Expired Food in the Grocery Store: Don’t Pass It On

Today I received a surprise: A few spoonfuls into my cereal, I looked at the box to see that its expiration date was 3 months ago. It wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, right? It tasted fine and it didn’t kill me. But is it my fault as a consumer for purchasing an out of date product, or is it the grocery store’s responsibility to make sure their products are still fresh?

Either way, I expect to go into any grocery store or mini mart and grab any item off the shelf and have it be fresh – or at least not expired.

If you’re an unlucky consumer who finds your product expired, most stores will gladly refund your money or replace the item. What will happen to that expired item? It varies. It might be thrown out or the store might be able to return it to the manufacturer and receive a portion of the cost.

If you find a package of Oreos that are expired (rare, because they’re great sellers) you may be inclined to push it to the back and grab one in date. It’s great that you’ve recognized and avoided a potentially time-consuming, money-wasting situation, but it puts the Oreos right back on the shelf.

… until Jenny, who doesn’t check the sell-by date, finds herself with a cupboard full of stale cookies and a heart full of disappointment.

Grocery stores carry thousands of items, so it’s probable that some will be missed and pushed to the back of the shelf. Grocery associates can be vigilant about rotating product, pulling expired items and, in the end, saving you from the hassle of bringing home food that’s past its prime. How can we help as consumers? If you’ve found an expired item, take a minute to tell an associate about the product. A moment from your day will save an hour from someone else’s.

And that someone else just might be you.

Childhood Obesity? TV and Internet!

The US brought home its report card today. A 66% in overall health:

“The percentage of overweight children in the United States is growing at an alarming rate, with 1 out of 3 kids now considered overweight or obese.”

Everyone’s been hearing the sirens go off for the past few years. But instead of targeting the source of the problem, as a nation, we’ve decided large food companies and their horrible marketing campaigns influencing children to eat foods that are high in fat and low in nutritional value are to blame; and that technology is source of all evil causing our pee-wees to become overweight. The fact is kids are spending more time engaging in media according to a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But should we blame the game console, Ronald McDonald and Facebook?

KidsHealthorg.com continues:

“Many kids are spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, computer, or video-game console. And today’s busy families have fewer free moments to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals. From fast food to electronics, quick and easy is the reality for many people in the new millennium.”

The reference to ‘busy families’  implies just that – parents working more hours, in some cases taking on extra shifts and even working two full time jobs. On the arrival home, the last thing on their mind just may be making a delicious, yet nutritious meal for their children. When we’re dealing with impressionable youth, this is perilous.

So what does it take for our kids to make healthy decisions? It takes the most powerful influencers, their immediate caretakers, (whether it be the babysitter, granny, or mom and dad) to take action. They need to not only educate, but reinforce by example. If you tell Johnny to eat a portion size no larger than the size of his fist and you come home with 3 bags of McDonald’s twice a week because you’re tired, he won’t think twice about it next year when you hand him the car keys and he’s out in a food court with three of his buds.

There is a simple solution this issue. It requires the child’s biggest influencer – his or her immediate caretaker(s) to be more mindful about their child’s health habits. Michelle Obama alone is not going to get 100% of kids in America to eat healthier, though her efforts raise awareness and stir interest in the issue.

Pointing fingers is a sure-fire way to fail at change. KFC will keep serving the Double Down and social media is here to stay.

Let’s stop being the parents/guardians pointing our fingers and start taking the time to educate and replicate a healthy way of life.