Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

Mark Bittman addresses the question “Is junk food really cheaper?” with graphic clarity in his op-ed column for the New York Times. Click on the image to see the comparison between the cost of a meal at McDonald’s for four and two home-cooked options. In comparing real food with fast food, Bittman used supermarket ingredients — taste the real difference by swapping out at least one of these ingredients with something fresh from the farmers’ market!

“Anything that you do that’s not fast food is terrific; cooking once a week is far better than not cooking at all,” says Marion Nestle, professor of food studies at New York University and author of “What to Eat.” “It’s the same argument as exercise: more is better than less and some is a lot better than none.” Read more…

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4 Comments

  1. Posted September 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Great post, Debra. Reminded me of a resource we shared at last winter’s SEL/NOFA-NH workshop: Shopping and Cooking from the Winter Farmers’ Markets. The pdf of “Feed Your Family of Four Dinner for 7 Days for only $70” (menu plan, shopping list, and recipes) is still available online… http://www.getwellgrounded.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Shopping-Cooking-Winter-Markets-workshop_7-dinners-for-4-for-70bucks.pdf

    • Debra
      Posted September 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the link, Jennifer — things got a little shuffled in the move to the new website, so it’s good to know this great resource is still easily accessible online!

  2. Posted September 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Interestingly, substituting a local chicken for the supermarket one would add about $20 to the chicken dinner total BUT translate to only about $5 more than the total McDonald’s meal.

    That said, a frugal cook would use the chicken bones to make a nourishing stock, then throw in leftover potatoes and meat from this meal plus some extra veggies … creating a completely different meal for mere pennies per person. That’s almost two healthy meals for the price of one fast food meal!

    • Debra
      Posted September 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      This is another great way of explaining how cooking at home makes shopping at the farmers’ market more affordable — thanks, Pam!

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