Photographer Gregg Segal has snapped pictures of kids from around the world, surrounded by the food they eat. These are the fascinating diets of children from different cultures.
If you have children, you’ll probably know how difficult it is to get them to eat whatever you want them to eat. You might carefully disguise those vegetables in a spaghetti bolognese, but you can bet they’ll find them and pick them out. Children’s diets are complex enough as it is, but have you ever considered what differences there are between cultures? Photographer Gregg Segal was fascinated by what children from all around the world ate, so he made it his mission to document their different diets.
Over the course of three years, Segal has been to nine different countries and taken photos of children from a range of different cultures. However, there was a twist… They were surrounded by the food they eat regularly! He then put all of his findings into a book called ‘Daily Bread: What Kids Eat Around the World,’ explaining that he focused on children as our eating habits “start young.” Here’s an interesting insight into kids’ diets from around the world – how does yours compare?
Upper Xingu Region of Mato Grosso in Brazil
Meet Kawakanih Yawalapiti, who was nine years old when Gregg Segal took her photo back in August 2018. This young girl is a part of the Yawalapiti tribe who live in the Xingu National Park, a preserve in the Amazonian Basin of Brazil. Kawakanih is surrounded by her diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, plus a lot of fish!
She explained to the photographer that it takes her just five minutes to fish for her own dinner – so when she’s hungry, she just goes to the river with her net! She also makes and eats her own tapioca.
Chembur in Mumbai, India
At the time of photographing (March 2017), Anchal Sahani was 10 years old and more than happy to show off her diet. Hailing from a suburb of Mumbai, where she lives in a tin shack with her two siblings and parents, Anchal explained that her father makes less than $5 a day.
This small amount is just enough for the family to live on, with her mother preparing vegetable curries, lentils, and roti for their meals. What about the chocolate wrappers, though? Well, apparently Anchal likes to collect colorful empty wrappers on her walk around the neighborhood. However, the chocolate itself would be a luxury for the family.
Brasilia in Brazil
This is little Davi Riberio de Jesus, who was 12 when his photo was taken back in August 2018. Living in a slum on the edge of a vast garbage-dump – one of the biggest in Latin America – he shares a one-room home with his step-mom, dad, and three siblings!
Most days, the de Jesus family will eat beans and rice, with a little pork sometimes. Even though he’s only young, Davi Riberio de Jesus is proud of the fact he can cook his own meals, including fried eggs and pasta. The family also sometimes indulge in sweet treats, like popcorn!
Vão De Almas in Goiás, Brazil
Yet another young man from Brazil, this time it’s Ademilson Francisco dos Santos who was 11 years old when his photo was taken. He lives with his family in Vão De Almas, which is a small community around 200 km from the nearest town!
They have no running water, no electricity, and live as much off the land as possible. Ademilson feasts on homegrown crops, native fruits, and a brown root called Manihot, which is a staple of the community’s diet. Those who farm in the area do so without any machinery or chemicals, meaning that everything is as nature intended.
Dakar in Senegal
Meissa Ndiaye was 11 when Gregg Segal took his photo back in August 2017. Hailing from a treeless and sandy part of Dakar in Senegal, Meissa lives with his mom, dad, and brother in a single room. He has big dreams of becoming a professional soccer player and wishes his family would move to France so that they could earn more money.
His diet consists of mainly French bread, filled with peas, fried potatoes, or spaghetti. Once or twice a week, the family treats themselves to a takeout. Meissa also loves to eat goat meat and sweet foods, like porridge.
Hank Segal in California, USA
While it may be easy to assume what the typical American child’s diet is like, that certainly isn’t the case with Hank Segal! This photo was taken when he was just eight years old, although it’s one of the earliest pictures in the collection – hailing back to 2016.
He’s surrounded by an eclectic mix of food, a lot of which is parents grow at home. They grow their own fruit and vegetables, including yams, zucchini, raspberries, and pomegranates. Hank admits that he has an adventurous palette and is happy to try new things. This is certainly obvious by the looks of his diet!
Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia
Beryl Oh Jynn, who was eight when she had her photo taken back in 2017, lives in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Living a fairly typical life in a quiet condo with her mom, dad, and two brothers, it seems as though Beryl has a pretty varied diet that covers all the bases.
Her favorite meal is spaghetti and carbonara, but she refuses to eat anything with ginger in it. She also grows her own spinach and bok choy on the balcony. Beryl’s parents are quite strict when it comes to sodas, as she’s not allowed to touch the sugary stuff!
Tambacounda in Dakar, Senegal
This photo was taken back in August 2017, of Sira Cissokho who was 11 at the time. Unfortunately, this little one admits that she does sometimes go hungry as they don’t always have enough food to eat. Sira’s family grows most of their own food to eat, including peanuts and millet.
She uses the millet to make something called Ngalakh, which is a traditional porridge-like dish in Senegal. When it’s a special occasion, her mom will cook up her favorite meal of chicken. As you can see, much of the food is quite plain and almost beige in color.
Nice in France
With a fashion designer as a mother and restauranter as a father, Rosalie Durand has certainly combined her love of both in her photo. It was taken back in August 2017, when she was 10 years old, and shows quite a rich and varied diet.
Rosalie explained that her father has taught her to make things crepes and salads. She also likes to eat quite healthily, including plenty of fresh fish but draws the line at spinach and cucumber. Rosalie’s favorite dish is lentils with sausage, which her father taught her to make. There are also some (but not a lot) of processed foods in this photo.
Mumbai in India
Adveeta Venkatesh was 10 years old when her photo was taken by Gregg Segal back in March 2017. She lives in a reasonably spacious flat in Mumbai, along with her grandmother, mother, and father – she’s an only child.
Adveeta is a vegetarian and was a self-confessed picky eater up until a few years ago, but she now has a passion for South Indian food. However, when her father saw all of the junk food in her diet, he was quite shocked. He told the photographer that he didn’t realize she was “eating all that junk” and vowed to talk to her mother about it.
Hamburg in Germany
In this photo, seemingly dominated by grapes, tomatoes, and cherries is June Grosser. She was eight when her picture was taken in 2017, and seems to have a pretty hilarious attitude. Her mom is a fashion photographer, however, so perhaps she’s learned some tips from the models along the way!
Her favorite food is schnitzel, which is a traditional German dish, but she doesn’t like curry or truffles. Her diet seems quite normal for someone living in the Western world, with a mixture of fruit, vegetables, and processed items. This appears to be a good example of a child who enjoys a balanced and varied diet – with the odd sweet treat here and there.
Glendale in California, USA
This is another one of Gregg Segal’s first photos for the project, taken back in January 2016. It features Leona “Nona” Del Grosso Sands, who was six years old in the picture. Even though she’s very young, she can make her own pancakes and oatmeal, and even fed her mom when she got sick.
She also grows her own tomatoes and is happy to eat every color of the rainbow in her diet. However, she also admits that she has more than just a sweet tooth – it’s more “sugar teeth” as the lollipop in her mouth attests to.
Catania in Italy
When Andrea Testa had his photo taken, back in August 2017, he was just nine years old. Here he is surrounded by a wide variety of foods, including some traditional Italian dishes such as pizza. Although, do we spot a pizza with fries on it there?!
There is also plenty of pasta, which is again very Italian. Andrea says that his favorite dish is pasta carbonara but that he will not eat cauliflower at all. He lives with his father, who is an officer in the Italian Army, along with his mom and younger sister. Andrea’s diet is pretty much textbook Italy!
Mirdif in Dubai, UAE
Yusuf Abdullah Al Muhairi hails from Mirdif in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he lives with his single mom. He was nine when he had his photo taken for the project, back in August 2018. His mother moved to Dubai from Ireland, where she pursued her dream of working as a chocolatier and pastry chef.
Unsurprisingly, Yusuf likes his mom’s cooking, although we definitely expected to see more pastries and chocolate in his diet. This little guy can also make his own scrambled eggs and toast, so he likes to show off his cooking skills every now and then.
Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia
This brother and sister duo live in a public housing project in Bukit Jalil, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Mierra Sri Varrsha (left) was eight when this photo was taken, and her brother, Tharkish Sri Ganesh (right) was ten.
The pair like to think they eat a varied diet, although they are treated to takeout at places like KFC or Pizza Hut at the weekends. Mierra explained that her mom cooks foods that don’t have preservatives or other nasties in them but believes she could probably cut out more processed food after looking at the photo. That being said, she does love candy!
Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia
While there may be a lot of children in this photography project from Kuala Lumpur, it seems as though each of them have very different diets. Just look at Siti Khaliesah Nataliea Muhamad Khairizal, who was nine when her photo was taken in March 2017. There is a lot more processed food in this little girl’s diet than some of the others from the same place!
However, she has a favorite dish that seems to be the most popular out of all the kids – pasta and carbonara! She also loves the smell of instant noodles. Her mom does all of the cooking, but it looks like she’s allowed a few treats here and there… Including McDonald’s breakfast!
Hamburg in Germany
Greta Moeller was seven years old when she had her photo taken by Gregg, back in August 2017. Hailing from Hamburg in Germany, she lives with her mom and younger sister, but she also spends quite a lot of time with her grandparents.
On the way to their house is a chestnut tree, so Greta and her sister forage for chestnuts. She admits that her favorite food is fish sticks, along with mashed potato. While her diet is relatively varied, there also appears to be quite a lot of processed food in there – particularly bread, cookies, and donuts.
Dakar in Senegal
While we’ve already seen a couple of children from Dakar in Senegal, Frank Fadel Agbomenou has had a very different upbringing from the others. He lives in a posh neighborhood in an apartment with his dad and older brother.
Frank was eight when he had his photo taken in 2017, and his family have their very own cook. There’s a peanut tree on the terrace that he likes to collect the nuts from and eat. His family cook prepares fish just how he likes it, and Frank admits that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t eat really. The difference in class is quite apparent by this little one’s diet.
Long Beach in California, USA
Isaiah Dedrick from California was 16 when he had his photo taken, back in March 2016 – again, one of the earliest in the project. He lives with his mom and grandmother and would love to have enough space for a yard to grow fruit and veg in when he grows up.
While his mom doesn’t let him drink soda, he looked at his photo and decided that he wanted to cut out all of the snack and junk food from his diet. Isaiah also explained that he wished no one would ever have to go hungry in the world!
Altadena in California, USA
This dapper looking kid is Cooper Norman, who was ten when he had his photo taken in 2016. When he was younger, he discovered a love for bow ties, which is why he wears them whenever he has a guitar recital (or photoshoot).
He prides himself on his manners and his sophisticated way of dressing. Cooper admits that he is an adventurous eater, but that he loves Thai food the most. His mom is from Thailand, and he wishes he had a teleporter to visit that side of the family more often. His diet certainly looks more like what you’d expect from a typical American kid!
Hamburg in Germany
If you’re wondering why this little one is pictured in bed, it’s because he admits he loves eating breakfast in bed! John Hintze was seven when this photo was taken in August 2017, and he certainly wasn’t afraid to show off his love for getting crumbs on the sheets.
His parents don’t mind pandering to his desires either, as they bring him Musili and toast on a tray every morning. John explained that he loves orange Fanta but that he’s only allowed to drink it on the weekends. Some of his other favorite dishes include a roast dinner cooked by his grandma and a Chinese cashew curry.
Altadena in California, USA
Meet Alexandra (left) and Jessica (right) Lewis, sisters from Altadena in California. They had their photo taken back in 2016 when they were nine and eight respectively. Despite having a yard filled with fresh fruit trees and grapevines, it seems as though the majority of their diet is quite heavily processed.
They also have chickens at home, so eat their eggs pretty much every day. Jessica loves candy but hates chocolate, whereas Alexandra loves mac and cheese but hates Brussel sprouts. The oldest sister has admitted she can make pizza rolls, quesadillas, and Hot Pockets all by herself!
Belpasso in Sicily
Paolo Mendolaro was nine when his photo was taken in 2017, but he admitted that his diet isn’t quite right! In fact, the week he had to keep a food diary was the same week him and his family had spent a lot of time at the beach, so they ate a lot more takeout than usual.
However, he usually enjoys homemade meals such as traditional Sicilian Cannoli and Pasta Alla Norma – all very typical dishes for the area. However, at least once a week, the family enjoy going out for pizza, which is one of Paolo’s favorite dishes. Of course, growing up in the home of pizza probably helps.
Brasilia in Brazil
While we may have already seen a range of diets from Brazil, this one appears to be very different! This is Henrico Valias Sant`anna de Souza Dantas who was ten when his photo was taken in 2018. He lives in a well-to-do suburb of Brasilia with his mom and two siblings, but his grandmother and maid also pitch in with the cooking.
This diet is absolutely packed full of snacks and processed food, and Henrico admits that he likes to come up with his own snacks – one of which is steak covered in banana! He also loves anything with Nutella and buttered toast covered in Nescau powder.
Pasadena in California, USA
This is little Daria Joy Cullen, who was six when her photo was taken in 2016. If you’re worried about the lack of fruit and vegetables in this diet, it’s because she refuses to eat any! In fact, even her pediatrician has admitted they are concerned with her low weight and diet that is missing essential vitamins and nutrients.
Her favorite foods include chocolate and candy (unsurprisingly), along with bacon and pasta. Even as a toddler, Daria would refuse to eat things like apple sauce or mashed banana, and her hatred of fruit and veg has only got worse from there.