Freshen up!

Freshen up!

June 24th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

A common ritual is showing Americans to be making poor choices, despite all the information steering us in the opposite direction.

Americans' spending habits in the grocery aisles have been studied, comparing 1982 and 2012 buying trends. We're buying convenience rather than health, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

High-calorie convenience foods that include frozen dinners, canned soups and snacks have become the leading food group, attracting almost one quarter of every dollar spent in 2012 so far, in contrast to just over 11 cents per dollar for the same foods in 1982.

In 1982, shoppers spent 31.3 percent of their grocery total on meats, 14.5 percent on fruits and vegetables, 13.2 percent on grains and baked goods, and 13.2 percent for dairy products. Processed foods and sweets trailed at 11.6 percent.

Our basket is varied significantly in 2012, with the shift from fresh foods from the meat department and the produce aisle and the rise of convenient, processed foods and sweets.

We've gone from the traditional cornucopia of brightly colored fresh fruits and vegetables, hearty portions of grains and a modest serving of meat to a freezer full of boxes of film-covered containers and a pantry full of cellophane and pop-tops.

Let's prove we don't need a nanny state to monitor our nutrition ... freshen up!