Why Is Choosing Healthy So Hard?

June 24, 2015   26 Comments

When I started Snack Girl in 2009, I found that it was hard to find healthy choices.

Why Is Choosing Healthy So Hard?

Here we are in 2015, and McDonald’s is serving kale – probably nationwide. I saw the Asian salad with baby kale outside of Boston and I heard it was in Texas so maybe it is next to you. McDonald’s did not answer my e-mails about their salad.

There are great salad choices in Wendy’s and of course, you can find healthy options at Starbucks, Chipotle, and Panera.

I believe that fast food venues are listening to consumers who are ready to eat something other than a hamburger, fries and a large Coke. We are eating out more than we ever have. Many believe the increase in fast food, restaurant, and convenience meals is a major factor in the obesity epidemic.

What would happen if those meals were healthy? If you think about it, a salad is form of fast food. I found a salad place in the Newark airport years ago that would create a salad for me in 2 minutes flat as I ran for my plane.

Wendy’s makes the salads to order so you can ask for changes such as “no cheese” and it arrives as fast or faster than a burger.

The big issue for many is price. You pay $4 or so for a Baconator and $7 for a Strawberry Fields Salad. Chipotle’s salads are also $7, no where near as cheap as the Dollar Menu. Don’t get me started on how much a fresh sandwich is at Panera!

The healthier choices cost about twice as much when compared to the high salt, high fat, and meaty burgers that you probably would like more. You have to use willpower and not look too closely at your bank account to choose the healthier option.

Why should you choose it? These are a couple of ideas to help you on the way to the healthier choice:

  • Think about how you feel after you eat that burger. Do you feel good or a wee bit sick to your stomach?
  • Watch open heart surgery videos on YouTube and picture the cost of medical bills and medication to deal with your clogged arteries.
  • Be a role model for your children as you take care of your health as they demand a Frosty.

You deserve the higher priced item because it will support you in your goals to be healthy.

Buy higher quality food and you will feel better, look better, and I promise you will save money on your long term health.

What stops you from ordering the worst choices when you are eating out?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 26 )

You can pay the grocer, or you can pay the doctor!

You can't eat a salad with one hand.

You don't get that endorphine rush when eating a salad.

You dont' get that guilty feeling when eating a salad.

It takes too long to eat a salad.

So maybe that explains why it's so hard? It sure is hard for me. I struggle every day with every choice - and rarely visit fast food restaurants because that's just like putting an alcoholic in a bar. Go ahead - make a good choice. You may for a while...but it seems eventually you get worn down and make a poor time I'l do better? Hopefully.

We shouldn't be asking ourselves why healthy food is so expensive, we should be asking why junk food is so cheap.

Being a vegetarian, I rarely go to fast food restaurants. Always scared I'm going to get sick and most of the salads (at least in Canada) have meat in them. I prefer to make my fries at home because they taste better and are healthier. I can season them any way I want. Not too salty and I can add other spices besides salt and pepper. I have an Actifry so it's quick and easy. But I know if I have fast food fries once in awhile (and I can't remember that last time I had them) isn't going to kill me. But I do like the frosty.

For years after I stopped eating fast food I'd still be sucked in by the commercials or other food images. Suddenly it just turned around for me. I don't find those images enticing any more. I respond to images of healthy and fresher foods now. That said, I never totally got rid of my obsession with french fries but now they're just an occasional treat.

A little off track, but I have always appreciated the fact that everything on Seasons 52's menu was under 475 calories. It was my restaurant of choice for a nice lunch (a little pricey) with a friend or business associate. Disappointed to learn that concept has gone by the instead they list calorie counts on their menu for everything but some items go as high as 770 calories. I always felt justified in paying a little more for healthier choices but they have now changed the game.

I agree with Ben. Healthy food is the true cost. The junk food is heavily government subsidized and therefore cheaper.

And healthy is relative. If you compare the calorie counts of the healthy junk food, they are still higher than if you make the food at home, not to mention higher in sodium, carbs, fat...

The healthy options are more expensive so it always makes me chuckle when I hear that fast food executives say that people don't buy the healthy so that is why they don't offer a huge selection! Maybe, they don't order it because of the price. It is easy to order the more expensive if you have money but what about the single mom with 4 kids? Fast food is probably the closest they come to a restaurant and ordering the most inexpensive items is probably all they can afford. Unfortunately, we these people become overweight and have health problems, it becomes all of our problems in that we pay for the health care cost.

I'm pretty perturbed with Wendy's. They can say all day long that the salads are made to order, but a couple weeks ago I ordered a salad with no tomatoes. The manager heard my order and (quite condescendingly) said to me: "they're pre-made." It frustrates me that these places aren't willing to accommodate dietary needs. I know there's only so much they can do and still be "fast" food, but a little consideration goes a long way.

When I was much younger I ate fast food pretty much any time I needed a quick meal and never thought twice about it. I did switch to Subway at one point because it was cheaper and around when Jared came out with his weight loss. However, once I started healthy living and cutting it out of my diet, it made a world of difference and now when I get a craving I think of how I will feel after eating it and that stops me and I move on to something else. But when it is hot out and or you need something quick, the drive thru is very tempting. I am a french fry fiend but now I only eat them at certain places where I know they are good and consider it a treat and not a must have.

A Treacly Situation.

My husband and I don't eat out as often as we used to and when we do it's at a set down restaurant, but during the course of my work week I do stop at McDonalds. Only in the morning and I get a medium black coffee. Occasionally I'll get a yogurt parfait. I have tried their Asian salad, but I made it at home a lot cheaper. I will not lie once in a great great while I'll get a small fry. I never never get a hamburger. My work place did the experiment where we left a McDonalds hamburger out on top of a file cabinet for 3 months and it never spoiled. Looked the same as the day we bought it. That did it for me.

I don't choose the salads because the pre-washed stuff gives me a stomach ache. I am also afraid of food-borne illness with a salad. We rarely eat out, for many reasons, so when we do, we just choose whatever we want at the time.

Choosing to be healthy isn't hard if your committed to your choice! Deluged with temptation takes commitment. Because our government does not put any stops on corporate profit over its citizen's health & well-being (as other countries do), we must be more committed to fight so-called "normal" food offerings.

This still very relevant video by Peter Jennings on Food Industry/Government Involvement might encourage more commitment to healthy eating habits.

Play it for your family, play it while you make dinner, its 5-parts and very good! :)

What's wrong with Panera bread sandwiches? Did I miss something? I know they are trying to change their menu and remove all artificial flavors. Just curious because I love to eat there. In fact that is one of the few places I eat fast food from. I will always stand behind you are what you eat. If it was easy everyone would be fit and healthy. People have to realize it takes a lot of effort to eat healthy and stay fit.

Keep the good information coming! Generally, I try to eat healthy & at home during the week, but do like to eat out on the weekends - but more in restaurants, not fast food. However, good to know how to evaluate the options! Sometimes a salad sounds healthy, but isn't - i.e. just looked up Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad on - 29 WW points - Yikes! I knew the small quesadilla didn't make it the healthiest choice, but never thought it would have over 1200 calories!

It's only hard for me when I'm with my friends. When I'm by myself then I'm ok. If I do choose something unhealthy. I don't get upset with myself. I acknowledge it, and I move on. Some days I need non healthy cheesy Mac and cheese and I will have it. Sometimes I'll have a sandwich with white bread it's not the end of the world. I think that if more people who struggle with eating healthy would look up some recipes or even go to restaurants known for healthy foods then they may have a better relationship with it.

Stacey if you like Panera bread keep eating it until you hear or read good reasons why you shouldn't.

Gina, I hear what your saying. Non of the fast food places salads are made on site. That's why I don't eat them. Waaay back like 3 years ago I went to Carl's Jr. and got a salad with chicken, Oh it was a Chicken Club salad and I asked for no onions and they told me the same ting and the girl said, Well it's big O-ring type onion so you can just take it off. I just rolled my eyes and said fine, but I never bought another fast food salad again.

eating healthy is good, but if you cheat once in awihile it's okay. why would i go to a fast food place to eat salad?

Food is meant to be sustenance. We need food to live, healthy food, fresh food.

Instead, food has become an obsession, with its own channels, its own weekly and daily shows. It is the focus in evry form of media, with contests that include all ages and all types of food.

it is no wonder we are the fattest nation, and getting fatter.

TV hosts, thin as rails, are required to do back flips over a chocolate cake made by the ‘chef of the day'. They MUST eat and go absolutely crazy with enthusiasm, with everyone tasting and oohing and ahhhhing over every bite. It is obvious that they would prefer healthy food, like they eat at home.

It makes me sick. I am a therapist, and I work with people every day on their food and weight issues. It is a very bad idea, if one is trying not to spend money, to watch the shopping channels or go to the mall every day.

When it comes to healthy eating, it is important to spend the MINIMUM amount of time thinking about, shopping for, preparing, eating and talking about food. It just takes a segment on TV about making pizza, and we go from 'still full from lunch' to 'craving a pizza'. That is how our minds work. With that stimuli, we do not need to be hungry, but we can talk ourselves into being hungry.

The emphasis on food is the main reason that Americans are so overweight, in my opinion. If the food tastes too good, it is harder to take one helping. Average tasting food, with average size helpings and minimal thoughts about food is the healthiest choice.

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