3 Squares a Day? Not So Much.

23 Nov

USA Today: Eat What I Want When I Want Trend

I read a very disturbing article in USA Today (linked above) the other day about America’s eating habits. It was only a few weeks ago that I read that if we keep going at our current rate, nearly 50% of America will be obese by 2030. I was having a hard time believing it. Then I read about our snacking culture in USA Today and completely understand why that will be true.

When I started to lose weight, one of the hardest habits I had to break was snacking. I kept munchies in my desk and nibbled all day. It took a few months, but I finally weaned myself off of snacking and got on a healthy track of eating 3 meals a day and an occasional snack if I were super hungry.

The article I read was entirely about how America doesn’t eat 3 meals a day anymore. We snack all day and eat weird food at weird times. The meals that are eaten really aren’t meals, but snacks like popcorn chicken or Special K bars. At McDonald’s, 20% of the cookies and apple pies are sold at breakfast because people use them to snack on. It’s considered completely normal now to skip meals and just eat random (mostly fast food) snacks and junk food all day.

According to the article, only 5% of all consumers eat three square meals a day. I was flabbergasted at this statistic. Do people really eat granola bars, yogurt cups, cookies, and popcorn chicken all day? Apparently so. All marketers for the major fast food corporations are now pushing towards new quick snack products that can be eaten in cars. McDonald’s is going to release McBites next year which is their version of popcorn chicken. IHOP is selling a Cup O’ Pancakes which is pancake batter baked in a paper cup and drizzled with toppings.

As I read this article, I became more and more horrified. This is what we’re eating? Portable food molded into cups for our cars that is so unbelievably processed you wonder what chemistry experiment you’re truly eating. Yes, I now have no problem believing that half of America will be obese by 2030. Even when I was overweight and I snacked, I still ate two normal meals a day. I tended to skip breakfast or make a Diet Pepsi and the occasional gas station donut breakfast, but I ate a normal lunch and normal dinner.

If they are going to market these snacks, the least they could do is find healthier options than pancakes in a cup or fried chicken. America is in deep trouble and this article made me realize it’s only going to get worse. There are a ton of simple, easy recipes out there that use fresh ingredients and make for great leftovers. Start using your stove top instead of your cup holder. Make your snacks pieces of fruit and nuts to give you energy throughout the day. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, but don’t forget lunch and dinner.

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