Restaurants such as In-N-Out, Taco Bell and McDonald’s offer healthy alternatives to their otherwise trans-fat-dense menu items, and Americans are taking the changes in-stride.
McDonald’s recently launched an Egg White Delight sandwich as a healthier alternative to the Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich. The Egg White Delight has 250 calories and seven grams of fat, while the Egg McMuffin has 290 calories and 12 grams of fat. These 40 calories and five grams of fat may not mean life or death, but months and years of replacing an Egg McMuffin with the Egg White Delight can improve one’s health.
In-N-Out is also branding a healthy alternative: the protein-style hamburger, which uses lettuce in place of a bun. Choosing a protein-style burger in place of a traditional burger saves a minimum of 150 calories and gives one the health benefits that come from eating more vegetables and less white bread.
Eliminating 100 calories per day will eliminate 36,500 calories per year and result in a minimum 10-pound weight loss, according to Fitness Magazine.
Some Americans are choosing to eat lighter because of the way it improves many facets of their lives.
When given the choice between a bean and cheese burrito and a turkey sandwich, Brandon Buchanan, an accounting major from Centerville, said he is likely to choose the sandwich every time.
“I feel like greasy fast food weighs me down,” Buchanan said. “I choose things like Subway because it helps me feel better.”
Healthy menus may cost more financially, but sources say the pinch now provides for benefits in the future.
“Honestly, in the long run, I feel better when I eat healthier,” said Ryan Davis, an ancient Near Eastern studies major from Sacramento, California, even if it might be more expensive.”
Eating healthier may add an extra $550 in expenses each year, but the costs that unhealthy eating will bring later in life are more restraining.
“This price difference is very small in comparison to the economic costs of diet-related chronic diseases, which would be dramatically reduced by healthy diets,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, of the Harvard Medical School. “Hidden health costs like our global obesity epidemic and the food-related public health issues of heart disease, diabetes and cancer are certainly not included in the cost of your fast food meal.”