There is a stereotype of the American teenager with a Big Mac in one hand and a Coca-Cola in the other… Some add to this image fried potatoes sticking out of their mouths. Well, to some extent, the inexorable statistics of the consumption of “junk food” – as fast food is also called in the United States, confirm this. But in the last 5-7 years, another, more encouraging trend has appeared in America: teenagers often make a choice in favor of … vegetarian “junk” food, instead of the usual meat! Good or bad, you decide.
American scientists, for some reason, rarely conduct research on the number of vegetarian teenagers in the country of the Yellow Devil. One of the most reliable studies available today dates back as far as 2005, and according to this data, there are about 3% of vegetarians in the United States between the ages of 8 and 18 (not that little, by the way!). And of course, a lot has changed for the better since then.
In 2007, sociologists noticed an interesting trend: more and more American teenagers are choosing not “Big Mac” or beans fried in lard (icons of American nutrition) – but something without meat at all. In general, according to many studies, children and adolescents 8-18 years old are extremely greedy for fast food – what you can stuff into yourself on the go, on the run, and go about your business. People at this age are impatient. So, the good old cutlet between two buns, which has added a lot of suffering to the country with one of the most severe obesity problems in the world, is being replaced by … another, albeit also “junk” food! Vegetarian fast food.
Gradually adapting to the needs of consumers, more and more American supermarkets put on their shelves vegetarian “analogues” of popular food: sandwiches, broth and beans, milk – only without animal components. “We visit my parents in Florida every year,” said Mangels, one of the respondents to a survey conducted by USA Today, “and I used to have to pack a whole suitcase with soy milk, tofu and other vegan food. Now we take nothing at all!” Mangels happily announced that she can buy all the usual products from recent pestilence in a store near her parents’ house. “Not the most progressive area in terms of healthy eating,” she stressed. It turns out that the situation is changing for the better even in the American outback, where the habit of eating meat and other non-vegetarian (and often unhealthy) foods is certainly strong. A typical American (and mother of two who are voluntary vegetarians), Mangels can now get soy milk, non-meat ready-made soups and tallow-free canned beans at almost any store in the country. She notes that such changes are very pleasing to her two children, who voluntarily adhere to a vegetarian diet.
In addition to pleasant changes in the filling of shop counters, similar trends are noticeable in the field of school meals in America. Hemma Sundaram, who lives near Washington, told pollsters that she was pleasantly surprised when, shortly before her 13-year-old daughter was due to leave for the annual summer camp, she received a letter from her school asking her to choose her daughter’s vegetarian menu. . The daughter was also happy with this surprise, and said that some time ago she stopped feeling like a “black sheep”, as the number of vegetarians in her school is growing. “There are five vegetarians in my class. Lately, I’m not shy about asking the school cafeteria for chicken-free soup and things like that. In addition, for us (vegetarian schoolchildren) there are always several vegetarian salads to choose from,” said the schoolgirl.
Another survey respondent, young vegetarian Sierra Predovic (17), said she found she could nibble on fresh carrots and eat her favorite hummus just like other teens eat Big Macs—on the go, on the go, and enjoying it. . This girl is one of many American teenagers who opt for quick-to-cook and eat vegetarian food, which can partly replace the fast food so familiar to Americans.