Photographer Gregg Segal aims to shed light on children's nutrition, class, and culture with his new book Daily Bread.

By Maressa Brown

June 28, 2019

In America, parents frequently fear that kids are eating too much sugar, being targeted by fast food companies, and suffering from food allergies. While these issues certainly affect kids in other countries, we know that kids' diets look very different in Sicily than they do in Mumbai—or Los Angeles or Nice or Kuala Lumpur. Those differences are just a piece of what photographer Gregg Segal aimed to showcase in his new 120-page book, Daily Bread: What Kids Eat Around the World, which features portraits of children alongside the foods they had eaten over the course of a week.

Segal shared with MyModernMet.com that he was inspired to do this series after working on another that was focused on consumption and waste called 7 Days of Garbage. That project was aimed at shedding light on "the problem of consumption and waste." It inspired him to ask, "What if we keep a journal of everything we eat and drink for one week to bring our focus onto diet and take ownership of the foods we eat?"

He said he wanted to focus on kids' diets, because "eating habits start young, and if you don’t get it right when you’re 9 or 10, it’s going to be a lot harder when you’re older."

One of the eye-opening takeaways from the series: While kids from lower income families in the United States eat more processed snacks, because they're cheaper, the opposite is true in other countries. As MyModernMet.com points out in an interview with Segal, many lower-income cultures around the world have the healthiest diets, which focus more on fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meat.

Segal explained, "In Mumbai, it costs $13 for a medium Dominoes pizza, which is way beyond the means of most people." The photographer pointed to a girl in the series named Anchal, who "lives with her family in an 8 by 8-foot aluminum hut." Her dad earns less than $5 a day, and she eats "a wholesome diet of okra and cauliflower curries, lentils, and roti, which Anchal’s mother makes from scratch each day on a single kerosene burner." By comparison, a boy named Shraman "lives in a middle-class Mumbai hi-rise and eats very differently. His family’s extra income means he can afford Dominoes pizza, fried chicken, and treats like Snickers bars and Cadbury chocolate."

Here, several of the illuminating images from Daily Bread.

On his website, Segal concluded that the experience of shooting the series left him "encouraged to find regions and communities where slow food will never be displaced by junk food, where home cooked meals are the bedrock of family and culture, where love and pride are sensed in the aromas of broths, stews and curries."

Another finding that will hopefully be heartening for parents: their little ones' well-being is within their control. Segal explains, "When the hand that stirs the pot is mom or dad, grandma or grandma, kids are healthier."

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