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Students discuss varying eating habits around the world

From home-cooked meals to fast food, people will eat whatever they find satisfying. Just because something is satisfyingly tasty doesn't mean people can eat endless amounts of it.

Eating habits in the United States differ from those in other countries when it comes to portion sizes, eating times and the type of cuisine.

Sophomore Nikki Leon, who grew up in Detroit since the age of four, was born in Mexico and visits there every year with her family. She and her family have an ongoing joke that they talk about while down there.

"My family thinks if I don't have four tortillas when eating then something is wrong with me," she said.

Leon said the meals in Mexico are larger and unhealthier compared to here in the U.S. She said while people in the U.S. tend to eat fruits and cereal for breakfast, people in Mexico eat sweet bread and sweet milk for breakfast and big, fried, greasy lunch and dinner meals.

"I think the unhealthiness has to do the poverty level in Mexico," Leon said. "Some people don't have access to the healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables because they tend to be more expensive."

Mount Pleasant senior Ping Los said there are cultural dining differences between the U.S. and China, where he is originally from.

"Generally, it’s serve yourself buffet-style in terms of getting food," he said. "Everyone sits at the table with two main dishes in the middle and then people grab what they need."

Los said it is something he doesn't see very often in American culture because everyone instead has their own plate.

His mother does all the cooking back home, making traditional Chinese meals. Los said he doesn't see American food at home very often based on personal preference.

"She tries to stick to Chinese food because it's easier," he said. "A lot of stir-fried dishes with vegetables, steamed fish and rice."

Xing Lv, a graduate student from China, also noticed dining differences as well.

"There are smaller portion sizes there than here," he said. "I was actually pretty surprised when I first came here and I saw the food at Subway – it was huge."

Another difference in eating habits is the type of food consumed and the reasoning behind it. Fatimah Alramadhan, a freshman from Saudi Arabia, said in her culture they follow eating "halal" food, which means food that is permissible to eat under Islamic Shari?ah.

"In every city there is one place for halal," Alramadhan said. "It's the process of cutting a type of meat that comes from a cow or chicken"