Have you ever watched television during prime time and had an uncontrollable urge to order a pizza? It wouldn’t be surprising. The food industry knows how to get us to buy…and eat…their products.
Commercials: You may not know it, but a lot goes into making the food commercials on television. The burgers look so huge, with the special sauce dripping and the crisp lettuce just outside the bun. It’s an art. In fact, it is very much art, as that sandwich was not made to be eaten. The food industry puts a lot of time into making their food entice you to their restaurant…and it works.
Sports: Look at the billboards around the baseball stadiums the next time you watch a game. Many of them are for food or beverage companies, and those companies just happen to have an outlet right there in the stadium. The not-so-subtle signage can send you to the snack stands during the seventh inning stretch.
TV and Movies: If you see someone drinking a specific brand of soft drink or that there is a specific chain restaurant in the background it isn’t random. Companies pay big bucks to have these reminders in the shows. In fact, you may not notice the reminders but suddenly thinking how much you’d like some Coca Cola (no I am not paid for making that comment).
How do we fight back? It almost feels like a conspiracy to keep us fat. Most of the items we watch are fast food or microwavable treats filled with fat, salt and sugar. There must be something we can do.
Healthy Snacks: First, healthy snacks don’t have to mean raw broccoli. There are many tasty and healthy foods available. Look on the produce aisle or in the deli section of the store. Single serve snack trays with fruits and/or vegetables are something you can keep on hand for that urge to eat during prime time.
Filling Foods: Another helpful way to make sure you don’t go for the burger or pizza is to make sure what you have for dinner is filling. As much as I’d like to think a salad makes a great dinner I know I’ll be hungry again in about two hours. Instead, we have a balanced dinner with protein, whole grains and vegetables. That way, when the commercials are on, I’m not as tempted to pick up the phone.
Companies who market food aren’t evil for showing their products when we are likely to be at our weakest. They’re doing their job. What we have to do is make sure that we only eat their products occasionally, as a treat. A steady diet of them isn’t going to decrease our ever expanding waist lines.