Let’s face it, going out to eat can get expensive, especially if you’re like me & live in Hawaii! It doesn’t really matter which part of the country you live in, we all share one dining similarity in common…cheap and easy fast food restaurants. If it seems like there is one on every corner, it’s probably because there actually is one on every corner. Even if you never stepped foot in a fast food restaurant, you can’t get away from the marketing on billboards, the radio, and T.V. commercials. Most people can probably finished the jingle “Five, five dollar, five dollar foot ___” and ever since Subway started their campaign for twelve inches of meat, cheese, and bread for $5, other fast food joints have jumped on the bandwagon to stay competitive. How about the $5 KFC Big Crunch box anyone? Or does the $5 Buck Box ring a Taco Bell? I honestly said aloud “really?” when I saw that Jack-In-The-Box now offered a five dollar combo with both a double cheeseburger AND a taco included. I encourage people to think about what they are really getting when they decide to order these “most food you can get for $5″ meals. Although you will be getting a full belly, you’ll also be getting a huge dose of calories, fat, and sodium. It is important to know that eating this way, even if it’s just once a week (based on swapping a more normal 500 calorie meal for one of the below meals), can lead to weight gain and health issues in the long run.
While reading the information below, keep in mind the daily nutrition recommendations from The American Heart Association for a 2,000 calorie/day diet are around 66g total fat, <15.5g saturated fat, and <1500mg sodium daily.
Jack in the Box:
Jack in the Box has a new deal. Only $3.99 for their BLT combo consisting of a 20oz soda, BLT Cheeseburger, and small fries. THANK HEAVENS it is a small order of fries, because when you down this meal, you are already eating 1500 calories!
Totals: 1500 calories, 78 g total fat, 28.5g saturated fat, 2,450mg sodium*
I was happy to see that on their website, Jack in the Box had recommendations for lower fat and lower sodium meals. However, the list included options like a 25g fat Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich, which should hardly be considered low-fat and at 890mg of sodium the Chicken Sandwich is already over half your day’s recommended salt intake.
Kentucky Fried Chicken:
This $5 Big Crunch Box contains three extra crispy chicken strips with dipping sauce, a side of potato wedges, a biscuit and a medium drink. This box of tan food might taste good, but with over an entire days worth of sodium I doubt it will make you feel good. To put things into perspective, one teaspoon of salt has 2,300mg sodium, so forget the cinnamon challenge, eating the Big Crunch Box is like opening wide for a nice heaping teaspoon of table salt. Finger licking good!
Totals: 1160 calories, 49g total fat, 13g saturated fat, 2,250mg sodium*
If you’ve decided to “think outside the bun” maybe you’ve dived into a Five Buck Box from Taco Bell. For your money you get a medium drink, a Crunchy Taco Supreme, Burrito Supreme Taco, and to top it off another Crunchy Beef Taco. If you’re going to eat this for one meal, better load up on fruits and veggies for the rest of the day, because you’ve already eaten you entire days worth of saturated fat!
Totals: 1050 calories, 37g total fat, 15g saturated fat, 1800mg sodium*
After a carbohydrate filled meal of pizza and bread sticks, what could be better? Pizza Hut decided the answer to that question was more simple carbs! The $10 meal deal from Pizza Hut features a medium pepperoni pizza, five bread sticks with marinara sauce, and ten cinnamon sticks with icing dip. They’ve taken the $5 meal to a new high, calorie high that is. If you shared this box deal with a friend, you’d each be consuming over 2,000 calories. Even if this box deal was split four ways, each person would be eating over 40g of fat.
Totals (calculated @ 2 servings/box): 2,185 calories, 85g total fat, 32g saturated fat, 5,035 mg sodium
Totals (calculated @ 4 servings/box) 1,092 calories, 62.5g total fat, 16g saturated fat, 2,518mg sodium
I know the recession has hurt people financially and changed society’s perception and expectations for value. However, I continue to encourage consumers to question what the real value of the food they are eating is and think about how what may seem cost effective now may actually cost them later.
*Nutrition facts from 20oz regular soda used for totals
“Nutrition.” Jack in the Box -. Web. 07 Apr. 2012. <http://www.jackinthebox.com/nutrition/>.
“Nutrition – KFC.com.” Welcome to KFC.com. Web. 07 Apr. 2012. <http://www.kfc.com/nutrition/>.
“NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION.” Pizza Hut. Web. 07 Apr. 2012. <http://www.pizzahut.com /nutritioninformation.html>.
“Taco BellÂ® | Taco Bell Nutrition Guide.” Taco BellÂ®. Web. 07 Apr. 2012. <http://www.tacobell.com/nutrition>.