It's fair to say that America has some of the best food in the world. It's easy to tell that because there are so many of us who are overweight.
But if you visit much of the rest of the world, people are thinner, happier and healthier. That's because, as it turns out, their children are taught eating practices which lead to healthier eating. So it comes naturally as an adult.
Here are some things that foreigners know about healthy eating that every American kid should be taught in school. Our children's health is of national importance, so spread the word.
1. Sugar For Breakfast Is A Bad Idea
No one in France would consider giving their child a bowl of sugar-frosted cereal to start the day. A plate of mixed fruit and a little unsweetened cereal is more like it. So is a single croissant and a cup of decaffeinated coffee.
2. Chopsticks Cut Calories
The Chinese habit of eating with chopsticks is definitely more awkward than eating with knives and forks, but that fiddliness isn't without benefits - it causes people to naturally eat less. If you have to work to eat, you're not likely to over-consume.
3. Portion Control is The Secret
The French don't avoid unhealthy foods. You won't find anyone panicking about fat content or carb content in Paris, but what they do better than Americans is portion control. Small portions of tasty things don't make you fat, but giant-sized portions do.
4. There Is Such A Thing As Healthy Bread
Rye bread has much less carbohydrate than ordinary bread, and that's what the Swedes love to eat. It also has another great health benefit; studies show that it can reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood and thus help to prevent heart disease.
5. Keep The Pasta Under Control
The Italians figured out the link between big bowls of pasta and large waistlines a while back. That doesn't mean they don't eat any pasta anymore - it does mean that they prefer smaller bowls of the stuff instead.
6. Lunch Is Better Than Dinner
In Mexico, they say that it's better to eat a big lunch than a big dinner. The theory being that if you eat during the time when you are most active, you're more likely to burn it off than if you consume food and then slob out in front of the TV.
7. Make Things Tiny But Beautiful
Japanese portion sizes were once a practical consideration based on the small carts that sold them. Vendors made small portions that looked beautiful to win custom. Today, it turns out that small portions of sushi, etc. have a secondary benefit - people seem to crave less food when it's served in small portions.
8. Always Opt For The Right Beans
You may love those refried beans, but they're not good for keeping your figure. Picking the right (not fried) beans for your burrito makes a huge difference to your calorie consumption. It also helps you get more fiber, protein, and vitamins.
9. Keep Track Of Your Own Consumption
Ethiopians eat from a huge sharing platter, but instead of constantly taking food, it's common to take what you want and then go back for more if you really want it. This lets you track your portion sizes more effectively and stops you from eating too much.
10. Reduce Dairy And Animal Product Consumption
Also from Ethiopia is the simple trick of cutting down on meat and dairy in your diet. These things aren't terrible for you in small quantities, but in most American diets they are hugely over-represented. There's a reason that you rarely see a fat vegan.