Thursday, January 1, 2015

January Challenge: Fast Food Free

In a month with 31 days, I worked 20 overnight shifts. That's about twice as many as I normally work. I'm thankful for the hours, experience, and paycheck, but it has pushed me further into a nasty habit I have been forming -- buying fast food.

Image found here
I have not tracked my spending on fast food in the past month but I know I have gone far too often on my way to a shift to get a coffee or a meal and I have even stopped on my way home from nightshifts and grabbed a breakfast taco once or twice this past month. Not to mention running into the corner store to grab a snack. It adds up, and not just in money but in inches around my waist. 

We all know that fast food is one of the worst choices in terms of nutrition. Sure, it's getting "better" with revised food items and posting calories for all to see, etc. But, the food is usually still greasy, packed with sodium, and fatty. Not to mention the use of frozen (rather than fresh) ingredients and plenty of fillers. Fast food is not providing me with the same nutrients as food I could prepare myself which means I'm not going to be as healthy and could also contribute to weight gain. 

The quality of the food and its affects on my health is not my only complaint. Fast food is also expensive. Whether its feeding a family of four or if it's just for a single person (like me), fast food can actually cost twice as much as making the meal at home. For someone who needs to penny pinch, preparing food from the grocery store is actually the cheaper option! 

So in order to try to break myself from this lazy, unhealthy, money-wasting habit, I'm going fast food free for one month (and this includes my corner store stops as that is food on the go that I purchase due to poor planning/convenience).

That includes everything from McDonald's to Starbucks. I can still go sit down at a restaurant with family or friends, but I can't stop when I am alone and on the run. Nope. I will have to wait until I get home or pack my own food before leaving the house. I'll even have to brew my own coffee (gasp). 

In order to achieve this goal, I will have to take extra steps of planning and preparation:

1. Grocery shopping. I detest grocery shopping and I think part of the reason is when I'm checking out because it feels like I am spending a lot of money on food. But, knowing that I can actually save money in the long-run by planning meals ahead makes me feel better about the grocery bill. 

2. Cooking. I don't cook much, not because I don't like it but because of time. Well, looks like I'm going to have to make time (at least this month). I can't let the nightshifts and crazy schedule keep me from providing the best meals for my body. 

3. Packing. I can't wait until I need to leave for work to think about food. I need to prepare and pack food ahead of time and have it ready to grab and go. 

I don't expect this challenge to be an easy one for me because fast food is so convenient (and often delicious). But, perhaps by taking a one month break from drive thrus and corner stores, I will develop new food preparation and eating habits while craving the junk less. 

Do you love your fast food? Or do you prefer to cook at home? 

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