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What is solitary food? Explanation of causes, problems, and solutions

In order to lead a healthy life, it is important not only to obtain nutrients from meals but also to enjoy meals together with others. With changes in household structures and diversification of lifestyles leading to an increase in people eating meals alone, how can we maintain our physical and mental health?
In this article, we will explain the causes and problems of eating alone, as well as how to solve them.

Soshoku is a solitary meal eaten alone

Soshoku means “lonely meal”. Eating alone without a family, or eating alone despite having a family.
Currently, the number of people who eat alone for various reasons is increasing, and the effects of eating alone on their minds and body are becoming a problem.

The current state of solitary eating

According to the 2017 Shokuiku White Paper compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, about 60% of the respondents live with their families and eat meals with them “almost every day”.
On the other hand, 11.0% of the respondents answered that they ate all meals by themselves “almost every day” and 4.3% answered that they “four to five days a week.” About 15% of solitary eaters eat all their daily meals alone. By age group, 26.0% of women in their 70s and 25.4% of men in their 20s reported eating alone “almost every day,” which is one in four people.

When asked about eating alone, most of the respondents said, “I don’t want to eat alone, but I can’t help it.” You can see that there are many people who are

cause of solitary eating

There are various causes behind the reality of eating alone, such as changes in social structure and environment. The following are the three main causes.

・Changes in household structure
There is an increase in the number of single-person households, including elderly people living alone, couple-only households, single-parent households, and other households that are forced to live alone.

・Family life becomes a night owl.
Parents come home late due to working parents, children come home late from cram school, classes, part-time jobs, club activities, etc., it became difficult to coordinate meals for the whole family.

・The diversification of food values
​​has changed from an era of eating to live to an era of satiety. has diversified meanings. People eat and want to eat differently, making it difficult for everyone to share a meal together.

7 “koshoku” that are increasing

So far, I have explained the meaning and current situation of eating alone.
It is said that there are several types of “koshoku,” which is attracting attention as a food-related problem, in addition to solitary eating. Here, we will explain seven typical “koshoku”, including the above-mentioned soshoku.

1 Eating Alone

“Soshoku” is, as mentioned above, “eating alone at a table where your family is absent, even though you do not want to.” Because there are few opportunities for communication, it is said that sociality and cooperativeness are difficult to develop and are easily lost. In addition, an imbalance in nutritional balance has also been pointed out.

two meals

Even if the family sits together around the dining table, each person eats something different. Unlike solitary eating, the person you communicate with is there, but you can’t share the taste, so it’s hard to spread the conversation.
Continuing to eat alone impairs coordination, increases likes and dislikes, and makes nutrition more likely to be biased.

3 Child food

“Koshoku” means eating only with children. Children tend to have irregular mealtimes because their parents come home late from work or are busy with cram schools, lessons, part-time jobs, club activities, etc. In addition to the impact on physical and mental development due to the collapse of nutritional balance, there are concerns about growing up without knowing eating manners, and increasing the risk of obesity due to strong likes and dislikes.

4 small meals

“Small meal” means eating less food. Small meals for children and young people lead to a lack of nutrients necessary for growth, causing a decline in physical strength and energy. In the elderly, malnutrition may lead to decreased physical function. People who do not have an appetite or who are on a diet with extremely low food intake should be careful.

5 fast food

If you only eat what you like and what is easy to pick up, the menu will become fixed. This is “solid food”. Since they eat the same food all the time, their likes and dislikes may not be improved, and their nutrition may be biased.

6 heavy diet

“Noshoku” refers to eating only strongly flavored foods. Continuing heavy eating will not develop a delicate sense of taste. Also, be careful not to take too much salt and sugar.

7 powdered food

Preferring to eat only breads and noodles made from flour is called “kona-shoku.” Powdered foods have a soft texture and can be swallowed without chewing too much, so chewing power is not developed. In addition, it is difficult to take side dishes such as vegetables because the stomach is swollen with only powdered foods.

The problem of eating alone

Among the seven “koshoku” mentioned above, solitary eating is particularly problematic. This is because eating alone can invite other to “co-eating”. Here, let’s sort out the problems of eating alone.

nutritional imbalance

According to the 2017 White Paper on Food Education, people who rarely eat alone have more opportunities to eat three main meals, main dishes, and side dishes than those who eat alone two days or more a week. I know my diet is well balanced. In addition, people who rarely eat alone are more likely to eat breakfast than those who eat alone two or more days a week.
An unbalanced diet can increase health risks, so be careful.

It leads to obesity, weight loss, and loss of physical strength in children

For growing children, diet is an important habit that holds the key to growth and development.
A study of infants (*1) and elementary school students (*2) found that the more often children eat meals with other people, such as family members, the more likely they are to have a well-balanced diet of staple food, main dish, and side dish. I know there is. In addition, among junior high school students, it has been revealed that children who eat less alone eat more diverse foods (*3).

On the other hand, due to lifestyle changes such as an increase in dual-income households and an increase in the number of people attending school, opportunities for families to eat dinner together are steadily decreasing.
As a result, obesity in childhood and extremely underweight in adolescence are on the rise, posing health risks, and there are also concerns about a serious decline in physical strength.

Also, we cannot ignore the fact that it can cause mental disorders. During adolescence, when adolescents are prone to anxiety and turmoil about the future, self-esteem may be low if they are unable to fully enjoy the sense of security and trust that comes from spending time with their families.

Poor communication skills

Eating has aspects as a social and cultural activity. Communication with others is one of them.
By eating while talking about their impressions of the meal, such as “It’s delicious” and “This seasoning is good”, and the events of the day that each member of the family experienced, they can improve their empathy, cooperativeness, listening skills, and conversational skills. Polished.

However, when eating alone, there is no one to communicate with, and it is not possible to develop that ability. As a result, a self-centered personality is formed, and it is possible that you will not be able to build good relationships with those around you when you go out into the world.

There is no opportunity to learn dining manners

When you were a child, your family probably taught you how to use chopsticks and how to say “itadakimasu” and “gochisousama deshita” while eating. The dining table surrounded by everyone is also a place to pass on the minimum required dining etiquette to the next generation.

Eating alone does not create that opportunity, so children may end up eating with stabbed or confused chopsticks, or eating with their elbows, without knowing that eating alone is bad manners. Growing up without proper etiquette can make the people you eat with uncomfortable and affect your interpersonal relationships.
In addition, the increase in such people will also cause the loss of traditional Japanese behavior.

How to solve the problem of eating alone

What can be done to solve the problem of eating alone? Here are five solutions you can implement immediately.

Prepare nutritionally balanced meals

The biggest problem with eating alone is that you eat only what you like or skip meals more often, resulting in a biased diet. Let’s improve the nutritional balance of meals to promote mental and physical development and live a healthy life.

Especially for children, it is necessary to have well-balanced nutrition for healthy growth and development. However, at the dining table of solitary children, the food is inevitably biased. Parents should be aware of the nutritional balance of their meals while they are unable to cook their own meals or buy side dishes to add side dishes.
It is important to pay attention to your child’s diet and arrange the table so that you can take in all the necessary nutrients evenly.

Spend less time cooking and cleaning up, and more time eating together

If you spend less time eating with your family and more time doing household chores, you can spend more time eating by spending less time cooking and cleaning up. Save time on cooking by buying side dishes and making only soup, using frozen foods and lunch boxes, and increasing the time you spend eating with your family.
It is also recommended to introduce convenient time-saving home appliances such as a dishwasher to reduce the time to clean up.

Make a conscious effort to eat with your family on holidays

On days when the whole family is off, make a conscious effort to set aside time for family gatherings. Each family has their own circumstances, such as “I want to sleep longer on my days off” and “I want to study for tests”, so I occasionally say “Let’s eat together on holidays” and “Breakfast from ◯ o’clock tomorrow”. It’s smoother if you call out.

eat breakfast together

In the evening, if your family members come home at different times due to overtime work, cram school, club activities, part-time jobs, club activities, etc., and if it is easier to coordinate family times in the morning, we recommend eating breakfast together. Try to get up a little earlier in the morning, change the order in which you get dressed, and try to get everyone together at the dining table.

take part in communal dining

In contrast to solitary eating, eating with someone is called kyoshoku. For people who live alone and find it difficult to have opportunities to eat together at home, try participating in dinner parties held by organizations you belong to (company, local community, etc.) or salons for the elderly.

For children who find it difficult to eat together at home, there is an increasing number of initiatives that provide opportunities for eating together, such as “children’s cafeterias,” where local residents take the lead in providing meals. If you have no choice but to eat alone with your child, participating in such a meal together is one of the solutions.

Frozen home-delivery lunch boxes are also useful because they easily provide nutritional balance.

In order to solve the imbalanced nutritional balance, which is a major problem of eating alone, it is necessary to take a variety of foods.

Nichirei Foods Direct’s “Kikubari GozenⓇ ” is a nutritionally balanced frozen delivery lunch box that uses more than 100g of vegetables on all menus under the supervision of a registered dietitian. You can enjoy a wide variety of meals with Japanese, Western, and Chinese main dishes. You can also order it online and send it to a family member who lives far away.

“Kikubari GozenⓇ ” can be eaten just by heating it in the microwave, and there is no need to clean up, so it is recommended when you don’t have time to shop, cook, or clean up. First-time users can also use a trial set with free shipping.

Solve the problem of eating alone and enjoy eating together

Unwanted solitary eating is bad for your mental and physical health. It would be nice if we could solve the problems caused by eating alone and increase opportunities to enjoy eating together, such as being conscious of eating together on holidays and participating in gatherings.
When you end up eating alone, or when you are too busy to make time to eat with your family, use frozen home delivery lunch boxes to easily have a nutritionally balanced meal.

What Causes Eating Alone?

A typical cause of eating alone is changes in household structure, such as an increase in single-person households, couple-only households, and single-parent households. Eating alone is also caused by the shift to nighttime lifestyles among family members and the diversification of values ​​regarding meals.

What is the problem with eating alone?

The problem with eating alone is that the nutritional balance of meals is disrupted, which adversely affects health. In addition, there are problems for children such as obesity and thinness, decreased physical strength, difficulty in developing communication skills, and lack of opportunities to learn eating manners.


Welcome to my blog. My name is Muhammad Hassaan. I am a blogger and have a knowledge of five years of blogging. I also belong to the field of health as a D pharmacy student. That's why I am running this health blog. I am very much interested to read articles on health and love to share information with other people and also get information from them. If you have any questions you can ask me through the contact us page. Thanks for Visiting us and Have a great day.

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