I've been reading some despairing Facebook posts by parents who are trying to get their kids to eat good food. The biggest difficulty is, that the kids are getting showered with junk food every time they're out of the direct supervision of their parents. You'd be surprised -- if you're not a parent -- by the number of kids' activities that are punctuated by rewards of candy, chips, and various foul corn syrup concoctions that manage to bill themselves as "healthy" (because they're fruit-flavored or low-fat, usually; some vague gesture of that sort -- "low-fat pudding," "gogurt," that crap.) In the rare schools where they're trying to hold the line, there are thriving black markets in junk. And once most kids have tasted this stuff, getting them to eat real food can be a Herculean task. The food industry has us right where they want us. By the time most kids get through school, they'll be habituated to this stuff. A 1,500 calorie meal will seem normal: the blast of pleasure, the chowing down while the leptin and stomach-distension feedback circuits go dead -- these will be their experience of eating, and if they don't get those experiences, they won't feel that they've eaten properly at all. That's what happened to me, a bit early in the industrial-food wave; probably what happened to you, what almost certainly will happen to your kids, unless -- as one of my Facebook friends said -- you home-school on a remote ranch.
These are combined effects of political decisions and the market: our heavy subsidies for certain kinds of industrial farming make the raw materials of sugar/corn syrup, fat and salt (without which junk food just don't go) absurdly cheap. You just need to squirt flavorings into it, maybe texturize it, and Bob's your uncle. You can even then go about mouthing pieties about obesity and healthy living with the odd scraps of your advertising budget. Keep 'em confused; keep 'em feeling guilty about their crappy eating; They'll show up at the 7-11 or the drive-up window: you can bet on it.
And the beauty of it is, that to eat any other way requires establishing half a dozen habits, layered on top of each other. Getting rest, cleaning, planning food, shopping, coordinating meals, cooking: no one of the habits very complex or onerous, but practically nobody is going to have the vision and persistence to build them up step by step and actually de-industrialize themselves. They're exhausted, they're hungry, the kitchen's a mess, and you have the food they grew up on right there, in any easy-open package in the kitchen, or at worst, at a drive-thru. You think you have to worry that they'll go shopping for whole foods instead? Don't be silly. You've got 'em.