A recent article revealed that most people know fast food is unhealthy, but choose to eat it anyway. The people interviewed for the article gave all sorts of reasons, including the perceived convenience and cheapness of fast food, and dislike of cooking. As a recovering “fast food–aholic,” I recognize that I held onto each of the reasons cited at one point in my life. I knew that fast food was mostly bad, but I never modified my behavior because I really did not know all the facts or how to correctly apply the facts I did know. Things have changed. Here are my two cents on the topic.
I was recently talking with a Casting Director for The Biggest Loser about this. It’s amazing how many of us potential contestants use the price argument as an excuse to eat fast food, and how easy it is to rebut with simple facts. We big folk like our lies! A head of lettuce costs approx .93 cents, here in Michigan. Add bell peppers, other healthy toppings, light dressings etc., and the cost per “man size” serving is still really low. A 1/4 lb of lean ground beef is $1.00—when it is NOT on sale. I could really talk a lot more about price, but we’ll have to save that for later. I should mention that ‘bad’ foods generate an insulin response that usually cause us to eat more food. So the cumulative cost of eating bad food can easily be much more expensive than eating healthy. Plus, a higher price tag can sometimes lead to a slower, smarter shopping experience, as a friend of mine explained to me recently. He said that when he shops at Whole Foods he has to pay closer attention to what he puts in his basket because the prices are higher. As a consequence he buys less junk food!
No one I know likes a plain baked potato without something on it. Who likes a patty of ground beef without the bun, ketchup, mustard, onions etc.? We all modify our foods to make them tastier. Similar tastes can be obtained at home with a little experimentation. For example, a baked potato tastes great with butter spray and salsa. Why not eat your potato with 96% lean ground beef in a low carb/low cal wrap (I like La Tortilla Factory Tortillas) with low-carb ketchup and chopped onions. This stuff tastes great! Good tasting food is possible, and fast food is not exactly gourmet anyway!
Side-dishes take almost no prep time when you consider frozen or canned vegetables and the like. So I spend a couple of hours on the weekend preparing the meats for my week and then I store them in baggies and prep my salads and sides each day. It really can be “fast food.” Now, to be honest, packing lunch does take advanced planning, but I love my new life, so it’s been worth taking the minimal effort. Also, I know that maintaining my health is easier then getting it back.
Fast Food Alternatives
The other night, while on the way to Starbucks, I had a serious hunger craving. Instead of hitting the drive-through, I stopped in the local grocery store and bought a couple pints of Strawberries and some baked chicken from the deli. At other times, I have bought a couple of huge apples and some chicken, turkey or corn beef slices at ninety calories per package. It is always cheaper than Fast Food and almost as quick.
Fast Food Options
To be honest, I still go to a fast food restaurant a couple times per week when I have not done my grocery shopping—but now I simply make better choices. At McDonald’s, I like to get the Grilled Chicken Asian Salad with Low-Fat Balsamic dressing and a large Diet Coke or water. I love the McDonald’s nutritional website since it allows me to adjust individual parts of my meal. What are your thoughts and feelings about fast food? Do you have a love-hate relationship with it? If I see your post, I’ll try to respond!
As always, I want to recommend HealthyWage, which provides health incentives for everyone. Incentives make accountability fun, and studies show that incentives increase your odds of success. Check it out! And keep up the good work!
This article was re-printed from a blog post over at www.WinningMan.com.