For the first time in 2015 American’s spent more money eating out than they did on groceries (Barclay & Belluz & Zarracina, 2018). Why the increase of spending money ordering out? It is a convenience to American’s and because of these conveniences it has contributed to the increase of eating out. It was reported in a webpage called Baseline of Health Foundation, The average American adult buys a meal or snack from a restaurant 5.8 times a week.
Americans spent more than $785 billion on restaurant tabs in 2015, and most of those eating-out dollars were spent at casual dining restaurants (Cohen, 2017). US families are spending over 50 percent of their food budget on restaurants (Cohen, 2017). Restaurants can be relaxing while enjoying a good prepared meal, fast food restaurants are cheap and quick while both contain double the amount of food than the recommended portions size. This is causing American’s to eat and average of 20 to 40 percent more calories (Barclay & Belluz & Zarracina, 2018) than they would staying home and preparing a cooked meal. Healthy lifestyle changes need to be made by American families.
The cause of the convenience of eating out has increased to it’s all time high effecting Americas waistline. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, healthy diets in America are going to cost you approximately $1.50 more per day than eating healthy (Burdo, 2018). This is because higher calorie foods cost less making the unhealthier choices more affordable and easier to purchase for American families. The low cost of fast food and processed pre-packaged food is convenient and readily available for American’s. It is a more affordable option, but what some American’s do not realize is by spending that extra $1.50 a day on healthier foods may benefit him/her by avoiding health issues in the long run, but since obesity is increasing the estimated population of Americans will most likely be overweight by 2020, that’s about 36% of adults and 17% of them under the age of 19 (Darcey, 2017).
The obesity epidemic is leading to major health complications such as death and illnesses like heart diseases and diabetes. Most American’s do not put into consideration the extra money they spend on eating out and junk food when by spending an extra $1.50 a day on the healthy foods will help keep that doctor away. Let’s compare a McDonald’s double cheeseburger to a homemade double cheeseburger, cost and nutrition facts. McDonald’s double cheeseburger can be purchased for around $1.06 and normally it is poorly put together. It contains 440 calories, 23 grams of fat and is overloaded with sodium, approximately 1,050 milligrams of sodium, about 70 percent of the 1,500 milligrams of sodium you should limit yourself a day (Ipatenco, 2018). A homemade double cheeseburger, according to an app called MyFitnessPal, is around 317 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 350 milligrams of sodium. While the cost of a homemade burger may be a little higher priced at about $1.83 a burger it is healthier.
Putting in perspective, the materials bought at the grocery store does make more than one burger, leaving left overs, and making the price of a homemade burger more affordable than a fast food burger. Looking at the calories, sodium and fat of the mcdouble is a heart attack ready to happen. The combination of the three will cause heart and cardiovascular disease if consumed more than twice a week. The example of fast food and homemade cheeseburger is to help get a better understanding on why it is important to prepare meals at home and avoiding risks of health issues. There are ways to help people make healthier and smarter food choices, one of the options American’s fail to use is meal prepping and planning out what they want for each meal and snack throughout the week. Just by using this technique could save him/her money because they are not buying the extra foods that sound good to them while in a store.
Meal prepping is based on your goals for your diet plan, this includes making meals ahead of time that can be refrigerated and reheated. These meals will be individually portioned making it easy to grab and go without having to make a stop at an unhealthy destination such as McDonald’s. Another focusing point of meal planning is to stay to a grocery list. Without a grocery list it causes the individual to think with their stomach and taste buds steering them to spend more on food they do not need and causing the food to go to waste. Cooking at home is a major benefit, it cost less than eating out, knowing exactly what ingredients are used in the cooked meal, and maintain portion control by measuring and weighing the food.
Budgeting, planning, cooking and making healthier decisions leaves the consumer happy and healthy, while junk food costs you twice because it causes bad health such as medical bills and medications. Healthy food may seem expensive but putting a price on good health seems like a more positive choice. Slowly America is trying to make a change for the obese and overweight American’s. Researchers are wanting to test putting warning labels on junk food or increasing taxes on sugary, fatty foods to reduce American’s from buying the unhealthier option. Supplying nutritional information and calories on menus has made an impact for American’s to consider a healthier option while eating out. Grocery stores are trying to make fruits and vegetables the first point of contact at the front of the store. Commercial ads are starting to display healthy foods instead of a large pizza with extra cheese.
All these options are the beginning process of transforming America into making a change in diet and to decrease the obesity epidemic in America.
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