The Irony of Lean Cuisine

lean cuisineYesterday, I was at the grocery store with the boys. We were getting the usual things we need to make breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week. While we will pick up an occasional bag of pretzels or chips, the majority of our shopping cart usually consists of fruit, vegetables, dairy products, meat, and grains/beans.

While cruising the aisles, Judd noticed this woman placing cartons of vanilla flavored soy milk in her basket. He wanted to know why she needed so many cartons. Sorry, Judd, I don’t know what motivates other shoppers, but let’s keep going.

We rolled past her again down another aisle. She was loading up on some sort of day-glo colored, sugar-free energy drink. Darn it if we didn’t just kept running into her. In the frozen foods, she was piling a stack of Lean Cuisines into her cart.

Please forgive me for being judgmental. But the woman was very overweight, and my first thought was that she was buying products that marketers cleverly promote as low-calorie and healthy. I know it’s not for me to judge, and she could have been buying items for a family member or a friend, but her story seemed pretty clear by looking at her shopping cart.

I have seen this very scenario countless times in the grocery store. A heavy-set person choosing processed and artificially sweetened and colored foods and drinks instead of the basics. Is there a connection between a person’s weight and the food that they’re choosing. I’m going out on a limb and saying a resounding YES!

And the sad thing is that these consumers truly believe that they are choosing products that will help them get healthier. It’s a vicious cycle and rather predatory on the part of marketers that know very well who they are targeting and how to position their products.

It’s my humble opinion, for what it’s worth, our population would be a whole lot healthier if we just used our kitchens – no frozen dinners, no deli counter takeout, no artificially flavored/colored convenience foods.

Cooking is fun, and homemade food just tastes better. It’s also not all that time-consuming. In the time it takes to heat up a Lean Cuisine, I can whip up a salad, an omelet, a sandwich, or countless other quick meals. And, I don’t get a plethora of preservatives and additives on my plate.

When you walk the aisles of the grocery store, it’s shocking to actually look at how many products are for people who don’t want to take the time to really cook and don’t apparently want to eat the basics. Real cheese tastes good. So do fresh vegetables, chicken that you cook yourself, beans, and oatmeal. Flour isn’t something to be afraid of, and real sugar in small amounts tastes way better than aspartame. How about water instead of diet drinks, too.

Ok, off of my soapbox. I have a flank steak to marinade for dinner tonight.

Song of the Day: Stir It Up, Johnny Nash

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