It's widely known that Americans have some of the worst eating habits in the world. Not all of us, of course, but in general, we're a pretty unhealthy nation.
But then, what is it about the American diet that makes us that way? Is it what we eat, how we eat, or how we talk about food?
In Europe and other parts of the world, the way they eat is vastly different than how we do things here in the States.
Here are a few ways of how eating more like a European could help you get healthier.
Take your time.
In Europe, people generally like to take their time preparing a meal. Food preparation is just as necessary as sitting down to dinner as a family. Even the process of shopping is different.
There are many more independent food markets, with a bigger range of fresh produce to choose from.
This slower, more considered way of buying and preparing food means that people care more about the food and drink they buy and eat, and meticulously selecting and preparing ingredients for a meal is something to be proud of.
By contrast, Americans generally prefer the ‘fast and easy' method of food preparation. But then, if we're going to put it into our bodies, shouldn't we give it a little more thought?
Eat smaller portions.
One of the most noticeable differences between how Americans and Europeans eat is the portion size. In America, bigger is always considered better, and portions can be enormous.
In Europe, it seems like everything is tiny by comparison! However, less can be more. Eating smaller portions of meals that have high-quality, fresh ingredients is a much better option than just eating a more substantial amount.
Americans go, go, go all the time. Europeans take things a little slower. It may sound odd that eating slower, longer meals with multiple courses is a better option than dine-and-dash, but eating more slowly allows your brain more time to realize that you're full. You'll find yourself eating less and digesting your food better.
Eat real food.
While processed foods are available all over the world, Europeans generally eat a lot less processed food than Americans do. Most French people, for example, will eat real butter. You're unlikely to find much margarine in Paris.
Lower-calorie, low-fat options that are often packed with additives are also much less popular. This may sound like a recipe for obesity and health-related issues, but it turns out that even the rich, fatty food that some Europeans favor is better for our health than eating processed versions.
Choose real food snacks over sweets. Mixed nuts are a great option.
Make eating fun.
Europeans love heading out for dinner with friends, taking their time to enjoy their food. Americans often just grab a quick meal at the end of the day – making dinner is a burden rather than something to be savored and enjoyed.
Take the time to make eating a fun, relaxed experience, and you'll find your attitude changes pretty quickly.