July 21st dedicates a giant menu of items to National Junk Food Day. Each year, the day permits us to chow down on the foods we usually don’t include in our daily diet. Junk foods, by definition, typically contain high fats, sugars, salt, and calories and very little nutritional value.
With the advent of packaged foods during the late 1800s, junk food made its way into American life. Still, home-cooked meals remained the standard for several more decades. Eventually, after World War II, the artery-clogging industry took off. Since the population ate out more, traveled more, the industry was primed to produce products at an increased rate.
From the frozen food aisle to fast food chains, a myriad of choices for consumers flooded the market. Potato chips, baked goods and so much more filled supermarket shelves, prepackaged and ready to go.
By the 1970s, junk foods earned a name and a bad one, too. Michael Jacobson, a microbiologist, is credited with coining the phrase. He also set out to curb our appetite for the high sugar, high salt, high preservative foods Americans consumed at an alarming rate.
While deep-fried, fat-laced foods increase our waistlines, cholesterol, and blood sugar numbers, an occasional indulgence shouldn’t impact a healthy, diverse diet and lifestyle. Also, producers make healthy versions of our favorite junk foods to entice us to enjoy a little.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalJunkFoodDay
Snack a little. Chow down on your favorite chip, dip or treat. In fact, treat the family or workplace to a beverage or take out. Post on social media using #NationalJunkFoodDay. You can also celebrate by taking a walk or doing some yard work to burn off those extra calories.