- Author: Brad Miller
Being an average American, I enjoy the occasional fast food splurge. To me, the convenience is just too hard to resist from time to time. And when you’re in the mood, whose mouth doesn’t water over chicken nuggets and French fries? But, at the end of the day, most people understand that the negative health effects of fast food outweigh the low prices. However, in my experience, fast food does not save money by any means, either. In fact, frequently eating out may not only lead to a heavier body weight, but a lighter wallet.
For the majority of my experience with fast food, which is a little more extensive than I care to admit, I have never questioned that I was getting a good deal. A burger, fries, and a drink for five or six dollars was hard to beat, I thought. However, after leaving for college and living on a budget, my mind started to change. In the first few months living on a budget, I ate out many times a week. At the end of the month, I was scavenging for my meals, being left with pennies and dimes. After a while of this eating routine, I was forced to look elsewhere for food besides Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Jack in the Box.
This quest led me to a mysterious place called the grocery store. Quickly, I noticed how grocery shopping kept my wallet happy. It became cheaper to buy a dozen eggs that would account for several meals for $1.50 than one breakfast burrito for $5.50. A $10.00 bag of twenty burger patties is more economical than a double-double at In-N-Out for $4.00. While eating fast food is usually five or six dollars per meal, by my estimates, grocery shopping costs closer to two or three dollars per meal.
Many people opt for fast food not only for the money they believe to save, but also for the taste. However, places like Trader Joe’s offer many healthy options that do not skimp on taste, either. While browsing through Trader Joe’s it is easy to find meals that look more appetizing, inexpensive, and better for you than those at a fast food joint. The local farmer’s market is also a useful resource for cheap and delicious food.
Granted, I am not swearing off fast food in any way, shape, or form. Chipotle was the first love of my life. However, thinking economically, I now much rather prefer the grocery store.
For further reading relating to economic consequences of fast food, I suggest perusing this article about an interesting study done by UC Davis listed below
- Author: Brad Miller
Hello, my name is Brad Miller. I am a new social media intern and will be contributing to the ANR blogs this summer. My mother, Susana, is an employee of the University of California Cooperative Extension office and has been a registered dietitian since before I was born. This meant that I grew up in a house a little different than that of most kids. Ever since I was a toddler, I have had a sweet tooth. But because of Mom being a dietitian, I was rarely satisfied with my not-so-sugary diet. While other kids were allowed to have Lucky Charms, Sunny D, and Lunchables, I was stuck with wheat bread, whole grain Cheerios, and carrots. I would always complain that my friends had “cool moms” who would feed them these delicious treats. It was hard for me as a kid to appreciate what my Mom was doing for me. As I grew up, the same kids who I had envied before became larger and larger as I maintained a healthy weight.
Recently, I began to realize the value of my diet and how lucky I really was. Two years ago, when I graduated from high school and moved on to college, I was finally on my own. This meant that I had control of many things in my life, including my diet. To be 18 years old and free to eat and drink whatever I wanted seemed great at first. I used my food money to fund a diet that would make my mother cringe. However, after about a year of Hot Pocket indulgences and limited exercise, I had an epiphany; this was not a healthy lifestyle. I had gained over ten pounds and had never been in worse shape in my whole life. I blame this transformation partially on Cal Poly’s campus dining, but mostly myself. The following year, I made it a goal to become a healthier person. I exercised more often and made an effort to reduce my Hot Pocket cravings. As a result, I lowered my weight to a manageable level and now feel less like a lazy couch potato.
My first year at college taught me many things, but most importantly, how I should not eat the things that I would have loved to eat growing up. My mother’s meals never tasted better when I visited home. Never would I complain again about carrots and whole grains, instead I would embrace them. My mom was the real “cool mom” I just never realized it when I was little. To be in a position as a child that forced me to eat healthier than most kids was truly a blessing.
- Author: Rose Hayden-Smith
UCCE Ventura County is delighted to introduce Brad Miller, our social media intern, who will be blogging for our office during the summer months.
Brad is a junior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he is majoring in Graphic Communication. He has completed courses such as graphic design, business management, and printing and will be taking additional classes in file preparation and web design in the future. A native of Ventura and a graduate of Ventura High School, Brad loves the beach and is a superb swimmer. Brad enjoys playing basketball and being back with his family for the summer.
Look for Brad’s blog beginning next week!