Saturday, May 18, 2013
I’ve heard people refer to visiting a fast food restaurant as an occasional “treat.” Perhaps it’s because I was never a fan of fries, but I never put their food and “treat” in the same sentence. Cheesecake to me is a treat and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream or even the authentic Mexican food of my local restaurant, but not the menu at the “Big 3.”
Still, I cannot and will never be able to say I NEVER patronize fast food establishments.
Although I don’t consider it a “treat,” I do find it to be a necessary convenience.
I admire anyone who plans so well in advance that they never have need of these places, but although I consider myself quite an organized person, that’s a level of perfection I’ve never been able to attain.
Back in the old days when my children were growing up, we would often find ourselves far from home and hungry after some event such as a swim meet in another town. Sometimes far flung errands took longer than anticipated and we needed to eat something.
Here’s a recent example. My weekly choral rehearsal is in a city about 1 hour away. I’m not hungry before I leave. It’s just too early for me to eat dinner, but I know I won’t get through the 2 hour practice without eating something and then there’s the drive home.
Even if I packed food from home, I’d have to eat it in my car in the parking lot. This is not the way I want to begin my evening. Enter the convenience of fast food.
So I accept that there are still going to be times when I need food and I need it fast. My goal is to choose as healthy an option as possible. When salads were introduced by the major chains, that seemed to be the obvious choice.
Eventually, I realized how little I was getting for my money. Basically they were selling me a big dish of lettuce with a few tiny pieces of tomato and cucumber. As for the chicken, when I started counting, there were 4 – 5 little pieces. I was paying $5-$6 for that. DH, ordering off the “Dollar Menu,” gets a whole pile of food in front of him for less cost.
Now those of you who know my efforts to change the choices of the “Junk Food King” realize that I’m not advocating adopting his diet in order to save money. Still, why am I being taken advantage of like this?
I suppose the companies would point out economies of scale. They can afford to sell DH’s favorites cheaper because so many people buy them. Yet iceberg lettuce is the cheapest “vegetable” you can buy and they already stock it along with tomatoes to top off their burgers. They sell chicken sandwiches, sometimes even on the dollar menu so how expensive can it be to chop a few pieces into my salad?
Since I haven’t had a very recent experience, I’ve visited the McDonald’s website to see what salads were still being offered. The pictures look a lot more appetizing than what I remember. Maybe they photographed them with all the chicken on top?
Perhaps they realize that anyone ordering a salad in their establishment has a different goal beyond satisfying their hunger. We want to eat as healthily as possible. Then does this create an opportunity to make some extra profit? That is their right, after all. I just want to be clear about it.
Many sparkers have written about how much more expensive it is to buy healthy food than junk. I don’t have the answers only my own solution. That’s usually a Veggie Delight or oven-roasted chicken at Subway when convenience is necessary and this month that’s only $3.00.