The government, nutritionists, doctors, and dietitians implore us to eat 5 servings of vegetables a day. Considering that a serving is only half a cup, a decent-sized side of vegetables and a big salad does it for the day.
But are we eating that consistently?
For the average American child, 25% of their intake of vegetables consists of french fries or potato chips. Adults eat an average of 4 servings of french fries per week. A small (are there any small servings still out there?) serving of french fries carries 187 calories - a bag a day is over 68,000 calories a year, almost 20 pounds of extra weight!
Is it any wonder that 15% of our children are obese and that the percentage is growing all the time?
For all the diet and health information that daily blares from our radios, televisions, and Internet portals, we are drowning in our own fat. We spend half our family food budget on eating out, primarily at fast food outlets, where the true nutritional and caloric values of the offerings require the skill of a Sherlock Holmes to uncover.
Think what it could do for our collective waistlines if we simply deleted french fries from our diet and substituted real, live vegetables (a rare commodity in the fast food industry). We may yet be saved by the lowly green bean.
We can try to get the word out but the U. S. Department of Agriculture has only two million a year to spend on the cause and the food advertisers spend forty billion a year to convince us otherwise.
Oh well, maybe we didn't want to be slim anyway.
Virginia Bola is a licensed psychologist and an admitted diet fanatic. She specializes in therapeutic reframing and the effects of attitudes and motivation on individual goals. The author of The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a free ezine, The Worker's Edge, she recently published a psychologically-based weight control e-workbook, "Diet with an Attitude" which develops mental skills towards the goal of permanent weight control.
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