: “Most of our Sudanese dishes are homemade.”
Mexican: “In my country, with my family, […] we prefer homemade food. It is better. It’s healthier, less fat.”
Mexican: “[We] are used to everything just being homemade.”
Americanized Eating Habits “There is a lot of junk food places and you are tempted […] and not make your own food.” Somali: “It seems like on every corner [there is fast food].”
Somali: “Most of the [parents], when they came from like Africa […] they just want to be in America. […] They just want to be Americanized. They just want to be part of it. They don’t want to be left out.”
“Back home, it was easier to get healthy food. […] Here it is easier to get unhealthy food than healthy food.”
Mexican: “[My] parents or whoever cooks, cooks healthy [food] but then after the healthy stuff, [I] go to [get] junk food.”
Sudanese: “I used to like [homemade food] when I was a kid, but all this American food just changed me.”
Somali: “My mom buys American food but she always cooks African food. But the only time I eat it is when I am really hungry.”
Sudanese: “Here in America everything [is with] so much oil […]. It’s just instant; just put it in the microwave.”
Easy Food Mexican: “[We eat] whatever is easiest, just go with that because […] that’s what the kids are looking for. […] What is already made, what is easiest.” Somali: “If you’re too lazy to cook or something you just go to the store and get like…most of the time something unhealthy.”
Mexican: “If you hang out with your friends and you are hungry, and you have three dollars, it’s easy to just go to Taco Bell or something.”
Mexican: “[The kids] see a cantaloupe and instead of slicing and eating it, they would rather get something easier, […] opening a bag of chips and eat that instead.”
Somali: “If you parents are lazy to cook food, they will give you money so you can go grab something.”
   Mexican: “[When] you are going to McDonalds you are obviously not getting a salad, you are getting a hamburger.”