I thought I got a real deal recently when I loaded up on 11 trucker-sized bags of Chex Mix for ten bucks, thinking they’d make a dandy cross country team snack.
But my 16-year-old son, who’d destroyed a similar-sized bag of this same substance just a couple of weeks earlier, expressed horror when I told him my idea.
“There’s like eight servings in there,” he said. “That’s almost a thousand calories!”
Apparently he’d learned something since his latest deviant experiment in carb loading – a lesson I’d overlooked. Yes, it’s a big bag, more than half a pound, designed to be shared (ideally) or consumed by NFL linemen. Nonetheless, a few days later while substitute teaching I spotted an identical bag on a fifth-grader’s desk, and no one seemed to think anything about it.
I’m not suggesting the other kids should’ve been heckling this girl about her oversized snack. But maybe if General Mills labeled it as the “king-sized” version, like Hershey’s does with its candy bars, the ludicrousness of the situation would’ve penetrated her parents’ brains – as well as my own.
Interestingly, a story I saw the other day said American families are buying fewer calories per person these days — as in 6.4 trillion calories less from 2007 to 2012 — thanks in part to efforts by the food industry (including General Mills) to reformulate some products and relabel others. If that’s true, you can be sure they’re not doing it out of their grave concerns for the consumer so much as reacting to market pressures.
Still, in the end it’s up to us to make smart decisions. Hopefully next time, I will.