Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Need For Fast Food

My husband and I were having a conversation today and he mentioned that one of his co-workers was looking forward to the prospect of having his child grow up so that he and his wife can get back to eating healthy. His premise was that their lives are currently too busy to lead a healthier lifestyle and that fast food and take out are basically all they can find the time to eat.

I hesitate to write this, because journaling it is an admission of having – and thereby creating the necessity to live by – this knowledge, but that argument is completely false. This man’s idea that the greasy options at the drive through window are the only way to feed oneself when pressed for time just couldn’t be further from the truth. I wish it wasn’t so! I would love to continue using that as one of my own all time favorite excuses for persevering with unhealthy habits, but I now know better.

In today’s society, fast food is indeed prevalent, but so are the menu options that have largely followed suit with the general public's desire for better choices. I can't think of a single drive through that doesn't offer a salad. Yogurts, fresh fruit, bottled water, vegetarian meals, whole wheat bread products, and many other items are available at most convenience restaurants nowadays.

When ordering in or picking up take out food it is just as easy to ask for the options that include vegetables as it is to order saucy or fatty items. Steamed rice instead of noodles, grilled without the skin instead of batter drenched, Caesar salad instead of pasta, vegetarian instead of meat lovers, tomato sauce instead of cream, chicken or fish instead of beef or lamb, fruit salad instead of cheesecake, thin crust instead of cheese stuffed... these are just a few examples of how altering our ordering habits can bring benefits without increasing the time needed to obtain food on the go.

Frozen dinners are another huge contender for providing the quick fix when short on the opportunity to prepare a proper meal. Yet even these prepackaged time-savers offer a wide variety of healthier options. There are even purely broccoli, cauliflower, mixed veggies, etc. varieties that I know are just as easy to find as the macaroni and cheese or rib style pork complete with brownie.

I would love to keep on kidding myself that the world just isn't built to accommodate a healthy lifestyle when a person is constantly moving from one project to the next, but the reality is that there are so many choices available that it is our own failings that create this false belief. I know that it is simpler to order the cheeseburger and fries to comfort oneself when holding onto the idea that it is all that is available, but I am also aware of too much evidence to the contrary now. I have quite literally eaten the apple of knowledge and cannot turn back towards ignorance.

- 11 glasses of water throughout the day
- 2 cups of grapes
- 2 cups of green leaf lettuce with light Caesar dressing and croutons
- 2 scrambled eggs with tomato and pepper
- 6-inch sub on a parmesan oregano bun with ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, green pepper, onion, light mayonnaise, mustard, and pepper
- 2 1/2 cups of lemon and garlic green beans

- 1 hour and 20 minutes of walking completed in two outings (1 hour and 5 minutes long and 15 minutes long)
- 2 sets of 15 lunges for each leg
- 2 sets of 15 squats


  1. You're so right about fast food. It can be a horrible trap if we let it. :)

  2. You are exactly right on all fronts. I have a fast food post for later this week, and I come to much the same conclusion as you have.

    It's so good that you have really analyzed this, and found the truth.

  3. Hi there! I'm a new reader!! Your blog is great and I wish you luck on your journey. It takes a lot of courage to get out of the bad habits, and into the good ones!

    I used to make the same excuse about eating fast food. When I was single, I ate it at least 2 times a day. When I met my boyfriend, I started cooking with him and stopped late night fast food runs. One day, he looked at me and said you've lost weight. He was right....I'd lost 20 pounds without thinking about it. Due to the fact that I stopped eating fast food!

  4. crap....blogger ate my comment.

    Basically I said that you are very right and that when it's just me and the kids and the hubby is working, it's quicker and easier to eat healthy in my opinion!!

  5. Well said. Excuses like that are flimsy, when you really stand back and look at the situation. You hit the nail on the head.

  6. Hi. This is really good. We should stop making excuses and start taking action. I am starting a small activity called Project 31 and I wish you could participate Its to help people go through changes. You can read it at my blog.

  7. I totally agree with you. Sometimes it is just unavoidable but there are smarter choices.

  8. Great reading! My problem is not fast food but portion size. I will pick healthier foods over fast food any day. My portions were out of control and that is why I put the weight on. I can not blame this weight on fast food at all. So I have learned to control my portions and that is why my weight is dropping We must be in control and care at all times.

  9. As with the other commenters, I completely agree with you. There are healthier options out there at practically every fast food joint. Sounds like he was just giving a flimsy excuse to continue to eat bad stuff.

  10. I agree with you! I used to travel 4 days per week for work and that was my excuse to eat horrible. The reality is, I just didn't try very hard. Once healthy eating is a priority, you will make time to either plan or at least learn enough about to nutrition to make good decisions when in a time pinch. I don't have children but I want to get this eating/exercising thing in check before I do because I don't want to pass on these habits to anyone else. Great post!

  11. Right on.

    Let's not kid ourselves, having extra time does make things easier. But, a lack of time alone is not enough to push the scale upwards. We need to be complicit and let it happen.

  12. Thanks for all the comments everyone... your input and remarks are invaluable to me!

  13. What you said is absolutely spot on. There ARE healthier options. People eat fast food because they love it (like me), not because they're forced into only bad options.

    That was the hardest thing for me to overcome was the fast food addiction. I think I've got it pretty much under control now, but make no mistake, I've had to tell myself "no" 1,000 times in the last 3 months. Such a bad, bad habit. Serious habit.

    You're doing a great job with your eating and your exercise. I really need to raise my exercise level and get with the program like you are...thank you for the inspiration! :)

  14. My family used to eat a lot of fast food and I too made a lot of excuses for why we did it, but it was totally all about binging (at least for me -- my kids just wanted the toys!). It does take more work to eat healthier (or at least when all the meals are homecooked), but you're absolutely right that there are always other options available, even at fast food places. I am so thankful for those other options when my best laid plans fall apart! :-)