As a nation, Australia is endowed with good health and one of the most diverse, nutritious and attractive food supplies in the world. Australian society generally is provided with an abundant, safe and affordable food supply that has developed to incorporate an increasing diversity of experiences and tastes. Teenage years or adolescence is an important growth and development period which has involvement for future nutrition status and food consumption habits. While there is evidence that food intake patterns are established before adolescence, they may also change essentially during adolescence and these modified food patterns, if unhealthy, are likely to influence health and disease risk in later life. Its purpose is to understand the Australian cuisine with respect to its popular main dishes. This study sought to evaluate the consumption patterns of Australian main dishes among adolescents, by age, gender and of residence. This attempts to assess the popularity of their traditional dishes among teenagers of the present day and how often they consume these. This also discusses how economic, nutrition, environmental and social factors affect current food consumption.
Background of the Study
Australia is one of seven continents and constitutes most of the Pacific region, both in terms of size and population. The Pacific region consists of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific island nations. The culture, history and food of each country within the Pacific region are influenced by both its Indigenous people and those people who have migrated from other countries around the world. For over 40,000 years, Australia’s cuisine was derived from its Indigenous foods, with the Indigenous people leading a nomadic lifestyle as hunters and gatherers, moving from place to place and finding food as they went. For more than 200 years, influences from countries and cultures around the world have broadened Australia’s cuisine: contemporary cuisine reflects this diversity of influence and embraces a wide range of new foods, tastes and products. Many foods are native to Australia; for example, it is estimated that there are more than 5000 different bush foods plant species in Australia. Prior to European settlement, Indigenous Australians were a healthy people who consumed a secure and diverse range of foods, including fruits, nuts, roots, vegetables, meats and fish. Indigenous Australians lived in a variety of environments—tropical coast, rainforest, woodlands, open scrub, alpine mountains and deserts—and would therefore eat according to what was available in each area and the seasons. European settlers had a major influence on the diets of modern Australians. Since many of the native foods were foreign and challenging to European tastes—though some early settlers hunted native mammals because of curiosity or necessity—most endeavored to grow their own crops and raise their own animals. European settlers brought their own foods to Australia, such as flour and beef. Flour was a staple ingredient of the diets at the time; for instance, it was used to make bread and damper. Meat consumed was beef, pork or mutton. It was usually salted or dried to preserve it as there was no refrigeration. Salt was therefore extremely valued because of its ability to preserve meat or be used as a flavoring. The staple drink was tea. Early European settlers in Australia struggled to cultivate a healthy existence as many of the foods, crops and animals brought with them from England did not either survive the journey or suit the conditions and climate of the new land. Had they been more aware of the native foods discovered by Indigenous Australians over thousands of years, they may not have struggled so much in the early days. Today, Australians are more aware of Indigenous foods, also referred to by some people as bush foods. The food customs of the...