Table for One? Join the Crowd
If you're dining alone, you're in great company. New consumer research by the Hartman Group says that eating alone is "the new normal," as American increasingly ditch sit-down family meals for continuous snacking and "ad hoc" eating behavior. Solitary meals are "a normal part of modern life," the report states, representing 53% of breakfasts, 45% of lunches and 24% of dinners. Hectic schedules and the increasing fragmentation of modern life are partly responsible, but people are also choosing to eat by themselves to grab some "me time." With pantries and kitchens serving as "a sort of 24-hour commissary" and busy workers lunching at their desks, solo eating is more popular than ever.
Eating alone and continuous snacking can also encourage unhealthy food choices, however. Smart selection of convenient products such as frozen vegetables for quick stir-fry meals, along with cooking extra and freezing for later microwaving, can help keep you on track for your nutrition goals. So can keeping single packs of nuts or dried fruits in your desk drawer.