Why Do We Eat Fast Food and How Can We Avoid It?

We all know it's bad for us. We hear the endless references to it when experts tell us what NOT to eat. We know it's one of the leading causes of obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol. So why exactly do we continue to eat fast food even when we know it's terrible for us? Here are a few quick tips for overcoming our fast food addiction.


1. Fast Food is FAST Food


Well yeah, that's kind of implied in the name right? The pace of life has never been faster, with most of us on the go with our jobs and our kids, and we feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day to take the time to make a good home cooked meal.


While it's true that there isn't enough time to make a huge, thanksgiving style, feast every day but not all home cooked meals force us to slave over a hot stove for hours. The key to having time to make dinner is planning. Make a schedule of meals for the week, go to the store and buy everything you need. When you have everything you need in front of you, meals don't take nearly as long.


2. Fast Food Is Cheaper


This is more of a lunchtime problem, but if you're low on cash the fast food chains offer dozens of quick, cheap meals, but you pay for it with high cholesterol and loads of sugar. For example, the McDonalds dollar menu (in my area) offers a double cheeseburger, a McChicken sandwich (fried), Chicken McNuggets or two apple pies for $1 each. None of those items have less than 12 grams of fat!


The perception here is that a decent meal costs way more to make, but does it really? Perhaps it is, but it isn't cheaper by much. A turkey sandwich and a bag of low salt pretzels is a much smarter choice and can be had for less than $2.50 a day. The fast food dollar menu may be slightly cheaper but your health is worth more than an extra few cents isn't it?


3. It's Hard To Eat Healthy On The Road


Whether traveling for work or for pleasure, we just don't eat right on the road. People tend to eat at restaurants they recognize and the fast food chains that you see on every other street corner are often the first stop. On top of that, without a kitchen it's hard to prepare a good meal. I'll admit, this one is tough to overcome, but it's not impossible.


I always tend to eat poorly while I'm traveling, but I have found that packing healthier snacks like low salt pretzels, apple slices, oranges or granola bars keeps me from crashing the fast food windows as often, and I don't feel like a ball of flub after I eat them. If you are traveling for more than a few days, inquire about the availability of a refrigerator in the hotel room and find a local grocery store. If you are forced to eat out, avoiding fried foods and mayonnaise when possible can make a world of difference.


4. Fast Food Tastes Better


This one is a total misconception. Fast food chains entice us with whatever they can to get us to buy their products, but with all the money spent on commercials and pictures of a delicious looking food, does it ever really taste that good? Personally, I am almost always disappointed with the quality and feel like I have a brick in my stomach when I'm finished eating it.


If fast food tastes better than your home cooked meals, it's time to get more adventurous with your food. Try some new recipes or add new spices to your meals, and try not to make the same thing too often. Being repetitive with your meals will become boring fast and force you right back in to the rut of eating bad food.

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