Nutrition Articles

Why a Fast-Food Nation Needs a Slow-Food Movement

Spend More Time in the Kitchen and at the Table

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Respect Food
While some folks say food is fuel, it's much more than that. It's a product of the earth, a valuable natural resource. Prepared with care and love, food is synonymous with community and family. So give food the respect it's due. Take time when you're eating. Savor the flavor and experience the texture. Eat without distraction from the TV or your computer. Research shows that when you eat mindfully, you're not just paying attention to what you eat, but you're enjoying it more and less likely to overeat.

Take Cues from the Slow Food Movement
Slow Food is working to shed its reputation as group for "foodies" who lust after black truffles and heirloom tomatoes. It advocates for "food that is good for [us], good for the people who grow it and good for the planet." Check out the website and look for a chapter in your area, which likely hosts cooking classes, supports farmers' markets and teaches kids about healthy eating.

Shop Your Farmers Market
Local farmers markets are an optimal source for fresh and seasonal foods. Price-comparison studies conducted through Seattle University and an association of organic farmers in Vermont both found that farmers market produce was less expensive in many categories than both organic and conventional produce sold in grocery stores. (Eggs were one notable exception, because small farmers have higher production costs than large poultry producers.) Even better, buying local produce means you're getting goods that have traveled a short distance from farm to market.

Be Mindful of What You Put in the Shopping Cart
Read labels to avoid highly processed ingredients like corn syrup and white flour, salt, and other additives and preservatives. Shop the perimeter of the grocery first, picking up produce, fresh meat and low-fat dairy before adding cereal bars, cookies and prepared foods (if you add them at all). Switch from soda (including diet) to zero-calorie flavored water and eventually, plain water. Skip as many packaged items as you can: Try replacing bottled salad dressing (which often contains added sugars and less than stellar oils) with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar or a homemade dressing. Limit the frozen meals. Here are more great tips on making smart supermarket choices.
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About The Author

Bryn Mooth Bryn Mooth
Bryn Mooth is an independent copywriter and journalist focused on food, wellness and design; she's also a Master Gardener and enthusiastic green thumb. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.

Member Comments

  • The USDA recommendations? Are you kidding me?
    Too grain-heavy! - 7/30/2014 3:36:42 PM
  • "We all need to slow down?"

    That's adorable. Ameicans eat the way they do, because our lives and our jobs pressure us to do so. If you have a job that allows you to "make time" to prepare food, congrats to you! However most working Americans don't. - 7/10/2014 10:56:24 AM
  • The article mentions the buy one get one free coupons. As my wife used to say whenever I was interested in the large, marked down bag of chips, "A bargain isn't always a bargain." Glenn

    - 6/2/2014 12:30:50 AM
  • Not to mention that you can get burgers for $1, and salads are $7 (depending on where you are) - 5/31/2014 6:16:49 PM
  • I use the computer during breakfast: I go through my SparkCoach program while I'm eating. I think that's good company and a good start for the day, especially since I live alone. - 4/20/2014 11:13:33 PM
  • You can make 'fast' food at home (like breakfast wraps that you can freeze and then microwave for breakfast) and then take them with you on the go. Being busy is not an excuse anymore. - 9/9/2013 4:18:52 AM
  • Fast food is so damaging to our kids today. They have made it where mothers can go to the fast food with their food stamps. That's just gone too far. - 9/3/2013 12:11:55 PM
  • I gave up "drive thru" eating back on December 1. I have not eaten anything that comes from a restaurant with a drive thru window. Although it was tough at first, I have never felt better. - 2/12/2013 9:34:59 AM
  • I love the point about brown-bagging it. I heard a story during earlier formative years about a couple who worked hard, long shifts, had to brown bag it every day... and retired as millionnaires. Sure, there was more to the story than what they ate for lunch every day, but when I heard it, the moral of the story was, "take your lunch to work and you'll retire a millionnaire!"

    I started my new job in October and last Friday, I had my first non-brown-bag lunch. It felt like splurging. It was a great lunch, but it's so much easier to track my food from home, I'm sure I won't want to do it more than once every few months. AND, I didn't have fast food for that lunch... I ordered it and picked it up from a sit-down restaurant, then brought it back to work to actually eat it. - 2/12/2013 9:26:54 AM
  • RACEWELLWON
    Years ago people went to work with their lunch and really , work hours are better - we have labor laws. Even if you have to work through lunch you can still eat healthy. Getting married to Rich man is Fable and will not solve your problems - be creative , pack your lunch and find your own to the top. Good artilce - I refuse to eat Fast Food Period. - 2/12/2013 9:10:13 AM
  • that's because we all forgot that we work so we live not we live so we work. wasting all our time working became the only acceptable norm. it's not normal , it will never be. we pay too much for our "modern"life comfort. - 2/12/2013 6:46:02 AM
  • Amazing ideas, but in America it's not easy finding a city and lifestyle that allows you to do these things. If you know of a job that allows you to eat lunch and NOT work at the same time AND pays the bills let me know! I'm lucky to get 5 minutes to cram whatever I brought in and then I throw a bunch of it out because I have to work on something else.

    My dream is to marry a rich guy and be a stay at home mom so I have endless free time for health! - 2/12/2013 6:04:07 AM
  • It was one of those books that I could only read about a chapter or half a chapter at a time. Then I had to put it down and sit there shocked for awhile and come back to it later. People should know this stuff. The book is at least 10 years old now and still so true. - 1/27/2012 8:12:29 AM
  • " Fast Food Nation" turned my stepson into an organic farmer who will not feed his young daughter anything that is not organic. The book is a real eye opener. - 1/27/2012 2:30:22 AM
  • Good points. I thought it'd include a reference to Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation, but it didn't. Really good book (and documentary) about the history of our obsession with fast food and the effect it has on us economically, socially, and physically. - 1/26/2012 12:53:38 PM

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