This is most definitely an unpopular opinion, but I believe that Instagram is the worst thing to happen to food. Instagram has made us want to post images that make us look like we are living a glamorous life (which is super unhealthy), and this has now bled into making us want to portray our diet as glamorous too. Specifically, Instagram has made us care more about food being pretty instead of food being good.

The "Do It for the Caption" Dilemma

Emma Noyes

Instagram has made it so that people are now eating or dining out for the sake of the perfect caption. When I go out to scope out a new restaurant or when I am out for a happy hour with friends, I see more and more people spending most of their dining experience editing a photo or crafting the "best caption."

This is sad to see for two reasons. One, people are not interacting with each other anymore because they are only interacting with Instagram. It is a tragedy that people are making plans with each other to not hang out but to instead help each other come up with the best possible food pun. Two, people are also not really paying attention to their food. They are so focused on the caption, that I highly doubt any of these people know what flavors were present in their meal. 

"Pretty" Food Vs. "Good Food"

cafe, caffeine, energy, Drink, hot, Cold, Winter, Fall, Pretty, plate, mug, Blue, White, Brown, milk, foam, cream, coffee, latte
Katie Kasperson

Moving on—Instagram has made us care more about things being aesthetically pleasing instead of being good. Now don't get me wrong, good food can be pretty, but I am referencing more like excessively elaborate acai bowls or paninis. I see so many people paying more for coffees that are pretty to photograph instead of actually paying for a good cup of coffee.

I don't want this to come across as a huge generalization though. My grievances are with those who would rather go to a restaurant that capitalizes on having a snazzy menu and background that can be Snapped or posted on the 'Gram, but the food is at best mediocre and the prices are outrageous (think Founding Farmers, for my DC locals). Instagram has allowed these types of restaurants to succeed, at the price of hole-in-the-wall, local places that have better food going out of business.

But What About Foodstagrams?

Oh, foodstagrams... My opinion on foodstagrams is mixed. I appreciate how foodstagrams have made society care more about food. Because of foodstagrams and platforms like Tasty have helped people realize they can cook! Foodstagrams and good food can overlap. 

My critique for foodstagrams, however, is that we need to be aware of how they impact us. Are these accounts impacting your decision to buy food that is trendy? Do you find yourself paying the extra penny for something that is pretty or in on a foodstagram? Or do you take the extra step to make sure you are consuming food that is actually good, authentic, and not impacted by society's relentless validation from social media?

Eating for Real, Not for Likes

Not everyone is a victim of living life for the 'Gram, but Instagram has changed how we market businesses, products, and ourselves. We want to make people think we are not only living a glamorous life but that we are also eating glamorously. However, we still can choose to eat better food, in better places and actually, dine with our friends.

wine, alcohol, date
Meghan Tocci

I'll leave you with this closing request: reflect on whether or not you choose food or restaurants that are pretty instead of good. Do you pick places or do things solely for the caption you could pair with it? Or to increase your social media "clout?" If so, then next time you make brunch or dinner plans with others, I ask that you put your phone away and ask your friend/significant other/ family- "How are you?"

You might just be surprised how much more enjoyable a brunch with your pals or how much tastier food is when Instagram is not your third wheel.