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The American Diet in 1 Chart

Samantha 2012/06/15 18:12:54
When I was a kid in the 1970s and early '80s, processed food was everywhere. I remember TV dinners, fish sticks, Tater Tots, Hamburger Helper, canned pear halves in sugar goo, and more. And that was in my house, where my mom used processed food to supplement her habit of cooking from scratch two or three times a weeks.

In at least one friend's house, heat-and-serve fare seemed to have replaced cooking altogether, starting with an unholy (although quite coveted by me at the time) frozen pancake-and-sausage breakfast product made by Jimmy Dean.

Since then, we've seen the explosion of farmers markets, CSAs, cooking shows, and celebrity chefs. Cooking from scratch is cool, and processed food is on the way out. Right? Turns out, processed food is more popular than ever. Check out this chart, part of a package of fascinating ones from NPR's Planet Money team, generated from Bureau of Labor Statistics data, on how we spend our grocery dollars:

American Diet

Read More: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/06/am...

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  • ashdragon88 2012/06/15 18:34:04
    ashdragon88
    In my opinion it has to do with how the American family household has changed over the last 20 years. With times being what you are you have an increased number of households where both parents work and with the divorce rates being what they are you have increased one-parent families/weekend guardians, not to mention with the econmy being what it is these days pretty much every average American is on a tight budget. Unfortunately processed foods are cheap, convient and available everywhere. You said you remeber these sorts of foods being used in place of scratch cooking 2 to 3 times a week ... probably when there were after school activities or whatnot. These days its probably more like 5-7 days a week that the average family opts for the quick and easy dinner simply because its just that ... quick and easy. I'll admit that I'm guilty of throwing in a frozen mac and cheese or pizza because I come home too tired from work to be motivated to cook for myself, and being a single person living alone its easy to go with the cheap and quick.

    I also believe it has to do with large supermarket chains and food companies attempt to keep a grip on their customers. I can easly feed myself for a week on maybe $40 worth of groceries if I go with the cheap, easy processed foods. The weeks I...
    In my opinion it has to do with how the American family household has changed over the last 20 years. With times being what you are you have an increased number of households where both parents work and with the divorce rates being what they are you have increased one-parent families/weekend guardians, not to mention with the econmy being what it is these days pretty much every average American is on a tight budget. Unfortunately processed foods are cheap, convient and available everywhere. You said you remeber these sorts of foods being used in place of scratch cooking 2 to 3 times a week ... probably when there were after school activities or whatnot. These days its probably more like 5-7 days a week that the average family opts for the quick and easy dinner simply because its just that ... quick and easy. I'll admit that I'm guilty of throwing in a frozen mac and cheese or pizza because I come home too tired from work to be motivated to cook for myself, and being a single person living alone its easy to go with the cheap and quick.

    I also believe it has to do with large supermarket chains and food companies attempt to keep a grip on their customers. I can easly feed myself for a week on maybe $40 worth of groceries if I go with the cheap, easy processed foods. The weeks I make the effort to cook everything from scratch it can cost me over $100 easily. Farmers markets and local butchers are usually cheaper and fresher than the produce and meat you can get at the super market but usually arent as conviently located as the average supermarket chain.
    (more)
  • Samantha ashdrag... 2012/06/15 19:15:16
    Samantha
    I was raised by my grandparents - my parents died when I was six years old - and they always prepared healthy meals. I've never eaten at, for example, a MacDonald's or Burger King. The food isn't good but, as you mentioned, it's cheap. It's interesting the most unhealthy food, in the United States, is sold so cheaply.
  • ashdrag... Samantha 2012/06/15 19:23:47
    ashdragon88
    Yes, it is interesting. I fear I'm becoming a conspiracy theorist as I get older (Hopefully I don't end up on a sidewalk in NYC with a cardboard sign and tinfoil on my head in 20 years screaming about the goverment and its mind control) but I do believe its part of how the richer population controls the poorer populations.
  • Samantha ashdrag... 2012/06/15 19:26:06
    Samantha
    +1
    The 1% definitely controls the political agenda.

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