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July 29, 2010

Assessing the Americans eating habits

I am British, my husband is American and we have lived together in the States for a year. During that time I have obviously been privy to the eating habits of the Americans and I have found them very distinct to those of the British and Europeans.

Let me just start by saying that I adore the diversity and accessibility of food in America. You can seemingly purchase any type of food you want at any time of the day. You never have to wander far before you come upon a diner, restaurant or twenty-four hour shop.

The problem is, however, that many of these restaurants are McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger Kings, Taco Bells, Captain D’s, Dairy Queens, Krystal’s- the list goes on. In Europe you won’t find half as many fast-food restaurants and I am sure this is why 67% of Americans are overweight- there is temptation on every corner.

Further to this, portion sizes in restaurants such as McDonalds are much bigger than in Europe. For a start super-size is an American fad and the Europeans version of large is a medium over here. And, of course, it never fails to amaze me what a huge plate of food I am presented with when eating out. Granted, you are not really expected to devour it all in one sitting but take it home with you for left-over’s. Nonetheless, a lot of people when faced with a big serving will still eat much more than they should.

Additionally, in a recent study conducted, it was stated that the average American family eat out twice a week. This is not usually a sit down meal however but rather a dash through the nearest drive-thru for the sake of convenience. The USA has many more drive-thru’s then Europe and eating out, for my family at least, was a rare treat. It wasn’t often though that we indulged in junk-food outlets; that rare meal out would be at a privately owned Italian or French restaurant. And indeed, in Britain, pub meals are very popular.

But let us move on from the issue of junk food; for it is one that is ceaselessly exasperated over and the majority of Americans do not need reminding about the vast quantity of fast-food consumed in this country.

From my observations living in the States I have noticed that Americans tend to eat earlier than most Europeans. They can sit down to lunch as early as 11am and the evening meal is often eaten at 5 or 6pm. Europeans, on the whole, eat later. I was certainly accustomed to having my lunch break at 1pm and my dinner at 7pm. Eating earlier is a habit I enjoy though

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