Are You Addicted to Fast Food?

We know fast food is bad for us but we brush that thought aside and make excuses as to why we continue to eat it.  What are your excuses?  Here are the top three reasons people resort to fast food:

It’s fast and easy

Of course it is.  That’s why it’s called fast food!  Why does everything have to be fast and easy?  Are we really that lazy?  The American culture has succumbed to the “everything should be fast and easy” and the “busy-itis” mentality especially with the rise of technology.  I read a great book called Fast Food Nation and it talks about the increasing number of fast food chains and locations since the 1970’s.  It’s astounding!  Along with this comes the amount of money involved.  America spent $6 billion on fast food in 1970 and we’re projected to spend $210 billion in 2016!  If you’re a money person like I am, you’ll relate to this quote by Michael Pollan:

“(The price of) fast food simply doesn’t take account of that meal’s true cost — to soil, oil, public health, the public purse, etc,  Costs which are never charged directly to the consumer but, indirectly and invisibly, to the taxpayer (in the form of subsidies), the health care system (in the form of food-borne illnesses) and obesity, and the environment (in the form of pollution).”

It’s no coincidence that the obesity rates have tripled since the 80’s.  In September 2015, the State of Obesity organization reported that 38% of adults are obese and 8% are extremely obese.  Along with this comes the rise of heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke and fat induced cancers 🙁

I highly recommend you read Fast Food Nation: The Darker Side of the All-Amerian Meal.  If you’re not a reader, there’s a movie you can watch made after the book.  I’d also recommend the documentary, Supersize Me.  You may never eat fast food again!

My kids don’t like my food 

Since when did parents become so weak with their kids?  We should teach our kids that food is supposed to fuel our bodies, not to taste great.  Who cares if it doesn’t taste phenomenal?  I deal with this first-hand and that’s always my answer.  No, my kids don’t like it but I’m the parent and I need to be the one to enforce good habits.  Everything you eat doesn’t have to taste great.

Next time your kids ask you for fast food, think about the long-term unintended consequences.  You’re only enabling your kids to become unhealthy and potentially obese followed by major health problems.  Kids mimic what their parents do and then a vicious cycle ensues.  Plus, it’s hard for a child to recover from childhood bullying and poor self-esteem. 🙁

The Vicious Cycle of Childhood Obesity

I’m Addicted

This is most likely true especially if you eat fast food frequently.  This is where calories are not created equal.  The fast food chains are known to put sugar in almost all of their food and sugar is more addicting than cocaine.  Sugar is added mainly as high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.  MSG and casein are also known to be addicting and most fast food restaurants have those substances as well.  This is why we continue to crave it and it’s harder to fight that addiction when there’s a fast food joint around every corner.  Do you really know what your favorite fast food chain is putting in their food?

I was a big fast food eater in college and used the “it’s fast and easy” excuse.  After college, I continued to eat it not realizing it was a major addiction (I LOVED TACO BELL!).  Once I became older and smarter, I cut this food out of my diet and can tell you first hand that you no longer crave it once you get over the addiction.  It does become easier.

Are you addicted to fast food?

 

What should you eat instead of fast food?

There’s a great article from WebMD on 13 quick-fix ideas to help you drive past the drive-through.  This article will give you some good alternatives.

In addition, I encourage you to keep things simple.  Do you always have to make a grand meal or can you combine a few snacks and make a meal of it?  If you plan well, there should always be something to eat at home rather than getting fast food.  It may not be something you’re craving or it may not fill you up like you just ate a Thanksgiving meal but you’ll forget about that once you get something in your belly.  Here are a few quick fix meals we make in my house:

  • Eggs/omelets
  • Frozen pre-cooked chicken patties – the healthy, grilled kind
  • Smoothies – typically involving spinach, frozen blueberries, and a form of protein such as protein powder or peanut butter
  • HelloFresh – a fresh and packaged meal for the whole family.  These pre-packaged fresh meal companies are popping up all over the place.  I like this one because it’s perfect for my family of 4 and you get everything you need in one box, including spices and the recipe, and it’s delivered right to your door.  My 13 year old son loves to help make dinner on Hello Fresh nights plus it allows me to skimp at the grocery store without creating an excuse for fast food.

I encourage you to find other alternatives to fast food.  Think about the unintended consequences on your long-term health and that of your family.  Plus, you’ll end up saving a lot of money if you eat more meals at home. 👍🏻

About Kaz

I'm a career Mom who loves to help people improve their finances and health, my two passions. I'm also an avid runner and reader. CPA and MBA

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