Compared to 1985, Americans are eating more takeout, skipping more main meals and using our microwave ovens more. And when we step on the scale, more of us wish we could lose 20 pounds.
These are some of the findings by the NPD Group in its "Eating Patterns in America" report. The Chicago-based consumer research firm has been tracking Americans' eating habits for 25 years.
This year's report shows how we have changed during the past two decades. Among the key findings:
¢ The number of meals eaten in a restaurant annually has decreased from 93 per person in 1985 to 80 today.
¢ 92 percent of Americans consume some form of "ready-to-eat" foods in the home daily.
¢ We're eating more meals in the car - 32 per person today versus 19 in 1985.
¢ Twenty years ago, 54 percent said they wanted to lose at least 20 pounds. Today it's 61 percent.
¢ The annual number of main meals skipped per person rose from 102 to 114.
¢ We use our stove tops less (down 18 percent), and our microwave ovens more (doubled to 20 percent).
¢ Outdoor grills and slow cookers are being used more.
¢ We are significantly more accepting of people who are overweight. In 1985, 55 percent of respondents said they completely agreed with the statement, "People who are not overweight look a lot more attractive." This year, 24 percent completely agreed.