Saturday, 29 March 2014

Burgeoning Profits = Burgeoning Waitslines

It’s official, as a nation we are getting fatter and being overweight is becoming the norm.
The government is now thinking about taxing sugar in processed food. They seem to be missing the point. The truth is there is too much food available.
Since the provision of food has become big business run by huge nationwide firms instead of small shops providing for the local community, profits have become the main factor. It’s no longer a matter of each shopkeeper making a living, it’s big business that needs to make enough money to employ staff, maintain huge shops and make profits for their shareholders.
I hate it when older people say ‘when I was a kid…’ but when I was a kid shopping for food was done on a daily basis. And that’s not because my mum didn’t work, she did. And shops were shut by six pm at the latest. Frozen food consisted of peas and fish fingers. Shop bought cake was a treat.
These days there is more food on offer than can ever be eaten. And we are constantly under pressure to go shopping and buy more. BOGOF offers are not so prevalent these days, but there are other deals tempting the shopper to buy things they don’t really need. Walk into any supermarket and you will be confronted with ‘special offers’ which aren’t always so special. Next time you see a ‘buy two for £x’ check out how much it would cost to buy the larger size in the first place. You’d be surprised at how often it is cheaper.
But this blog isn’t about marketing ploys it’s about eating too much.
Why do people eat too much? Possibly it starts when Mum tells her kids ‘no pudding if you don’t finish your dinner.’ Or maybe it’s not refusing that second helping for fear of offending your host. The more you eat the bigger your stomach gets and the bigger your stomach gets the more you need to eat to fill it.
Government ministers blame processed food for people getting heavier. I would take this with a pinch of salt (another bad thing if you have too much). Many of the people I know who I would consider overweight would not touch a ready-meal with a barge-pole. They like cooking. And they like eating what they cook.
Things that were once considered a treat are now a daily ‘must have.’ Multi packs of crisps and chocolate, every meal ending with a pudding, something that was once reserved for Sunday only.
I’m not sure if all the TV shows promoting cooking have a detrimental effect on the nation’s eating habits. Personally the last time I watched a TV chef was when the Galloping Gourmet was on. I try to spend the minimum amount of time in the kitchen. Food is to keep the body going. It’s not a daily gastronomic event.  
So how do we start losing those excess pounds? I’ve never had to try so maybe I don’t really know but the following ideas seem simple enough.
Smaller portions, served on smaller plates to convince yourself you are having more than you are.
Avoid second helpings. If there is food left over save it for tomorrow, or freeze it for another day.
Cut down on the number of courses at each meal.
Don’t snack between meals.
You may feel hungry for a while, but believe me, no one is going to die of starvation in this country. Not unless you are suffering from government welfare cuts but that is a whole different blog.