As many people lead busy lives, the immediate availability of such things as fast food, or junk food, have led most to seek convenience in food rather than emphasizing nourishment. The “on-the-go” attitude towards food that many people readily defend as being cheaper and more convenient has allowed us to become self-enablers to unhealthy habits. A large majority of the popular arguments for eating fast food or junk food are merely excuses to knowingly consume unhealthy food. Rather than reflexively defending not-so-healthy habits, initiating the transition away from convenience junk food could mean all the difference when it comes to our wallets, and more importantly our health. Making a healthy diet the “cool” choice is the incentive most likely to have people encouraging one another to eat nutritionally.
The article “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?” by Mark Bittman, author of multiple award-winning cookbooks and New York Times food journalist, expresses that junk food is not cheaper than groceries. The reality is that most people can afford to choose a home-cooked meal over fast food. He compares “a typical order for a family of four at McDonald’s—for example, two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two small sodas . . .” which could cost about twenty-eight dollars, to a much healthier home-cooked meal of a “roasted chicken with vegetables along with a simple salad and milk”, which would cost around fourteen dollars and reasonably feed four to six people (660).
As one of five children of a single mother, I have been highly involved in planning monthly food budgets to feed six people as well as preparing meals. One of our recent go-to meals edia. Websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube are helping to initiate said cultural change by popularizing healthier recipe options, making them appealing and convenient. Control over the quality and variety of food is easier when shopping for ingredients to a recipe rather than eating out.
Ultimately, whether the excuse for consuming fast food is budgetary, or out of convenience, it remains just that: an excuse. Fast food is not cheaper than ingredients for a more nutritional meal by any standard and the benefits of a nutrient-rich diet far exceed the comforts of a convenient meal. Some cultural change has been initiated by health-conscious individuals who share delicious recipes on social media websites, but keeping nutrition popular will be a necessary motivational factor in inciting a culture of health appeal, rather than a culture of junk food fanatics.