America's Eating Habits: Are They Getting Better?

There's still plenty of room for improvement, but a recent survey reveals some hopeful trends in our eating habits. Nutrition Diva takes a closer look.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
3-minute read
Episode #301

In last week's show, I talked about the ways in which my own eating habits have evolved over the six years since I began doing the Nutrition Diva podcast. This week, I'd like to highlight some hopeful findings from a new survey about America's eating habits. The survey of 1,000 people from various regions of the country was conducted by Parade Magazine, who then teamed up with the NPD group to analyze the results in view of historical data..

What We're Eating: The Bad News

Of course there were still lots of things in this survey to wring one's hands over.

  • Twenty-eight percent of our elementary school children, for example, still find a juice box in their lunchbox every day. Moms! Dads! Please don't think that fruit juice makes that lunch healthier. It just establishes a lifelong habit of drinking sugary beverages. If your kid needs the calories, they should drink milk or non-dairy milk with meals. If they don't, they should drink water. (Same goes for you parents, by the way.)

See also: How healthy is 100% fruit juice, really?

  • We're also still eating way too much fast food. Eight out of 10 meals eaten in restaurants are eaten at fast food joints. That might explain why French fries and pizza sauce are the two most commonly consumed "vegetables" in America. 

See also: Eating Out

  • We still believe that dieting works. Four in ten of us went on a diet sometime during the past year. Chances are those same 40% will go on a diet next year, too. Because for the vast majority of people, dieting doesn't actually lead to lasting weight loss.

See also: How to Lose Weight Without Dieting

But, call me a Pollyana: I also saw some encouraging trends in this survey. Although we might not be where we should be, we're at least moving in the right direction. And, as I've said in the past, no matter where you're starting with your diet, any step in the right direction is a step worth taking.

See also: How to Overhaul Your Diet


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.