An Associated Press article this morning starts this way: Americans talk skinny but eat fat.
The article goes on to say that despite first lady Michelle Obama's crusade to slim down our overweight country, most people still order burgers and fries over more healthy choices. According to a survey last year by food-research firm Technomic, 47 percent of Americans say they want healthier menu options, but only 23 percent order those foods. In other words, a lot of us are hypocrites.
My first reaction is that I'm not surprised. We are an unhealthy country that is generally in denial of that fact. But there's a critical bit of information missing, which is how often these polled Americans eat out.
I'm not a health nut, but I choose fruits and veges over chips, and I exercise regularly. I try to maintain a healthy weight. My body mass index fluctuates between 20 and 21. But when I go out to eat, I never get the salad or the boiled chicken with rice. If the menu includes a big, juicy bacon cheeseburger with fries on the side, I'll probably order it. I eat out about once a month, though, so this is not a regular meal for me; it's a treat.
I'd like to think that's the case for most people. Especially in this economy, who can afford to eat at a restaurant or order fast food every day? Most people's problems probably surface when they eat junk food at home, too - when it's not a treat but a major part of their diet. When given a choice between, say, yogurt or a few handfuls of potato chips, they go for the chips.
Menu choices at restaurants are a problem. KFC's popular Double Down sandwich - bacon and cheese slapped between two pieces of fried chicken - has 610 calories and 37 grams of fat. Hardee's Thickburger has a gut-busting 1,170 calories and 83 grams of fat. But restaurants are not the only problem. Before we point too many fingers, let's all take a look at what's in the pantry and the fridge, too.