The Stereotypical American Diet

I thought it would be interesting to go over what the stereotypical American diet is according to young people from around the world. My lovely girlfriend is currently working with students from across the globe (ages 14 to 30), and the topic, with all the stereotypes, has come up several times.

I thought a lot about what my stereotypes were regarding what Americans eat. After reading this post, consider what your stereotypes are regarding the American diet and why this is so. Also consider how your diet compares to what people around the world think you would typically eat. Is there something wrong with the American diet, or does the rest of the world have it wrong? These are interesting questions to consider.

The stereotypical American diet according to teens and young adults from around the world is easy to summarize. They think we eat a whole lot of hamburgers, hot dogs and pizzas. They also believe that we eat fast food all the time and avoid vegetables. Many foreign students noted the lack of rice and abundance of potatoes on our dinner plates. And of course ice cream was mentioned a lot, but I have a feeling that these students are enjoying a heap of American ice cream during their study time in the States.

There are several stereotypes put forward by the foreign students that I hold. I do think Americans eat a bunch of pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs. More than we ought to. In fact, I know that most of us eat too much meat. Unless you are trying to bulk up, the large amount of meat we consume is just not necessary. One serving of meat clocks in at 3 ounces. You may go a bit higher for chicken and even higher for fish. But three ounces is not actually that much. It is all you need though.

One thing that they have not mentioned is the variety of food you can get in America and particularly from restaurants. I have been to few countries that offer the excellent variety of cuisine from around the world that you can find in a decent sized American city. We really are lucky to have such a variety of people sharing their culinary traditions with us and chefs that are experimenting and pushing the boundaries of cooking.

One thing that is not apparent to these visiting foreign students is the healthy eating trend that has been growing over the past few decades. It is so much easier to find whole grain, gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options now. Local farmers markets are also exploding and there are even a few people who are advocating gathering the edible weeds that are growing around your neighborhood. I believe this healthy eating trend will eventually change the American diet stereotype. That is a tall order with the exporting of our fast food chains though.

This writing has me thinking about a great photo essay titled What the World Eats done by time magazine on what foods families consume in a typical week. The photos are great and it is fascinating to compare and contrast eating habits from around the globe.

So how do your eating habits match up with the stereotypical American diet? Perhaps you are doing well. If you are not, don’t worry. You can always make a change for the better. If you are interested in the paleo diet, you can read my paleo cookbook review to see if you would like to pick up a copy of your own. Happy eating.