Healthy choices while eating out on a budget!

Author : teriann

Ever wonder why healthy food is often more expensive than their less healthy counterparts? Consider for example the options we have for lunch on a budget.  There is fast food, which is usually very affordable with a variety of the main staples chicken and fries.

The menu options in a fast food restaurant is usually dipped in oil and smothered in sauce that is high in salt. It certainly tastes good, but over time it can wreak havoc on your health.

Fast food costs

The average chicken meal at a fast food restaurant ranges between $400 to $500.  However if you want to add on side dishes it can end up costing over $1000.

Some fast food giants encourage their customers to order larger quantities with a minimal cost added to the bill.

Healthier Options – Why so expensive?

Of course since most persons know that fast food is not the best option health wise, they often try other places such as restaurants where the meals are done to order.  This way there is some control about how the meal is prepared. Customers can request low salt or add healthier side dishes.

The challenge is that you have to be prepared to dig deep in your pocket. I recently found an excellent place that did wraps and salad with a wide variety of healthy ingredients such as farm fresh vegetables, hummus and assorted nuts and fruits.

However after seeing the prices, I realized that the establishment seemed to be catering for a particular type of customer as the prices were between $1800 and $3000. I began to wonder why does ‘healthy’ have to equate to ‘expensive’?

Healthy food in the long run saves you money. If you eat food that is nutritious, there are less doctor and hospital visits. So employees stay in their jobs and take less sick days. That in of itself is a reason to ensure that the entire population has access to healthier food options when eating out.

It is obvious that cooking meals at home with ingredients bought from a local market is ideal, however the vast majority of Jamaicans do not have that option and have to rely on what they can purchase on the road.

Healthy choices – on a budget!

I have a few suggestions on how you can eat healthy while keeping to a budget. Even fast food options offer salads or mashed potatoes as side dishes. It is usually at an affordable cost so make it the main part of your meal.

In other to ‘spice’ up the salad I suggest adding pepper flakes or nuts. Ask for the mashed potato without the usually greasy and salty gravy.

If your fast food place has grilled options that is a better choice than fried and if you do choose fried removing the skin before consuming the chicken is always a good plan.

If you approach your eating habits with discipline it is easier to make better choices. So ignore the temptation to ‘supersize’ your order.

So what’s your take? How do you save money and eat healthy while dining out? Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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2 Responses to “Healthy choices while eating out on a budget!”

  1. Addie Bridges-Hunt says:

    Great piece! I try to keep something in my bag, power bars, fruit, in case I can’t find a vegetarian option. I would add to always ask about ALL ingredients especially what oils are used. Again, great advice.

  2. teriann says:

    Hey Addie,
    Thanks for reading and commenting on my post. Good idea about asking about ingredients. Keep visiting!!

    Teri Ann

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