As a young American busy with schoolwork and personal obligations, I have found that it is extremely difficult to eat healthy foods conveniently on a daily basis. Even for someone like me, a college student with no family or job to worry about, I find it hard to take the time to learn about, buy and prepare meals that are healthy. It is much easier to open a bag of Doritos or toss a frozen pizza into the oven than it is to buy healthy foods and take the time to correctly prepare them. Also, finding the desire to eat rice cakes or low-carb chips when I could be eating cupcakes and potato chips proves exceedingly difficult.
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Not only is convenience at home a disaster for college students but the convenience of fast-food joints and restaurants is hard to resist. While driving home from a long, tiring day of school, a student spots a Carl’s Jr. restaurant on the side of the road. Not looking forward to cooking a meal when they first step into the front door, the student will undoubtedly stop at the fast-food joint and get a bite to eat. For just five bucks and a few minutes of waiting in a drive-thru line you get a tasty meal and a soda when you would otherwise spend twenty or thirty minutes on your feet in front of a hot stove cooking some meal that would not taste half as good. For the exhausted person just looking to get their stomach full, it’s a no-brainer.
What about someone with more responsibilities than a regular college student? What about a single mother with a few kids coming home from a long day of work? She walks in the door after her eight-hour shift, looking to relax and spend some quality time hearing about her children’s day, or maybe she comes from work to a messy home that she must clean up before going to bed. Certainly she has little time and patience to cook a healthy meal (or any meal, for that matter) that her children will surely reject. Would not it be easier and time-saving for that mother to seek an outside establishment to take care of dinner, possibly taking her kids out to eat at a fast-food place? Surely a single mom-assuming she could afford it-would rather order a pizza or head to McDonald’s for dinner, allowing her to relax and spend some time with her now pleased children. Very convenient.
But certainly these are all excuses; nothing is stopping most Americans from preparing good, healthy meals for themselves and their families besides themselves. A college student could certainly reject a fast-food joint and head home to prepare a meal for themselves, but it just is not convenient. A single mother could put down the telephone and forget about the pizza while she makes her children a healthy meal, but she has not the time nor patience to cook a meal only to be rewarded with her children’s fiery objections to the meal provided for them. It is simply more convenient for a mother to order that pizza and spend happy, quality time with their children. If convenience for healthy foods cannot be provided, this trend of bad eating habits will continue in America.
So what could possibly help the problem of bad eating habits in America? Some restaurants such as Subway are offering low-fat meals in hopes of helping people lose weight (and gaining profits, of course) and eat healthier. But have you ever been inside of a sandwich shop, especially during a busy hour? It feels like an eternity standing in line, waiting for people in front of you to be served, and once you do finally get someone available to help you, it is a time-consuming process for the employee to make your sandwich; if you order two or more sandwiches, prepare to be in line all day long. And, as anyone who has ordered a sandwich, chips and a drink knows, sandwich places are not cheap. It is so much easier to run across the street to a fast-food joint with a drive-thru window, where it takes just a few minutes of sitting comfortably inside your car to get your cheaply-priced (in comparison) food. Imagine someone on their lunch hour-or half hour, even-trying to fit in both their banking and food. Do you think that person has time to stop at the bank, grab a meal at a sandwich place, eat it and be back at their job on-time? Unlikely.
We must make healthier food places more accessible and convenient for the mainstream consumer in America. And also, it has to taste good! Low-carb foods taste like trash, and only those who are into health and fitness will suffer through the taste in order to keep themselves healthy. Our country must find a way to make healthier foods taste better and more accessible to the public by way of quick drive-thrus and lower prices. If Subway’s low-fat sandwiches could be had for a cheaper price quickly in a drive-thru, their poularity would skyrocket and if other healthier food stores followed their lead, America would become a healthier, happier nation.