Food

As a whole, Americans love food. U.S. consumers spend millions of dollars every year on purchasing food ingredients or prepared foods. Food accompanies the majority of events, gatherings, parties and even meetings in the United States. It often gives people something to do and can help to eliminate awkwardness in social gatherings. From ball games to board meetings, food has a place at them all.

The U.S. has released a Federal Food Guide Pyramid to help Americans make healthy choices when selecting what to eat. However, most Americans do not meet the requirements set forth by these dietary guidelines. The daily intake of fats and sugars often exceed the recommendations while the fruit, vegetable, dairy, whole grain and lean meat intake generally falls below the recommended amount.

To see the U.S. Pyramid and review the recommendations, you may go online at www.rnypvramid.gov.

Typical american food
You might hear the United States referred to as a “melting pot” because people from many different countries came together here and formed this country, melting their different cultures together. For that reason, defining typical “American” food can prove challenging.

Sidney Mintz, an anthropologist says, "There is no American food. When we begin to list American foods, either we talk about regional things like lobster or shrimp Creole, or we talk about spaghetti and pizza and hot dogs... The fact that we don't have a cuisine is a measure of our democracy and of our ethnic heterogeneity."

What families used to call a typical meal has changed over the years in the United States as fast food and busy lives have had an influence on the way many families eat. A typical weekday breakfast for some might include bowl of cold cereal and a piece of toast, for others it might be an egg with bacon or sausage, and for many just a breakfast bar, bagel or cup of coffee will suffice. Most people rely on eating a quick sandwich, salad or soup for lunch, often pre-packaged. A family meal around the dinner table usually includes a meat, starch and vegetable. This food might have been prepared in the home, but it could also be a frozen dinner popped in the microwave, or even a hamburger, French fries and salad purchased from a nearby fast food restaurant on the way home from work.

If you receive an invitation to join someone for breakfast either in their home or at a restaurant, you can expect a variety of possibilities including pancakes, omelets, muffins or fruit. Social lunches often take place over fast food or deli selections. Dinner invitations offer more of a typical meal that includes the main food groups, whether at a restaurant or prepared and served in a home.

Certain areas of the country have particular foods associated with them, but most American foods actually have origins in other countries and the United States has perhaps developed an “americanized” version of it. For example, Mexican food in the U.S. has a different look and taste than food actually prepared and served in Mexico.

Fast food
Fast food n. inexpensive food, such as hamburgers and fried chicken, prepared and served quickly

The fast pace of life in the U.S. has spawned the “need” for fast food. Individuals and families try to fit so much into their days that they don’t allow time to make up a menu for the week, purchase the groceries necessary and then prepare the food and sit down to eat it. Instead, while running from one activity to the next, they either drive through or stop into a fast food restaurant to purchase a relatively inexpensive item (or items) that will fill their stomach without taking too much time or effort.

Unfortunately, fast food does not provide adequate variety or nutrition for the human body to maintain a health balanced diet. It offers a quick solution (food) to an immediate problem (hunger). Fast food choices are loaded with calories and health experts consider it very “energy dense” food, causing people to eat more of it than they need.

A few of the most common fast food chains in the U.S. include McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, Hardees, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Arby’s.