It’s no surprise that our eating habits have changed over the years. Meals used to be simple, and eating out used to be a big deal. In the 50s, you were probably lucky if you ate out once a week. Even our beverage habits have changed. Having a soda use to mean leaving the house and going to the soda shop, not grabbing a can of coke in the fridge. Also, most of our desserts were homemade, not store bought. Having ice cream at my grandparent’s house was an event. We’d all take turns turning the crank on an ice cream machine to churn the ice cream into perfection from the simplest ingredients. Now people turn down ice cream unless it has chopped up candy bars and chocolate syrup swirled in.
Unfortunately, food is all about entertainment and convenience, and less about nutrition and spending quality time with the family. Variety is a demand and eating out on the go is a daily ritual for many.
In addition, we not only eat more, we physically do less. Adults spend more time in the chair in front of a computer for work and less time doing physical work. Kids spend more time on computers too. They play computerized games instead of doing traditional activities like jumping on the trampoline, playing ball, riding bicycles and playing chase.
The Dinner Table is Empty
Dining room tables have become more of a decorative piece of furniture than a place the family gathers to eat. Why? Because the whole American lifestyle has changed. Families live fast-paced lives, more women are working, and high calorie food is more accessible to nearly everybody. Here are some other reasons why America is continuing to fatten up.
- Families dine in a hurry
- Eating out is the norm
- Sweets are no longer limited to dessert after dinner
- Weekly treats are now daily habits
- Soda is a staple beverage
- Families eat dinner in front of the TV
- Furniture companies enable TV snacking, by offering built-in cup holders for the couch
- Companies make fancier, tastier and flashier pre-packaged snacks
- People have more access to high-calorie gourmet recipes, via the web, to cook like a chef
- There are more ready-to-eat products to choose from
- Restaurant chains use bigger portion sizes to attract customers
Eat Like It’s 1950
Maybe we should eat like it’s 1950 again. Bring the family back to the table, limit pre-packaged foods, save sodas for the weekends only, and cut back on eating out. Get more creative with activities and less creative in the kitchen. When it comes to fitness, there is something to say about going back to the simple life. Simple eating and living may result in a slimmer, healthier household.
Biggie Size Me
Just portion size alone has gone through quite a transformation over the years. No wonder Americans are getting bigger by the minute. Look at this graph from Making Health Easier that really puts things into perspective.
SHOW & TELL
What changes have you noticed over your lifetime?