Years ago I was a fast food junkie. It was just so easy and convenient to grab breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the go. I was also busy at the time and didn’t know how to cook. How else was I going to get a hot meal? I stopped at Jack in the box, McDonald’s, Burger King, and when Aunt “Irma” visited Popeye’s. I wanted to stop eating fast food to become healthy and become kinder to my wallet. It wasn’t easy to stop but now I probably grab a fast food item maybe every other month. Usually it’s only a breakfast item. Here are some ways I wean myself off fast food:
1. Decide what meal you always had fast food and bring food for that meal instead. For me it was dinner. Dinner time was when I was working and McDonald’s was the place I walked to during lunch hour. I started out slowly replacing fast food dinner with meals I brought from home. First week I made dinner 2x. 2nd week I made dinner 3X and so on. There were weeks when I ate dinner at a fast food place 3X but the amount of savings made jumping back to making dinner again worth it.
2.Buy a nice thermal or vacuum pack lunch bag. You don’t need a bento style one (unless that is something you really want) but enough to fit 1 or two food containers. You don’t need a large lunch bag. One time my former boss was really excited with a fancy looking lunch bag she just bought but it was too big for our tiny refrigerator. For a while she kept having to remove EVERY food item before heading toward the sales floor. Eventually she just bought one of those easy to bend ones like I had.
3. Start bringing snacks. I started stocking up on granola bars, small bag of granola, chips, and fruits easy to pack and go. Even when I’m really on the run I always bring apples, string cheese, or yogurt. Then if I had to grab a fast food item it will be only a small sandwich I would grab or fries to eat with it.
4. Rationalize that you have food at home. Often after class I would feel I’d have to stop at Jack in the box for lunch. I was too tired to think of what to make. So I always reminded myself on the way home that I can cobble up something together even if it is just eggs or toast. You would be surprise what you would have at home. Because of this I threw out a lot less food by the end of the week.
5. Choose “healthier” alternatives to what you normally buy. I usually did this for breakfast. No more pancake sandwiches and I just got an egg mcmuffin. Ciaobatta sausage sandwich was replaced with a breakfast sandwich at Jack in the box. Usually I stuck with anything without sausage.
6. Notice how much energy you have than before. I notice I didn’t feel like crap 30 minutes later compared to when I was eating a burger and fries. I also notice fast food didn’t taste quite as good a I thought.
I think the last time I went for a fast food run was at Taco Bell. I bought twelve tacos (saved 6 for my husband) and it tasted good but I have to admit I felt like crap. I think it bloated me for a week. That feeling is what I focus on when I pass a fast food place. Just reminding myself of that feeling made me avoid fast food places now. I also saved A LOT. Just on fast food (not eating out at restaurants) on myself I was spending $200 a month. I’m so glad I gave up that bad habit years ago.