There is a very common misconception about fast food. This can help explain why many Americans are overweight or unhealthy, especially those with lower incomes. The fact that a fast food meal is cheaper than a healthy one is just plain wrong.
In fact, it is actually cheaper to feed a family of four with a healthy homemade option, instead of a meal from a fast food restaurant. For example, a study done by the New York Times showed that if you were to buy two Big Macs, two kids meals, two medium orders of fries and two medium sodas, it would cost a total of $23. If you were to choose the healthier option and make a roast chicken, with vegetables, a simple salad, and milk, it would only cost $14.
It is also important to keep in mind that the healthier alternative for a McDonald’s hamburger isn’t only an organic, grass-fed beef hamburger. That is where the misconception is formed. It will be significantly more expensive to order the healthier versions of what is on the fast food menu. A healthier alternative to fast food is pretty much anything besides junk food. Some healthier options include pasta, peanut butter, and frozen meats. There are countless numbers of dishes that can be easily and cheaply cooked at home instead of fast food.
What we do know is that the food situation is far from ideal for millions of Americans, but eating healthier and cheaper is a start and an option for many of those Americans. There are many reasons why people may choose to purchase fast food instead of homemade food, one being that there is a lack of education about healthier alternatives. It is very important for Americans who eat fast food regularly, know this because this is one of the main reasons for the obesity epidemic in America. One of the ways to educate people about this is to continue to raise awareness on this topic, by spreading the word and continuing to compare prices.
Another reason that people may choose to purchase fast food instead of healthy food is that there aren’t any grocery stores as close as a fast food chain. Most of the people who are eating fast food are people of lower income and have jobs and lives that don’t allow for extra driving time. Time can also be an issue for cooking at home, but there are many healthy cheap dishes that can easily be prepared in less than 20 minutes.
America is, by far, not at a healthy place, for eating situations in lower income households, but there are many Americans suffering from obesity and many other health problems who do have access to these healthy foods and are simply uneducated on this topic, and that is where we can make a change for now.
By Emily Morrissey