The calorie content of the average fast-food meal has changed drastically since the 1960’s when these establishments took off. Rather than bashing the fast-food industry, I aim to provide a fun, but serious fact about fast-food in this day-and-age, as well as, empowering you to more consciously pay attention to the food you select.
In the 1960’s an average fast food meal consisting of a hamburger, fries, and 12-oz cola provided 590 calories and today this same meal is 1,500 calories …or more.
Majority of us require no more than 2,000 calories, per day. 1,500 calories for one meal is a lot when put into perspective! But it’s more than just “calories” it’s what those calories are made of (nutritious vs. non-nutritious).
The super-sized meal is our countries idea of “value” and “savings.” I grew up being “treated” to fast-food a few times a month by my mom or parents of friends. I remember having the kid’s meal, and being SO excited for the toy! Sure this food had no nutritional value, but the experience is what I loved. While it’s the experience of eating food with no nutritional value is something I no longer wish to have, I realize that one day I’d like to encourage my own children to have healthier experiences. Fast-food was HUGE when the baby boomer generation grew up (1946-1964), and there wasn’t much to dislike about it. It was cheap, convenient, innovative, and a social experience among teens, children and families. There were also no signs of heart disease or other health complications associated with this type of food. Many parent-to-child relationships bask/ed in the experience of having a “happy meal” because it connects those from the baby boomer generation, generation X generation Y, and millennials in some way. It evokes wonderful memories of the parents childhood which is then shared in their own child’s upbringing. And this is exactly what the food industry wants you to tap into.
The point is, times are changing, and when someone says …”Whats really so bad about fast-food?” Maybe we should stop and think about the changing times. I’ll just come out and say it. I don’t think we should feed our youth or ourselves this food because the truth is, times are changing. The way meat is produced for fast-food chains is changing every year, and much of it is becoming nutritionally non-existent, and also pretty toxic. Soda is difficult on the bones, teeth, stomach, blood glucose levels, fat storage, etc., and french fries can become carcinogenic (cancerous) when fillers are added to them and cooked in oil which is from a cheap source and used again and again.
Right now we have access to great food! With healthier food options becoming more in demand, prices are dropping. A little savvy health conscious shopping goes a long way on a budget these days. Ask the dietitian for help getting started if you are interested. Plus, there are so many innovative ideas which sneak in healthier foods and taste great. I open this blog article to you as an opportunity to comment or email me for tips and suggestions.
It blew my mind to see 590 calories, jump to 1,500, for one meal. That’s a 900 calorie increase in fat, carbohydrates, sugar content, for the same meal (much bigger portion)!
Nutrition is a preventative measure to help you enjoy life as a healthy, thriving individual no matter what age or health status. Finding inspiration and feeling empowered to take control of your health is an incredible venture, and small, manageable changes is all it takes. You’ve just got to do your best. We’re not perfect, we are only human, but we do have more options available to us than we might think.
Health and wellness to you,