Fast Food http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2658/all en-US 10 Reasons to Stop Buying Gas Station Food http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-stop-buying-gas-station-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-reasons-to-stop-buying-gas-station-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gas_station_000002993597.jpg" alt="Family deciding if they should buy food at a gas station" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You have a craving for a breakfast burrito and your local gas station sits just a half-block away. Should you turn your wheel and head over?</p> <p>No!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-save-money-on-gas">Gas station</a> food is often loaded with calories and fat. The prices aren't as cheap as you think. And that gas station convenience store might not be the cleanest place in town. Not convinced? Then check out these 10 reasons why buying food or drinks at your local gas station's convenience store is a big mistake.</p> <h2>1. You're Wasting Money That You're Saving at the Pump</h2> <p>Gas prices are falling. On May 4, a gallon of regular gas cost an average of $2.62 around the country, according to AAA's <a href="http://www.fuelgaugereport.com">Fuel Gauge Report</a>. That's down from an average of $3.67 a gallon during the first week of May last year. Don't waste the money you're not pumping into your car. Skip the snacks and drive away.</p> <h2>2. We're Already Spending Too Much Inside Gas Stations</h2> <p>According to Convenience Store News, &quot;C-stores&quot; recently enjoyed <a href="http://www.csnews.com/industry-news-and-trends/corporate-store-operations/2014-was-historic-sales-year-us-c-store-industry">record in-store sales</a> &mdash; sales of items other than gas, basically. In 2014, in-store sales hit $214.9 billion. Think of how much you spent last year inside your local gas station. Now think of what else you could have done with that money.</p> <h2>3. You'll Start Your Day Off on the Wrong Foot</h2> <p>Say you should only consume from 1,600 to 1,800 calories a day. If you start your day with a chicken and cheese biscuit at your local Speedway, you'll consume 500 calories &mdash; and 29 grams of fat &mdash; for breakfast. If you opt for the sausage, bacon, scrambled egg, and cheese croissant, you'll scarf down 590 calories and 39 grams of fat. And it's all downhill from there.</p> <h2>4. What You Think Is Healthy Might Not Be</h2> <p>You'd think a wrap would be a healthier alternative to a hamburger or hotdog, but this isn't always the case. The chicken pepper jack wrap offered by FiveStar gas stations, for example, contains 764 calories and 37 grams of fat.</p> <h2>5. Getting Creative Can Get You in Trouble</h2> <p>The Sheetz gas station chain offers what it calls a walking taco &mdash; basically a taco in a bag that's easy to eat when you're, well, walking around. You can build your own walking taco at Sheetz, and that's where you can get into trouble. If you're adventurous enough to build a walking taco that includes Doritos, grilled chicken strips, Mexican black beans and rice, and something called boom-boom sauce, you will have created a treat with 760 calories and 38 grams of fat.</p> <h2>6. Coffee Will Kill You</h2> <p>Coffee drinks can be especially hard on your waistline at your local gas station. A medium mocha drink at Sheetz with 2% reduced-fat milk and chocolate mocha sauce clocks in at 660 calories and eight grams of fat. That's a lot of calories to drink.</p> <h2>7. Even Non-Coffee Drinks Can Hurt</h2> <p>A 22-ounce Coca-Cola Classic fountain drink at Speedway comes with 183 calories. That might not seem like a lot, but drink three of these &mdash; which isn't an unusually high number for many &mdash; and you've consumed 549 calories. That's about one third of the 1,800 calories that many people aim for, and those calories don't include a bite of real food.</p> <p>The Slurpee offered by 7-11 comes with about 99 calories for a 12-ounce serving. That might not seem like a lot, either, but Calorie King says that you'd have to walk for 27 minutes or jog for 11 to <a href="http://www.calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-beverages-fanta-slurpee-pina-colada-or-wild-cherry_f-ZmlkPTE5MDk5MQ.html">burn off those 99 calories</a>. And, again, you're not really eating any <em>food </em>for those calories.</p> <h2>8. Gas Station Food Isn't Always That Cheap</h2> <p>You might think you're spending pocket change at the gas station. But consider this example: You can buy a 20-ounce plastic bottle of Diet Pepsi at your local gas station convenience store for as high as $1.89 a bottle. Why not just buy a two-liter bottle of diet pop instead? You can find generic two-liter bottles for as low as 79 cents at some chain grocery stores. (And don't complain about the taste: Close your eyes and you can barely tell the difference between generic diet pop and the big two.)</p> <h2>9. You Don't Know How Long Food Has Been Sitting Out</h2> <p>Ever picked up a candy bar at your local gas station only to find dust on the package? Who knows how long that treat has been sitting on the shelf waiting for someone like you to pick it up? It's true, too, that you don't know how long your food has been sitting around before you order it at a typical fast-food or fast-casual restaurant. The same holds true at your local grocery store. But when there's dust on your Snickers bar? It's time to move on.</p> <h2>10. Gas Stations Aren't Always Clean</h2> <p>Many gas station owners keep their convenience stores clean. Many others, though, do not. Check out the bathroom; if you don't want to be in there, you probably don't want to buy anything to eat from the rest of the store, either. If the inside of the bathroom is gross, it's a safe bet that the inside of the Slurpee machine is gross, too.</p> <p><em>Do you splurge on gas station and convenience store snacks? What's your favorite?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-stop-buying-gas-station-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-rice-cake-topping-ideas">40 Rice Cake Topping Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping convenience stores Fast Food gas stations snacks Fri, 15 May 2015 15:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1417848 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Foods Science Says Are Actually Making You Dumber http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-science-says-are-actually-making-you-dumber <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-foods-science-says-are-actually-making-you-dumber" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-eating-fast-food-Dollarphotoclub_26702022.jpg" alt="man eating fast food" title="man eating fast food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not everything you eat is good for you. Most of us know that by now. What you may not know, though, is that the food you eat can not only affect your cardiovascular health, your weight, and your insulin sensitivity, but it can also affect how well your brain works.</p> <p>We've all heard of the super foods &mdash; the foods that make your body and brain work better. Consider this, then, a list of the <i>opposite</i>&nbsp;of superfoods, or maybe the superfood villains. In addition to all of the other bad things these foods can do to your body, they also inhibit your brain function.</p> <h2>1. High Fructose Corn Syrup</h2> <p>If you eat a high fructose diet, you will eventually diminish how your mind stores and retrieves information. In as little as six weeks, rats fed a high fructose diet were <a href="http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245531.php">not learning or remembering</a> as well as their counterparts who consumed less fructose.</p> <p>These days, high fructose corn syrup is in quite a bit of the food we eat every day. Almost anything sweetened contains it, but you find it especially in foods like cookies, doughnuts, soda, and candy. It also hides out in items like ketchup, BBQ sauce, and salad dressing, where you might not think to look.</p> <p>If you <em>do</em> eat a lot of sugar (or you have in the past), try <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/need-your-brain-this-food-can-make-you-dumber/">taking an Omega-3 supplement</a> every day. The study also shows that this mitigates at least some of the problems that fructose can cause in the brain.</p> <h2>2. Trans Fats</h2> <p>Trans fats are actually linked to <a href="http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/trans-fats-linked-to-brain-shrinkage/">having a physically smaller brain</a>. And less brain matter equals lower intelligence and lower overall functioning. Yikes!</p> <p>You can find trans fats in a lot of things, though more recently regulations have gone into effect requiring manufacturers to limit them. Still, it's worth checking the boxes on your crackers and pastries (common trans fat carriers) before you buy them. Fried foods and some margarines can also have higher levels of trans fats than you &mdash; and your brain &mdash; might prefer.</p> <h2>3. Fast Food</h2> <p>Studies show that consuming a lot of fast food seems to make kids less intelligent. A study in Australia examined children's diets when they were small &mdash; six months, 15 months, and two years &mdash; and then examined the children themselves again at age eight. Those who ate a lot of fast food when they were small had up to <a href="http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/study-warns-kids-who-eat-fast-food-have-lower-iqs/">two fewer IQ points</a> than the others, even several years later.</p> <p>Okay, so two IQ points may not sound like a lot, but it's significant considering how many of us eat fast food regularly. Do we really want to be part of a trend towards lower IQs almost across the board? Probably not. So make the effort to take your lunch, buy a salad, and only eat fast food when you really can't get anything else.</p> <h2>4. Salt</h2> <p>We've long known that salt can contribute to all sorts of physical ailments, especially hypertension and other vascular problems, but now it seems like eating a lot of salt can&nbsp;<a href="http://healthland.time.com/2011/08/29/want-to-stay-sharp-skip-the-salt-but-not-the-workout/#ixzz1WQjJHiYt">lead to dementia</a> when we get older.</p> <p>Scientists suspect that the vascular effects of salt are tied closely to this dementia risk. After all, the brain must have blood flowing to, through, and away from it to work well. If that isn't happening, then it definitely won't function as well.</p> <p>Fortunately, exercise, while it might not counteract the effects of salt entirely, can help keep the cardiovascular system in better shape. This means that a diet high in salt may not affect exercisers as much as non-exercisers.</p> <h2>5. Tofu</h2> <p>This is probably an unexpected addition to this list, because most people associate eating tofu with good health. In fact, especially in older adults, tofu can actually make you more&nbsp;<a href="http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/114061.php">likely to develop dementia</a> or experience other types of memory loss. While you have to eat quite a bit of tofu for it to have this effect, it is something to think about before you make your next vegetarian stir fry.</p> <p>It's also important to note that other soy products seem to have this same problem. So if you're over 68, or you just want to be careful, avoid them all to give yourself a better chance at avoiding memory problems later.</p> <h2>6. Processed Foods</h2> <p>Several of the other foods we've discussed here fall into this category, too. Basically, the further something gets from its natural state before you eat it, the more processed it is. Fortunately, these foods are relatively easy to identify and avoid. Which is good, because people who eat a lot of processed foods don't perform as well on <a href="http://providencepersonaltrainingandfitness.com/processed-foods-make-you-fat-stupid-and-depressed/">memory and reasoning tests</a>.</p> <p>Given the wide ranges of processed food available and the items we've discussed above, it's easy to see a lot of reasons why this is true. But the reasons don't really matter, for all practical purposes. It's enough to simply know that these foods can hurt your brain.</p> <p><em>Do you eat any of these foods? Can you feel them affecting you cognitively?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-science-says-are-actually-making-you-dumber">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-smarter">7 Foods Scientifically Proven to Make You Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-for-lunch-for-a-more-productive-afternoon">What to Eat for Lunch for a More Productive Afternoon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-stop-buying-gas-station-food">10 Reasons to Stop Buying Gas Station Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink bad food brain food Fast Food poor diet Mon, 19 Jan 2015 18:02:00 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1281404 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Secret Fast Food Menus Revealed http://www.wisebread.com/14-secret-fast-food-menus-revealed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-secret-fast-food-menus-revealed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/eating-3996150-small.jpg" alt="woman eating burger" title="woman eating burger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Find yourself ordering the same-ol'-same-ol' every time you hit the drive-thru? Next time, go rogue and shake up your junk-food routine by asking for items from your favorite joints' secret menus, the contents of which are revealed right here. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">Secrets Restaurants Don't Want You to Know</a>)</p> <p>Since these menus are technically a secret, you may experience a few confused faces when placing your order (especially from new employees), but rest assured that these concoctions are totally possible, so don't give up so easily. If you have to, bring this list (compiled with help from the site <a href="http://www.ranker.com">Ranker</a>) with you and educate the friendly folks behind the counter. In the meantime, happy grubbing, fast-food sleuths.</p> <h2>1. In-N-Out Burger</h2> <p>In-N-Out is arguably the ringleader of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/in-n-out-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">secret-menu</a> phenomenon &mdash; thanks to its Animal Style burger (a mustard-smothered grilled-beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and extra spread) that made headlines a few years ago &mdash; but this isn't the only off-menu item you can order at the primarily West Coast chain. Pair your Animal Style burger with Animal Style Fries (cheese, pickles, grilled onions, and spread), then wash it down with a Neapolitan Shake &mdash; a combination of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream. If you're cutting carbs, ask for a Protein Style burger, which is wrapped in lettuce leaves instead of stuffed between a bun. See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-ultimate-in-n-out-secret-menu">Best Money Tips: The Ultimate In-N-Out Secret Menu</a>)</p> <h2>2. Starbucks</h2> <p>Start your day off a different way with items from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/starbucks-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">Starbucks' secret menu</a>, which includes the Zebra Mocha (a blend of white-chocolate and chocolate mocha), the Pumpkin Chocolate Latte (the pumpkin spice latte with chocolate syrup), Cake Batter Frappuccino (a vanilla frappuccino with vanilla bean and almond flavoring), and the Nutella (a Cafe Misto blended with chocolate and hazelnut syrups and caramel sauce).</p> <h2>3. Chipotle</h2> <p>When your passion for gigantic burritos starts to wane, switch to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/chipotle-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items?format=SLIDESHOW&amp;page=2">Chipotle's secret menu</a>, which includes: nachos (a no-brainer, really) that feature a bed of tortilla chips covered in melted cheese and your choice of toppings; quesadillas made from a burrito shell folded in half; and the brilliant Quesorito, a burrito/quesadilla hybrid with crunch. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-confessions-of-employees">Secret Confessions of Employees</a>)</p> <h2>4. Five Guys Burgers &amp; Fries</h2> <p>After you scoop up a handful of peanuts, place an order from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/five-guys-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">Five Guys' secret menu</a>, the star of which is deliciously melted cheese. Cheeseheads can get their fix via cheese fries and grilled cheeses, the latter of which you can dress up with toppings like bacon, mushrooms, and onions.</p> <h2>5. Chick-fil-A</h2> <p>Chick-fil-A is already famous for its milkshakes, but these variations from the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/chick-fil-a-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">secret menu</a> take the cake &mdash; one of them literally. At locations that serve blueberry cheesecake desserts, ask your server to throw a slice in the blender with your shake. Voila! &mdash; blueberry cheesecake milkshake. In addition to that amazement, you can suck down rootbeer floats; order chicken quesadillas (uh huh!); and if your kid doesn't like his kids' meal toy, he can trade it in for a free Ice Dream instead.</p> <h2>6. Burger King</h2> <p>If you're in the mood to commit dietary suicide,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/burger-king-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">Burger King's secret menu</a> may be your best bet. Fittingly, its Suicide Burger &mdash; featuring four beef patties with four slices of cheese topped with bacon and a special sauce &mdash; is available alongside the BK BLT (a BLT on a burger), the Rodeo Burger (a Whopper with onion rings and BBQ sauce on top), a ham and cheese sandwich, and half fries/half onion rings (for when you can't decide between the two).</p> <h2>7. McDonald's</h2> <p>Even with so many menu items already available, there are still&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/mcdonald_s-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">a few secrets up McDonald's sleeve</a>. The McKinley Mac, for instance, is basically a glorified Bic Mac that features Quarter Pounder patties, while the mammoth Monster Mac piles eight patties into a Big Mac. If you still have room for dessert, try a Pie McFlurry (you guessed it &mdash; your favorite McDonald's pie blended into a McFlurry) or a Coke float. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cracking-the-infamous-mcdonalds-monopoly-game">Cracking the McDonald's Monopoly Game</a>)</p> <h2>8. Taco Bell</h2> <p>You don't have to make a run for the border to nosh on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/taco-bell-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">Taco Bell's secret menu</a>, which features the sometimes-on-the-regular-menu Cheesy Gordita Crunch, Chili Cheese Burrito, Enchirito (an enchilada/burrito hybrid), the Superman (a cheesy double-beef burrito with potatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and crispy tortilla strips), and the Hulk (a bean-and-cheese burrito with guacamole).</p> <h2>9. Jamba Juice</h2> <p>Even when you're trying to drink healthy, you can sneak in a bit of a candy fix with options from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/jamba-juice-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">Jamba Juice's secret menu</a>. Sweet favorites include the Pink Starburst (lemonade, soy milk, raspberry sherbet, frozen yogurt, and fresh strawberries), the White Gummi Bear (featuring a menagerie of fruits like pineapple, oranges, and mangoes), Skittles (with peach lemonade and lime sherbet as the stars), and the Sourpatch Kid (which will make your mouth pucker with lemonade blended with blueberries and lime, pineapple, raspberry, and orange sherbets).</p> <h2>10. Dairy Queen</h2> <p>Get creative with your ice cream selections by ordering from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/dairy-queen-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">Dairy Queen's secret menu</a>, which includes decadent items like the Midnight Truffle Blizzard (full of dark cocoa fudge and truffle pieces), the Peanut Buster Parfait (a hot fudge sundae with crunchy peanuts), and the Lavender Blue Sundae (which adds marshmallow to DQ's original Blueberry Sundae).</p> <h2>11. Sonic</h2> <p>Sonic is known as America's drive-in for its vast array of traditional American junk food like hot dogs and tater tots, but its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/sonic-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">secret menu</a> delves deeper into our culture's love of deep-fried and greasy deliciousness. Unofficial finds include Frito Pie, a savory Southern nachos-esque dish that replaces tortilla chips with corn chips topped with chili and cheese; grilled ham and cheese; Purple Sprite, which combines Sprite, lemonade, Powerade, and cranberry juice; and Pickle-O's, once a menu item, but now only a relic that lives in secrecy.</p> <h2>12. Jack in the Box</h2> <p>Jack in the Box is one of the greatest fast-food chains that teases Northeast Coasters with its total lack of locations east of the Mississippi and above the Mason-Dixon Line, and then pours salt into our wounds with a <a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/jack-in-the-box-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">secret menu</a> of indulgent proportions. Items include the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger and Bacon Bacon Cheeseburger (both discontinued limited-time offerings) and the mouthwatering Mint Oreo Cookie milkshake. Jack in the Box also allows you to supersize your meals with even more beef patties per sandwich if you'd like &mdash; for an extra charge of course.</p> <h2>13. White Castle</h2> <p>White Castle is so legendary that it served as the plot point for Harold and Kumar's first adventure together. After one of your own Harold and Kumar inspired adventures, swing into White Castle and order the boys' special request from the restaurant's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/white-castle-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">secret menu</a>, which comes with 30 sliders, 5 French fries, and four large diet Cokes &mdash; just for Harold. Kumar ordered the same, except he replaced diet Cokes for the Cherry ones. Hope you have a serious appetite, a few friends for sharing, and a defibrillator.</p> <h2>14. Shake Shack</h2> <p>Perhaps one of the most exciting secret menus on this entire list, Shake Shack solidifies its spot as one of the tastiest and most affordable fast burger joints with its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranker.com/list/shake-shack-secret-menu-items/secret-menu-items">secret menu</a> that doesn't mess around. The Peanut Butter and Bacon Burger takes an ordinary sandwich and makes its extraordinary by topping it with ooey-gooey peanut butter, while the Shack-cago Burger transfers its Shack-cago Dog toppings (like cucumber, celery salt, and onion) to a burger. Wash it all down with a shandy &mdash; a beer and lemonade drink sure to provide just the right amount of refreshment when you need it.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other secret-menu items from America's favorite fast-food chains? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-secret-fast-food-menus-revealed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-health-food-worse-for-you-than-junk-food">Is &quot;Health Food&quot; Worse for You than Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0">Eat 256 Big Macs to Win a $5 Gift Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Fast Food food hacks secret menus Sat, 07 Sep 2013 10:36:30 +0000 Mikey Rox 981706 at http://www.wisebread.com “Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3203854339_17b42f9b4a_z.jpg" alt="fast food employee" title="fast food employee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know fast food is not good for us. Most nutrition experts agree that it should be eaten &ldquo;rarely or never.&rdquo; But having said that, most of us will grab a meal from a fast food restaurant sometimes. I know I am guilty of grabbing &ldquo;junk food&rdquo; when I am in a rush or am too tired to cook something.</p> <p>So if you&rsquo;re someone who eats fast food, be it rarely or more often than you should, it doesn&rsquo;t hurt to know what to avoid. Here are the fast food items you should stay away from, and some general tips to keep you from getting serious junk food remorse. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-stop-drinking-soda">22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda</a>)</p> <p><em>Note: These tips come from people who have worked in the fast food business, <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/?sort=new">via reddit</a>. I cannot verify their accuracy 100%, but I have only posted those tips that were repeated by several different individuals.</em></p> <h2>1. &ldquo;Unusual&rdquo; Pizza Toppings</h2> <p>If you go for the normal pizza toppings, like pepperoni, sausage, ham, pineapple, and the usual veggies, you should be fine. But when you start ordering pizzas with more <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qf55">exotic toppings</a>, you risk getting some older produce on your pie. The reason is simple &mdash; regular toppings are used up quickly and replaced often. If they go off, they have plenty left in stock to replace them. However, the quirky items, like meatballs, green olives, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes, are in short supply. They could be sitting out longer, and they may well be older than other toppings when they&rsquo;re cooked.</p> <h2>2. Wendy&rsquo;s Chili</h2> <p>This one has been covered before in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-confessions-of-employees">an article I wrote on employee secrets</a>, but it still deserves a mention in this list. When you order <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qfrc">Wendy&rsquo;s chili</a>, you might be getting old hamburgers that have been left around all day. They get boiled and mashed up, and chili mix is added.</p> <h2>3. Sweet Teas</h2> <p>It appears that fast food places like to put the sweet in sweet tea. Some places are <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qcbw">adding around one pound of sugar</a> to a gallon of the stuff. However, it&rsquo;s worth noting that almost all of the soft drinks out there have a high sugar content, so you&rsquo;re better off sticking with water. And it&rsquo;s free.</p> <h2>4. Vegetarian and Vegan Items</h2> <p>In some of the bigger, busier fast food chains, ordering vegetarian and vegan items should come with a warning &mdash; &ldquo;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qoxd">this product may contain traces of meat</a>.&rdquo; The reason is laziness and poor hygiene standards. When it&rsquo;s rush hour, or when it&rsquo;s just way easier to do so, cooks will sometimes use the same cooking utensils for the vegetarian and vegan options as they do for meat products.</p> <h2>5. Anything Ending in &quot;Nugget&quot;</h2> <p><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59r5os">Chicken nuggets</a> are clearly the biggest culprit here, although no one is ruling out other kinds of meat. Basically, chicken nuggets are made from mechanically separated meat (MSM), which is created through a process that extracts every last piece of flesh, meat, and sinew from the bones of the animal. This is then ground into a gruesome paste that is then dyed, flavored, shaped, and put in a box for you to eat. You can read more <a href="http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/msm.asp">facts about this here</a>, as well as some of the statements about MSM that are not true.&nbsp;</p> <h2>6. &ldquo;Fresh&rdquo; Grilled Chicken</h2> <p>It may be a healthier option than fried chicken, but don&rsquo;t go thinking that you&rsquo;re getting something delicious and nutritious. It is common practice in many fast food restaurants, including McDonald&rsquo;s and Burger King, to <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qoe6">squirt liquid margarine on the grill and the chicken</a>. And when it&rsquo;s sitting in the holding drawer, guess what&hellip;more liquid margarine goes on to keep it juicy.</p> <h2>7. Anything Close to Closing Time</h2> <p>You know how it is. You&rsquo;ve been out at a bar or club and feel hungry. Or you&rsquo;re working very late. But whatever the reason, sometimes you want to grab a bite before you go home, and the flickering light in the distance is like an oasis. It's a fast food joint, and it&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59rgxw">just about to close</a>. They&rsquo;ll hook you up with a fresh burger or a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/29-alternative-pizza-sauce-ideas">great pizza</a>, right? Well, think again. Chances are the employees are tired and want to go home, and they don&rsquo;t really care about breaking out all the ingredients again to feed you. So they might give you whatever&rsquo;s left, possibly telling you they&rsquo;re &ldquo;out&rdquo; of certain items in order to guide you to the ones they&rsquo;ve got sitting under the heat lamps. If you must eat something that late, go to a grocery store and put together a sandwich with fresh ingredients. It&rsquo;s quick, cheap, and a much better option.</p> <h2>8. Outback&rsquo;s Bloomin&rsquo; Onion</h2> <p>Employees at Outback Steakhouse do say that everything there is delicious and cooked to order, although their Outback Special sirloin is usually a cheaper cut of meat and has a high profit margin. However, it seems their signature appetizer, the Bloomin&rsquo; Onion, hides a dark secret. Here&rsquo;s what one former employee, redditor <a href="http://www.reddit.com/user/hurrayforzac">Hurrayforzac</a>, had to say about it:</p> <blockquote><p>Every night, we drain and filter the French fry oil, and put in a chunk of new shortening. The old French fry oil gets filtered in this weird box on wheels and drained into the appetizer deep-vat fryer (shrimp, and I think mushrooms).</p> <p>The oil form the appetizer fryer is filtered in the box and then dumped into the 2nd appetizer fryer (for chicken tenders, etc.). The old oil form the 2nd appetizer fryer (the third fryer in the line) gets filtered and dumped into the fourth and final fryer, which is used exclusively for Bloomin' Onions.</p> <p>So basically the oil used to make the trademark appetizer at Outback is cooked in 4 day old, 4 times filtered shortening. the same oil used to make French fries, then coconut shrimp, then chicken tenders, all finally getting infused into the thick eggy batter that encases that husk of a vegetable. Don't eat those.</p> </blockquote> <h2>9. KFC&rsquo;s Shredded Chicken Snackers</h2> <p>When the fried or grilled chicken has been sat for too long in the heating bays, it cannot be sold to customers, but it can be repurposed. By taking the dry chicken and adding a sauce to it (honey BBQ or buffalo) it can be given a new life as a <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59tump">KFC Snacker</a>. Now, personally I don&rsquo;t mind the idea of finding ways to save food, especially with so many people going hungry. But if the idea of old, dry chicken being sold as &ldquo;fresh&rdquo; makes you angry, you should probably steer clear of this one.</p> <h2>10. Ice From the Soda Fountains</h2> <p>As I&rsquo;ve written in the past, you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year">probably avoid soda if you want to save money</a> and your health. But for those who do indulge, or who like a cup of ice water, think twice about <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59r8q8">getting it from the soda fountain</a>. It appears that many employees know just how difficult it is to clean inside of the ice machines. And because &ldquo;what the eye doesn&rsquo;t see, the chef gets away with&rdquo; is par for the course in many fast food restaurants, the inside of these machines are last on the priority list when it comes to cleaning.</p> <p><em>Those are the top 10 I found, but I&rsquo;d like to throw this one out to current (or former) fast food employees. Is there something you&rsquo;d add to the list?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0">Eat 256 Big Macs to Win a $5 Gift Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-eat-at-chain-restaurants">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Eat at Chain Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ill-take-a-slice-of-lemon-with-fecal-bacteria-please">I&#039;ll take a slice of lemon with fecal bacteria please.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Fast Food junk food restaurants unhealthy dining Thu, 16 Aug 2012 09:48:43 +0000 Paul Michael 943018 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Often Do You Eat Fast Food? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-fast-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-fast-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3801063884_beb5515a0e_z-1.jpg" alt="How Often Do You Eat Fast Food? " title="How Often Do You Eat Fast Food? " class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-fast-food#comment-543834"><em>Elena</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-fast-food#comment-543774"><em>scoutmaster</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-fast-food#comment-543937"><em>Patrick</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Fast food is a convenience item that can save you time but cost you money. Many people opt to avoid the drive through in order to keep money in their pockets while others will hit up their local fast food joint if they are short on time in order to not have to spend time in the kitchen cooking because their mantra is &quot;time is money!&quot;</p> <p><b>How often do you eat fast food?</b><span style="font-weight:normal">&nbsp;If you eat it frequently, what compells you to spend money on fast food? Do you have any tricks to save on fast food? If you try to avoid it, what keeps you from hitting up the drive through?</span></p> <p>Tell us how often you eat fast food and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, August 20th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after August 20th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how often you eat fast food and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-fast-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-did-you-spend-your-first-paycheck">Ask the Readers: How Did You Spend Your First Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-to-clip-or-not-to-clip-a-chance-to-win-10">Ask The Readers: To Clip or Not to Clip? (A Chance to Win $10!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-trust-product-reviews-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Do You Trust Product Reviews? (Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers Fast Food Food Tue, 14 Aug 2012 10:36:41 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 941370 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Shouldn't Eat at Chain Restaurants http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-eat-at-chain-restaurants <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-shouldnt-eat-at-chain-restaurants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5636151058_ce49886863_z.jpg" alt="disapproving boy" title="disapproving boy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ll reveal my bias upfront &mdash; I can&rsquo;t stand chain restaurants. From their oversized, cheese-topped portions to the excessive use of adjectives in their menus, grabbing a bite at a big-box just doesn&rsquo;t hit the spot for me. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of food that people are consuming outside of their own kitchens has been <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;ved=0CC0QFjAB&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ers.usda.gov%2Fpublications%2Feib19%2Feib19.pdf&amp;ei=QNtLT7-FHovaiQKfv8zaDQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNHbzNWpBbOdQbKGLb79SKWBD4rN6g">growing pretty steadily since the 1970s</a>, which may account for why chain restaurants seem to keep on multiplying. But despite their obvious popularity, I also believe that there are some sound reasons to skip them in favor of smaller local eateries. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out">A Cheapskate's Guide to&nbsp;Eating Out</a>)</p> <h2>There's Too Much Food</h2> <p>One of the top reasons that many people give for favoring chain restaurants is the portion sizes. I get it. When you go to a restaurant, you want to actually <em>eat</em>. I definitely don&rsquo;t appreciate being presented with a pretentious morsel of an entree any more than the next girl. If that bite of food is really tasty, it&rsquo;s almost worse &mdash; as if I could be satisfied by taste alone, even when my stomach is empty! At the same time, many of the top chain restaurants boast dishes that top 1,000 calories each. I mean, let&rsquo;s be honest here &mdash; most people could do without those &ldquo;stacked&rdquo; and &ldquo;stuffed&rdquo; caloric monstrosities. And while many restaurants now offer lower-calorie menus, it&rsquo;s pretty hard to order those calorie-labeled little offerings when the guy at the next table is ordering a steak that could feed a family of four.</p> <p>The big portions are a large part of what chain restaurants have to offer, and the reason they can do it is precisely because of their size. The companies buy a lot of food, so they can pay less for it and charge less to the consumer. For these kinds of restaurants, portion size is a way to provide value.</p> <h2>It's Not a&nbsp;Unique Experience</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s face it &mdash; when food it sourced en-masse, shipped across the country, and prepared according to the specifications set by the restaurant corporation, it might be tasty enough, but there isn&rsquo;t going to be anything special or unique about it &mdash; especially when you could probably drive a few more miles and eat nearly the same thing somewhere else. The problem with measuring value in this way is that most of us don&rsquo;t need more food on our plates at all. The fact that mass production makes it cheaper only contributes to the problem by making it increasingly affordable for people to patronize a local chain rather than whip something up at home.</p> <p>If you look at going to a restaurant as an experience, rather than a way to fill the hole, portion sizes become a little less important and the notion of value turns more toward the <em>experience</em>. Assuming that the chain restaurant is the better value assumes an equation that involves calories and money. To me, value is about the quality of the food. My philosophy is that if I&rsquo;m only going to go out a few times each year, I want to eat something different that I wouldn&rsquo;t&nbsp; &mdash; or couldn&rsquo;t &mdash; cook at home. I want to experience local ingredients chosen by someone who&rsquo;s passionate about cooking them. For me, going to a restaurant is a way to celebrate good food &mdash; and maybe even life. So while I can&rsquo;t afford the fanciest fare, I also don&rsquo;t need a baked potato the size of a football to make me feel like I&rsquo;m making a responsible choice with my money. And since I&rsquo;ve brought it up, let&rsquo;s get on to the topic of money, shall we?</p> <h2>It's Expensive</h2> <p>Despite how often the word &ldquo;value&rdquo; is thrown around in the restaurant industry, eating in a restaurant is way more expensive than eating at home. Even the dollar menu at fast-food chains can&rsquo;t beat cooking your own food when it comes to cost (although it comes close). A column that appeared in the New York Times in September breaks down the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/is-junk-food-really-cheaper.html?pagewanted=all">common misconception that fast food is budget conscious</a> and finds that the average order at McDonalds for a family of four costs nearly twice as much as serving roasted chicken, salad, and vegetables at home. In other words, even the top innovator of food served fast and cheap can&rsquo;t beat out a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-time-for-home-cooked-meals">home-cooked meal</a> when it comes to cost. Eating in a restaurant, any restaurant, just isn&rsquo;t cost effective, no matter how much food is piled on your plate.</p> <h2>It's Not Necessarily Social</h2> <p>I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where we all sat down to have dinner every day. I know that isn&rsquo;t always possible, and I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s always necessary. What I do know is that food and a lot of the fundamental aspects of being a social human being go together. In other words, food is (or should be) about more than just sucking grease off a paper wrapper on your way to your next appointment. Everyone needs to eat, so why not take it as an opportunity to sit down, slow down and enjoy life?</p> <h2>One Ingredient Short of the Real Thing</h2> <p>OK, OK &mdash; it's not like you can't be social at a chain restaurant, especially the sit-down kind. But I think small, local restaurants offer a sense of community that chains can't touch. I visit the small restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries within a few blocks of where I live, and I love the fact that the business owners are on the premises greeting visitors, talking to staff, and generally running the show. Actually, I like that at least as much as I like the food, and I love the fact that I'm <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-local-businesses">supporting a business</a> that's more than a just business, but is also part of the community.</p> <p>Chain restaurants are on to us. That's why they work so hard to capitalize on our desire for comfort and pitch their food as something that mom would make. Except the the food that's made by the people you love has an ingredient that chain restaurants just can't source &mdash; what's in the food is less important than who cooked it. Plus, that &quot;homemade&quot; apple pie at your local chain restaurant probably came straight from the freezer, and before that, the factory.</p> <p>Based on the number of chain restaurants that continue to pop up just about everywhere, I don&rsquo;t think they&rsquo;re short of fans. But I&rsquo;m not drawn to those giant neon signs. The fact that many people in Western countries get too much to eat isn&rsquo;t such a bad problem to have, but all that food might come at the cost of some other things we&rsquo;re pretty deficient in, and you won&rsquo;t necessarily find them on your plate.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-eat-at-chain-restaurants">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year">How Water Can Save You $977 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items">Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Fast Food restaurants shopping locally Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:24:20 +0000 Tara Struyk 905036 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Eat Healthy(ish) From Vending Machines http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-eat-healthyish-from-vending-machines <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-eat-healthyish-from-vending-machines" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vending_machine2.jpg" alt="Man at a vending machine" title="Man at a vending machine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They&rsquo;re omnipresent. And typically omni-unhealthy.</p> <p>Vending machines are everywhere, clustered especially in spots where you'll find students, office workers, and other on-the-go types. To be sure, more nutritious-conscious contraptions are starting to appear in workplaces and community spots (our company has an amazing fresh fruit vending option in the main office). But these remain few and far between.</p> <p>The vending machine business takes in a staggering $110 million per day in the U.S. according to <a href="http://www.1800vending.com/why_vending.html">1.800.VENDING</a>. The vast majority of those purchases aren't waistline friendly. But for healthy-minded folks stuck in a pinch, there are some semi-healthy options.</p> <p>Check out some of these tips so you know what buttons to push next time you&rsquo;re face-to-face with a vending machine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-frugal-eating">Healthy, Frugal Eating</a>)</p> <h2>Go Nuts...and Seeds</h2> <p>No snack hunter will have problems finding peanuts and sunflower seeds in vending machines. In fact, different flavors of each are common. For those hankering for a sweet snack, honey-roasted peanuts or even peanut M&amp;Ms fare better than sugar-laden candy bars. Mixed nuts are the ideal snack in the late afternoon when you&rsquo;re running on empty until dinner. Since the human body slowly digests monounsaturated fat, which is found in nuts and seeds, this path provides longer-lasting energy and an extended &ldquo;full&rdquo; feeling.</p> <h2>Choose Salty Snacks Wisely</h2> <p>Bagged goodies can hit the spot for those looking for a salty snack. The key is avoiding potato chips packed with simple carbohydrates. Too many simple carbs cause a short-lived energy boost and then a crash. However, Lays&rsquo; line of baked potato chips, Sun Chips, and reduced-fat popcorn serve as healthy alternatives. Generally low in calories and fat, these snacks have some fiber. Pretzels are a safe alternative, too, although they have little nutritious value. Whole-wheat cracker sandwiches with either cheese or peanut butter come with complex carbohydrates, the good kind. Not only do good carbs keep us full and more energized, but they also keep us alert for a longer period of time.</p> <h2>Use Fruits to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth</h2> <p>Candy bars, breakfast bars, and baked goods get us salivating. But like fatty potato chips, these overly sweetened indulgences contain tons of simple carbohydrates. Again, we get an abbreviated energy boost and then crash. Instead, look for fruit or fruit-based nibbles to satiate a dessert craving. Fig Newtons are exemplary in this role as they&rsquo;re low in fat and calories.</p> <h2>Hydrate</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s important to drink plenty of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year">water</a> even if you&rsquo;re not doing anything that&rsquo;s physically tasking. Dehydration may be masked as hunger, so try satisfying that hungry feeling with water. Avoid sodas, as they&rsquo;re overloaded with sugar, empty calories, and simple carbohydrates. Energy drinks are seldom nutritiously different than soda. Water is the best choice, followed by sweet tea or flavored water.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-eat-healthyish-from-vending-machines">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options">12 Delicious, Healthy, and Inexpensive Snack Options</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips eat healthy Fast Food healthy snacks Tue, 28 Jun 2011 10:00:35 +0000 Chris Birk 592330 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Save on Takeout http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-on-takeout <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-on-takeout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/350982990_eb90cef0ae_z-1.jpg" alt="Save on Takeout" title="Save on Takeout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on ways to save on takeout, commonly overlooked tax breaks, and how to make your dreams a reality.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.mint.com/blog/saving/takeout-food-03232011/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MyMint+%28Mint+Personal+Finance+Blog%29">7 Ways To Save On Takeout Food</a> &mdash; Next time you buy takeout, be sure to look for coupons before you place your order. [MintLife Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.quizzle.com/blog/2011/03/8-commonly-overlooked-tax-breaks/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+QuizzleWire+%28Quizzle+Wire+&raquo;+Personal+Finance+Blog%29">8 Commonly Overlooked Tax Breaks</a> &mdash; Don't overlook educator expenses when doing your taxes. [Quizzle Wire]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/03/21/12-steps-to-make-a-dream-a-reality/">12 Steps to Make a Dream a Reality</a> &mdash; If you want to make your dreams a reality, you must figure out what you really want out of life. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/8-ways-to-get-smarter-every-week.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LifeHack+%28lifehack.org%29">8 Ways To Get Smarter Every Week</a> &mdash; Want to get smarter every week? Then focus on cumulative learning. [Stepcase Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.creditkarma.com/credit-scores/top-10-reasons-your-credit-score-isn&rsquo;t-as-high-as-it-could-be/">Top 10 Reasons Why Your Credit Score Isn't As High As It Could Be</a> &mdash; If your credit score isn't as high at is could be, it may be because you are just too young. [Credit Karma Blog]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Steps-Take-After-Job-Interview-2871452">5 Steps to Take After a Job Interview</a> &mdash; After a job interview, be sure to send a thank you note. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-handle-your-childs-fear-about-world-news">How to Handle Your Child's Fear About World News</a> &mdash; If your child is expressing concern about world news, be gentle but truthful with him or her. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pfadvice.com/2011/03/22/sell-your-body-parts-strange-ways-to-make-money/">Sell Your Body Parts - Strange Ways to Make Money</a> &mdash; Need to make some extra money? Consider participating in medical trials. [Personal Finance Advice]</p> <p><a href="http://genxfinance.com/five-financial-moves-to-make-right-now/?utm_source=rss&amp;utm_medium=rss&amp;utm_campaign=five-financial-moves-to-make-right-now">5 Swift Financial Moves to Make Right Now</a> &mdash; Want to improve your finances? Be sure to shop around before you make purchases. [Generation X Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/prism-money/2011/03/23/4-ways-to-add-inflation-protection-to-your-retirement-plan/">4 ways to add inflation to your retirement plan</a> &mdash; Be sure your retirement plan accounts for inflation by purchasing long term care insurance that adjust benefit payments to protect against rising costs. [Prism Money]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-on-takeout">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-eat-at-chain-restaurants">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Eat at Chain Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-stop-buying-gas-station-food">10 Reasons to Stop Buying Gas Station Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ghetto-mac-yours-for-1">The GHETTO MAC - yours for $1.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips Fast Food Takeout Thu, 24 Mar 2011 11:24:10 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 510389 at http://www.wisebread.com Eat 256 Big Macs to Win a $5 Gift Card http://www.wisebread.com/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4061201826_ee21f9511d.jpg" alt="many big macs" title="many big macs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my most popular articles on Wise Bread is about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cracking-the-infamous-mcdonalds-monopoly-game">cracking the McDonald's Monopoly game</a>. In it, I outline the rare pieces and how many of them are in circulation. Well, someone has decided to take that information one step further. Now, you can figure out how many Big Macs you'll probably have to eat to win a particular prize.</p> <p>The website eatwithaspork.com has a new page dedicated to the mammoth task ahead of you. <a href="http://www.eatwithaspork.com/fun/bigmac/">I'm Feelin' It</a> has a simple drop-down menu and translates the odds into Big Mac sandwiches.</p> <p>Here are some of the outcomes:</p> <ul> <li>$5 Wal-Mart gift card = 256 Big Macs</li> <li>$50 cash = 27,334 Big Macs</li> <li>2011 Shelby GT500 = Over 10,000,000 Big Macs!</li> </ul> <p>Now, this is all based on the odds of winning; you could of course walk into a McDonald's, grab a burger and win the grand prize. It only took poor old Charlie Bucket a few attempts with a Wonka bar to get his golden ticket. But if you wanted an idea of how many of those famous burgers you'd have to eat to guarantee yourself a prize, well, now you know.</p> <p>The McDonald's Monopoly game continues to be one of the most successful promotions from the fast food retailer. It's popular because it makes it seem like a great prize is just hanging out there, waiting for you. With most value meals giving away four of the tokens, you believe your chances at winning are much, much higher than they actually are. In fact, a sign in every McDonald's now boasts that 1 in 4 wins a prize. What this means is 1 in 4 will probably get a free portion of small fries, or a small soda. But those prizes of actual value, well, they are few and far between. And there is nothing random about the game, as I have outlines before.</p> <p>Now, in fairness to McDonald's, they're giving away a lot of free stuff. They aren't obliged to give away anything; this is a business after all. But just remember, the chances of walking into a McDonald's and walking out with a brand new Mustang are 1 in 301,245,250.</p> <p>Last time I checked, you have much better odds of winning the Powerball jackpot. That's closer to 1 in 195,000,000. But then again, those lottery tickets don't come with a free burger and fries.You pays your money, you takes your choice.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-health-food-worse-for-you-than-junk-food">Is &quot;Health Food&quot; Worse for You than Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-secret-fast-food-menus-revealed">14 Secret Fast Food Menus Revealed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Fast Food junk food McDonald's odds prizes Tue, 19 Oct 2010 14:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 265410 at http://www.wisebread.com Is "Health Food" Worse for You than Junk Food? http://www.wisebread.com/is-health-food-worse-for-you-than-junk-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-health-food-worse-for-you-than-junk-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6132644510_28e2327644_z.jpg" alt="ordering fast food" title="ordering fast food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've written about the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">evils of junk food</a> in the past. I have jumped on that bandwagon that is happy to demonize the fast food industry. But after watching a 30-minute TV show on Showtime last week, I'm having something of a paradigm shift. Maybe I've been too hasty.</p> <p>The Showtime show <a href="http://www.facebook.com/PennAndTeller">Bullsh*t!</a> (the real title is not edited) takes a new subject every week and exposes lies, misconceptions, and propaganda on everything from sex and psychics to recycling and yoga.</p> <p>The episode I happened upon was all about fast food. &quot;This should be good&quot; I thought, &quot;how can they really tell us fast food is good for us?&quot;</p> <p>Well, they didn't. Not really. But what they did reveal made me shift uncomfortably in my seat. I have been one of those bloggers who was quite happy to attack McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC and all those other household names in the fast food biz.</p> <p>But when it comes down to it, what exactly have they done wrong?</p> <p>Ok, let's look at this rationally for a second. The fast food giants make food that is not good for us. That's a fact. They usually don't deny that either, it's not easy to say that a double quarter-pounder with cheese and a pound of French fries is something your body needs. It's a treat. It should be viewed that way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fast-food-slow-food-and-your-dollars-at-work" title="Fast Food, Slow Food, and Your Dollars at Work">Fast Food, Slow Food, and Your Dollars at Work</a>)</p> <p>However, as a treat, what's wrong with it? It's very tasty, it's cheap, there's a lot of it for your money, and you can get it quickly almost any time you want! It seems to me that the fast food industry has given us everything we have asked for as a nation, and we're now telling them off for it.</p> <p>If a Big Mac cost $10, we'd complain. It's too expensive. If BK made healthy burgers from soy, we'd complain. We want meat, we want taste. If KFC refused to sell fried chicken, and only stocked grilled, we'd complain. We want to make choices, even if they're bad for us. And when we want to make those bad choices, fast food is there.</p> <p>In a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optical-illusions-that-make-you-fatter-and-your-wallet-lighter">previous article</a>, a long time ago now, I talked about <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553804340?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553804340"><em>Mindless Eating</em></a>, a great book by Dr. Brian Wansink. He spends his days conducting experiments that reveal our true relationship with food, and he had some eye-opening things to say about fast food.</p> <p>In one experiment, Dr. Wansink's lab was set up to resemble a restaurant, and he invited people to come in and try some food. In this case, a delicious chicken corn chowder. Oh, how the participants loved it. So delicious, so home-made, so succulent. They had no clue that the whole meal was made using ingredients from a KFC meal. One person actually quipped, and I'm paraphrasing a little &quot;you can't get something like that from a fast food restaurant.&quot; Well, you can. Maybe not as a soup, but it's all exactly the same stuff.</p> <p>Wansink noted that we have expectations of fast food and the establishments that serve it. Especially the big hitters like KFC and McDonald's. We actually believe that what they're serving is rotten, but it's cheap and it's quick.</p> <p>But these corporations have spent billions of dollars making food that's tasty. They excel in it. If it wasn't tasty, no one would buy the food and the franchise would die. Yes, it contains salt, sugar, and fat. Yes, it contains preservatives. But it's tasty, it's designed that way.</p> <p>In another experiment, to test these perceptions again, Wansink brought in two taco salads to two different groups. The first received the salad on a black plastic fast food tray, and were told that it came from a fast food restaurant.</p> <p>The feedback was not good. The food was fatty and greasy. The dressing was too sweet. It was generally a cheap suckfest of a meal.</p> <p>Next up, the exact same salad was served on a pristine white plate, along with an accompanying menu from the California Garden Café. The feedback took a huge turn. Now, the food was fresh and delicious. The dressing was lovely. The whole meal was heaven on a platter. But it was the same meal. All that had changed was the perception of the food. And it was enough to make people feel completely different about the meal.</p> <p>More dangerous than all of that, though, was when they asked the two sets of diners what they thought the calorie count was of the salad. The first group guessed right, with very accurate guesses coming in at the 980-1000 calorie range. Spot on.</p> <p>But when asked to estimate the meal from the Café, the calorie count dropped. And boy, did it drop. Guesses were around the 450-500 calorie mark, one person said 200! And that's the real danger here.</p> <p>When we go to a fast food joint, our guard is up. We're primed &mdash; the calorie count of the meals is often displayed now &mdash; and we generally know that what we're eating is bad for us. When we eat somewhere else, like a &quot;healthy café&quot; or fancy restaurant, we believe we're getting better food and less fat. Not so. Not at all. As they said in the show, you don't see people trying to ban French and Italian restaurants, and yet they serve very fattening meals topped with creams, cheeses, and lots of butter and oil.</p> <p>The problem here is that we have been selective with our criticism. We have targeted the fast food giants and warned everyone &quot;hey, this stuff sucks, don't eat it!&quot; But that's not going to stop people eating it, or making bad choices. However, we're at least educated about fast food. We know the calories, and the risks. Wansink says that in his experience, people underestimate the calories of a meal at a healthy restaurant by half. The fancy name equates to better food, and better food means less calories. How wrong can we all be?</p> <p>So, take this as a warning. Fast food is still bad for you in excess, but as an occasional meal it's nothing to be afraid of. What you really need to look out for are the calories you're consuming from places like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and other health food stores and restaurants. The food could be just as bad for you, but you may end up eating twice as much. In effect, you're blinded by the presentation. Calories are calories and saturated fat is saturated fat. Not even a 3-star Michelin restaurant can change that.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-health-food-worse-for-you-than-junk-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0">Eat 256 Big Macs to Win a $5 Gift Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/herbal-supplements-know-what-you-re-getting">Herbal Supplements: Know What You’re Getting!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Health and Beauty Burger King Fast Food KFC McDonald's sprouts Wendy's Whole Foods Tue, 22 Jun 2010 13:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 144886 at http://www.wisebread.com Fast Food, Slow Food, and Your Dollars at Work http://www.wisebread.com/fast-food-slow-food-and-your-dollars-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fast-food-slow-food-and-your-dollars-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6293795476_2e7b5d9b1a_z.jpg" alt="garden vegatables" title="garden vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The slow food movement has taken off over the last two years. You've probably noticed that more and more people are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vegetable-gardening-four-cheap-hacks" title="Vegetable Gardening: Four Cheap Hacks">growing their own vegetables</a>, sourcing grass-fed beef, avoiding fruit shipped from South America, and becoming members of the local CSA. Some people are even finding themselves headed back to the kitchen, cookbook in hand, to learn how to make their own meals for the first time.</p> <p>At the same time, many are looking for ways to trim their food budget. As a nation, we're eating out less, clipping more coupons, and buying the bargain cuts of meat instead of the fillet. We're literally tightening our belts as we eat less and slim down. Whether out of desire or necessity, many of us spend less on food than we used to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week" title="How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a>)</p> <p>While these aren't mutually exclusive pursuits, trying to save money and eat high quality, natural, organic food can be rough. Though the popularity of this kind of food has risen, there's still less demand for it than for those nationally recognized name brands of junk and fast food, so the slow food costs more.</p> <p>Additionally, because the processes for raising, harvesting, and shipping slow food are not as well-established as those for other kinds of food, simply getting it to the store costs more and those costs are passed on to the consumer. And those processes are inherently more time and labor intensive for slow food, which means the costs won't go drastically lower anytime in the near future.</p> <p>In contrast to this, junk food is not only cheaper than slow food, but it's getting even cheaper as the days go by. <a href="http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/whats-wrong-with-this-chart/">This chart</a> from New York Times blogger David Leonhardt, shows just how much the prices for things like soda, butter, and beer have gone down since 1978. For people trying to save money, the choice may be simple: eat more junk.</p> <p>And yet, this set of circumstances leaves many consumers frustrated. They want to eat well but they can't afford to, or they struggle with paying so much more for food items that could easily be replaced with cheaper, less healthful, alternatives.</p> <p>So what can be done? Is there a way to get food that is truly good for less money, or to justify paying more for what we eat when there's cheaper food available? Here are some musings on just that topic.</p> <p><strong>Eating well is an investment.</strong></p> <p>And not the kind where you see an immediate return. You may not feel better tomorrow because you ate free-range eggs for breakfast instead of a toaster pastry. And you may not know that you avoided catching the office cold because of the antioxidants in your system from those organic blueberries. But if you stay healthier than most, thinner than many, and as happy as you want to be over the long haul, at least some of that is probably a return for your investment in good food.</p> <p><strong>When it comes to eating, where you spend your money is like voting.</strong></p> <p>Do you want all-natural, sustainably-raised, wholesome food to be widely available at competitive prices, or do you want fast food and junk food to continue as the foods of choice for the people in this country? Though it won't save you anything today, spending more money for better food may influence the way things roll down the road.</p> <p><strong>You just might recoup that extra money you spend on high-quality food in healthcare savings.</strong></p> <p>We've all heard about studies showing the effects of junk food on health. People who eat a lot of it are fatter and sicker than ever before. Though it may be hard to see in your own life (because you don't know when you avoid being sick), eating well sure seems like it will save you money in the long run.</p> <p><strong>Sometimes you just have to pay more for a better product.</strong></p> <p>We see this elsewhere. Better quality hi-def TVs cost more than their low-quality counterparts. Long-lasting, no-drip candles cost more than the disappearing, drippy kind. Hard back books are more expensive than paperbacks. You get my drift. We've come to expect this elsewhere...why don't we expect it regarding our food?</p> <p><em>What choices do you make when it comes to your food and your money? What do you think about spending more money for food that's better for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fast-food-slow-food-and-your-dollars-at-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-stop-buying-gas-station-food">10 Reasons to Stop Buying Gas Station Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-eat-at-chain-restaurants">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Eat at Chain Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ghetto-mac-yours-for-1">The GHETTO MAC - yours for $1.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Fast Food slow food Tue, 30 Mar 2010 17:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 6092 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid Putting on Recession Pounds http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-putting-on-recession-pounds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-putting-on-recession-pounds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Cheeseburger%20edit.jpg" alt="" title="Cheeseburger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="206" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Health experts are concerned that the current economic downturn could have adverse public health consequences as more people, in the sensible quest to save money, turn to cheaper yet less-healthy eating choices, potentially aggravating the already prevalent obesity problem in this country.</p> <p>Referred to as &ldquo;<a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090109/us_nm/us_financial_obesity">recession pounds</a>,&rdquo; they result from the added weight that comes about from the increased consumption of cheaper junk and fast foods that also happen to be tasty by virtue of the fact that they are often loaded with salt, fat, and highly processed carbs (i.e., sugar and high fructose corn syrup). Who doesn&rsquo;t love those?</p> <p>It is ironic when you think that in the past, lower socioeconomic standing often resulted in people losing weight due to lack of food. In the modern era of plenty, however, obesity has now become a symptom of poverty because these highly processed foods are not only promoted vigorously and widely accessible, but they are also cheap.</p> <p>But can you really put a price on your health or the health of your family? When you think about the things we spend our money on, it doesn&rsquo;t always make a lot of sense to cut back so drastically on healthy eating so that you can afford a new cell phone.</p> <p>Especially when you consider that, at some point, your body will let you know that you shouldn&rsquo;t have eaten all that garbage. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the consequences won&rsquo;t be felt for years, and like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for 20 years, by then it&rsquo;s too late.</p> <p>So in an effort to keep a tab on our health and our waistlines, here are a few suggestions that might help you avoid putting on unnecessary recession pounds during these rough economic times, keeping in mind that the problem lies not in junk food in and of itself, but rather in the over-consumption of it.</p> <p>1. Moderation. If possible, try your best to stop eating before you&rsquo;ve eaten every crumb on your plate, and resist the urge to super-size. I know many of us were raised with the idea that it is good to clean your plate, but times have changes. Set your goal to be sated rather than stuffed, because you won&rsquo;t feel any better after that second cheeseburger. </p> <p>2. Don&rsquo;t eat just for the sake of eating. Sure, that second Big Mac may be tasty, but don&rsquo;t eat another when just one will suffice.</p> <p>3. Eat junk food. Just combine it with something healthy. Let&rsquo;s face it, junk food is a fact of our lives, so rather than setting the unrealistic goal of eliminating it, eat it! Just add in something nutritious, like a piece of fruit, veggies, or whole grains.</p> <p>4. Eat the healthy stuff first. If you wait until after your junk food meal to eat that apple, it probably isn&rsquo;t going to happen. So eat it first. Not only will you get a dose of healthy stuff, but it will probably make you eat less of the junk.</p> <p>6. Be inconsistent. Like losing weight, gaining weight doesn&rsquo;t happen by itself. In other words, you won&rsquo;t gain weight in your sleep, you have to consume. So don&rsquo;t eat junk food regularly, three times a day, everyday. Incorporate a healthy meal in there, with something nutritious that is high in fiber.</p> <p>7. Don&rsquo;t inhale your food. Try to eat slowly and deliberately, chewing your food completely, and don&rsquo;t take another bite until you&rsquo;ve swallowed the previous one. Not only with this help you digest your food, but it will spare other at the table from having to see the chewed up food in your mouth while giving your stomach time to communicate to your brain that it is full.</p> <p>8. Drink more water. This takes time to develop and for some of us, may seem impossible, but water is not only cheaper (in many instances, it&rsquo;s free), but unlike sweetened beverages, has no calories. Water will also help temper the feelings of hunger that encourage us to inhale our food.</p> <p>9. Don&rsquo;t drink (your water!) while you&rsquo;re chewing, or vice-versa. This falls in line with #7. Besides nurturing good manners, it will help slow you down and avoid depositing chewed up food into your beverage. </p> <p>10. Talk. And be social, if you can. Conversation is a great way to slow a meal down, not to mention enjoy it. I think of my friends from Europe who have these enormous meals drawn out over several hours, and an important part is good conversation.</p> <p>11. Eat with people who either share your dietary goals or have already achieved them. There is strength numbers, not to mention inspiration by way of guilt.</p> <p>12. Turn off the TV. Nothing is better at shutting off your brain and encouraging mindless eating. So just turn it off and read, or better yet, talk to your table mates.</p> <p>13. Be more assertive. Even though junk food is cheap, it is also convenient, which is why many of us choose them. Sure, we&rsquo;re tired from our busy lives, but a little effort can go a long way in terms of making a healthier meal. And even though it&rsquo;s a lot easier said than done, it&rsquo;s not impossible.</p> <p>14. Exercise. I know, so painfully obvious, but so hard to employ. Given that junk food is so easy only increases our need to be active.</p> <p> In the end, it all boils down to a little common sense. We all know what is healthy (and for that matter, what is not), we just need to use our heads when we make our dietary choices. And when we have to make compromises, maybe rather than targeting our food for cheaper alternatives, we could consider cutting back on other more frivolous items, like shoes, or the size of our cable package.</p> <p>The question we have to ask ourselves is how much is enough. Or in the case of eating unhealthy junk food, how much is too much.</p> <p>The responsibility lies with us, but employing a little more thought and effort could go a long way to improving your health, your appearance, and even your outlook during difficult times.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fred-lee">Fred Lee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-putting-on-recession-pounds">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-to-reduce-your-risk-of-diabetes">10 Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-in-defense-of-food">Book review: In Defense of Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-where-the-water-tastes-good">Live Where the Water Tastes Good</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cheap-treatments-for-year-round-allergies">7 Cheap Treatments for Year-Round Allergies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living Health and Beauty Lifestyle diet Fast Food obesity tv Mon, 12 Jan 2009 11:33:54 +0000 Fred Lee 2736 at http://www.wisebread.com Be a Winner with Your Dinner (Or not) http://www.wisebread.com/be-a-winner-with-your-dinner-or-not <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/be-a-winner-with-your-dinner-or-not" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/scrabble%20at%20subway.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I would never advocate buying fast food just to win something.<span> </span>If you are already driving thru, however, it&rsquo;s something to consider.<span> </span>And with many of the prizes having less to do with purchase and more to do with timing, it&rsquo;s open season for everyone (even those who&rsquo;ve sworn off Biggie Fries for life.)<span> </span>Here&rsquo;s the scoop on the best promotions going on right now.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Hardees / Carl&rsquo;s Jr</strong>. &ldquo;<strong><a href="http://www.makeityourgameday.com/">Make it Your Gameday Sweepstakes</a>&rdquo;</strong> &ndash; This is a game where you can (almost) win back what you eat.<span> </span>Tens of thousands of prizes include mostly small fries and drinks.<span> </span>Game codes can be obtained by buying food or sending away for free game codes, which means one code costs a $.42 postage stamp. <span> </span>With no really big instant win prize to vie for (top prize is only worth $113) this isn&rsquo;t going to make anyone rich. They do have a second chance sweepstakes with a few gift cards worth $1500 from the Sports Authority and Best Buy, which someone is guaranteed to win. Ends October 23, 2008. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>Don&rsquo;t go out of your way to win this one.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Kraft / Burger King &ldquo;<a href="http://www.sundaeorshake.com/">Is it a Sundae or Is it a Shake</a>?&rdquo; Giveaway &ndash; </strong>These are the kinds of promotions I like.<span> </span>No purchase needed.<span> </span>Simply register to vote and let &ldquo;The King&rdquo; know how you vote.<span> </span>(You can choose not to opt-in for future mailings.)<span> </span>While there&rsquo;s no biggie prizes, it is a quick, easy entry for hundreds of $10 itunes or BK gift cards (plus 20 80GB iPod Classics).<span> </span>They will let you know instantly if you&rsquo;ve won.<span> </span>Promotion runs through 9/28/08. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>Good for a quick try.<span> </span>Enter daily without a penny out of pocket. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>T.G.I Friday&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="http://www.emipowered.net/tgifbbq/register/">Awesome BBQ Sweepstakes and Instant Win Game</a>&rdquo; &ndash; </strong>Similar to the Burger King promotion.<span> </span>This doesn&rsquo;t require any purchase or game piece.<span> </span>Simply register to find out if you are an instant winner of hundreds of small prizes (hats, shirts, and $5-10 restaurant gift cards.)<span> </span>They also include free appetizer and desserts with purchase as &ldquo;prizes.&rdquo;<span> </span>The sweepstakes grand prize is a trip to the 19<sup>th</sup> Annual Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ and year&rsquo;s supply of TGIF frozen food.<span> </span>Enter by Sept. 30. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>OK for die hard BBQ fans or someone looking for a quick, cheap prize. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Wendy&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="http://wendys.eprize.net/twistedfrosty/index.tbapp">Twisted Frosty</a>&rdquo; Giveaway &ndash; </strong>10,000 instant winners of a $3 Wendy&rsquo;s GC in this one.<span> </span>No purchase necessary.<span> </span>One grand prize of a $1,000 Wendy&rsquo;s Gift Card.<span> </span>Ends September 30<sup>th</sup>. <strong>Bottom line: Odds are good, very good.<span> </span>Hope you like Wendy&rsquo;s! </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Subway &ldquo;<a href="https://scrabble.subwayfreshbuzz.com/main.aspx?bhcp=1">Scrabble</a>&rdquo; Game &ndash; </strong>Similar to the McDonald&rsquo;s Monopoly fad, this is a Collect-and-Win game.<span> </span>Codes are on any 6&quot; sub, footlong sub, 21oz drink, 32oz drink or 44oz drink, or by mail in request.<span> </span>(Free codes have been reported by signing up for the Subway newsletter.<span>) </span>Hundreds of prizes, ranging from $5 Subway cards to $100,000.<span> </span>Promotion ends October 13<sup>th</sup>. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>Don&rsquo;t spend what you don&rsquo;t have.<span> </span>If you&rsquo;re dining out anyway, take your chances on winning $5 back, but don&rsquo;t hold your breath for the new car. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Orange Julius &ldquo;<a href="http://cashncali.com/">Cash and Cali</a>&rdquo; Giveaway &ndash; </strong>The smoothie giant is offering up several prizes in its instant win promotion (including 1,000 $5 GC, beachwear, and cash.)<span> </span>A grand prize drawing for 10K is also in the running.<span> </span>No purchase is necessary if you click on the &ldquo;Get a password here&rdquo; link at the bottom left.<span> </span>Annoying flash-based website lets you turn off the music (thank you.)<span> </span>Promotion ends Nov. 15<sup>th</sup>. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>If there&rsquo;s an Orange Julius you like to frequent, give this one a try.<span> </span>No money out of pocket, just the time it takes to load the entry page&hellip;.. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Red Robin &ldquo;<a href="http://www.redrobininstantwin.com/login.asp">Dealicious Three of a Kind</a>&rdquo; Game &ndash; </strong>The quick scoop on this giveaway is this:<span> </span>Enter without purchase, pop in your info (I use <a href="http://www.roboform.com/">Roboform</a>), and see if you win a $10 Red Robin Gift Card.<span> </span>Easy, peasy, people. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>It doesn&rsquo;t get easier than this, and with 1,000 Gift Cards up for grabs, you might score a free lunch.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">There are several other fast-food promotions going on.<span> </span>(Too many to mention here.)<span> </span>And while you must use your judgment on whether to enter, the winnings can be sweet.<span> </span>(For more information on sweepstakes, <a href="/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">see my previous tips</a>.)<span> </span>Eat healthy, and hope for the best!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/be-a-winner-with-your-dinner-or-not">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">Sweeping 101: What the Real Winners Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways">Secrets to Finding and Winning Facebook Promotional Giveaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-win-sweepstakes">This Is How You Win Sweepstakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/enter-to-win-over-1000-in-hedgeable-s-holiday-giveaway">Enter to Win Over $1,000 in Hedgeable’s Holiday Giveaway!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hp-wireless-printer-giveaway">HP Wireless All-in-One Photosmart Printer Review &amp; Giveaway</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Fast Food promotions sweepstakes winning Sat, 30 Aug 2008 03:57:25 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2383 at http://www.wisebread.com Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks. http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2359965960_e7343f951b.jpg" alt="how to make quick drunk-food snacks" title="how to make quick drunk-food snacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us have been there (when I was in college, I was there 3 times a week during my first year…sorry mum and dad). You go out with your buddies, have a few beers and by the time you get home you could devour a slab of ribs from King Kong’s chest (make those tofu ribs if you’re a veggie). But what’s a frugal drunk to do? Late night snacks can be pricey, and when you’re somewhat tipsy you don’t care. You need cheap, at-home solutions ready to go. Drunk snacks in a jiffy. </p> <p>As a quick aside, do you know why you get hungry after drinking alcohol? Well, according to a friend of mine who went to medical school, the reason is quite simple. </p> <p>Alcohol is filled with carbohydrates, which get turned into sugar in the body. This in turn increases your blood sugar level, and your body releases more insulin to deal with it. When you stop drinking your blood sugar is still down from all the insulin, and so the body sends a signal to the brain saying “hey, get some food in here, we need to get our blood sugar levels back to normal.” Thus, you have the drunken munchies, big time. </p> <p>Now why most of us crave more spicy foods when we’re drunk, that I can’t shed any light on. Maybe it’s the only thing we can taste after all that booze? But whatever the reason, it’s a nice segue into my list of drunk snacks. Some of these may seem gross right now, but when you’re drunk you’ll be all over them. Are they healthy? Hey, gimme a break, this is drunk food.</p> <p><strong>1: Instant Ramen with chili or curry powder.</strong><br />Quick, easy, spicy, yummy. Just boil up the Ramen in the usual way, but get rid of the lame seasoning packet and instead add a bunch of chili or curry powder. You need to keep these suckers on the boil until the broth has turned into a thick sauce. Voila, goeey, spicy noodles in 5 mins. </p> <p><strong>2: Cheese horns.</strong><br />These are as quick as they get. Take a cheese slice (like a Kraft Single) and roll it into a cone shape, then fill that cone with some ketchup, Tabasco and a dill pickle. Crunchy, spicy, cheesy. Don’t ask me to eat one sober. </p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u17/418639912_d47c3c1c0f_m.jpg" alt="toast cheese toaster oven" title="toast cheese toaster oven" width="240" height="180" /></p> <p><strong>3: Ghetto pizza</strong><br />Really simple this one. Pop some bread in your toaster over. When it starts to toast, remove it and add a little ketchup, a cheese slice and some pepperoni. Back in the toaster oven until the cheese bubbles. Oh yeah baby. (Also works with bagels). </p> <p><strong>4: Velveeta Queso </strong><br />Must of us have a bag of chips in the pantry. Make them sing with some easy Velveeta Queso. Just slice up half of a large package of Velveeta and microwave for two mins. Then pour in a small jar of hot salsa, mix well, and microwave again until it starts to bubble. Dip away, but don’t burn yourself on the hot cheese.</p> <p><strong>5: One pan brekkie</strong><br />When you stagger home in the wee small hours, this works great. Take a frying pan and put in some frozen sausage links and hash browns, some bacon, and when they all begin to brown, whip up some eggs and pour them in. You’ll get a big fat breakfast omelet in no time. </p> <p><strong>6: Ghetto Nachos</strong><br />These are pretty bad. So bad, they’re good. Take a plate of nachos, pour serious amounts of grated cheese over them, add a few dollops of salsa (or if you’re all out, ketchup), sour cream and I sometimes add some sweet pickle relish. It’s not bad, honest. Takes about…1 minute.</p> <p><strong>7: Quick burrito</strong><br />Take a large flour tortilla, sprinkle grated cheese inside, add some salsa, Tabasco and some of those ready-cooked chicken strips for salads. Roll up and microwave for around 1 minute. </p> <p><strong>8: Curried eggs</strong><br />Ideally you’d make these before you leave, but at the very least hard-boil some eggs before you exit for your night out. When you get home, peel and halve the eggs, scoop out the yolks and mix with curry powder, miracle whip and salt ‘n’ pepper. Spoon mixture back into eggs (just like devilled eggs). Considering the steady hand needed to peel and fill the eggs, I’d make these beforehand. Really tasty and cheap. </p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u17/2605798901_1b94cc010d.jpg" alt="mmmmm...s'mores" title="mmmmm...s'mores" width="333" height="500" /></p> <p><strong>9: S’mores</strong><br />Do I need to tell you how to make these? Didn&#39;t think so. But, a few pointers. Make sure you use good chocolate with a high cocoa content, and for fast, even melting I use the mini-marshmallows. I also prefer the cinnamon graham crackers. </p> <p><strong>10: Poor man’s gyro</strong><br />Take one pitta, fill with some sliced sandwich meat (beef), chopped tomatoes, plain yogurt and a splash of lemon juice (or actual Tzatziki sauce if you have some in).</p> <p>This is just my weird (and some think wonderful…but not many) list; I know you all have great suggestions. So, send them this way. Share your culinary experimentation with us all and help out a few drunken snack-attackers. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-food-supplies-for-the-lazy-skinflint">Emergency food supplies for the lazy skinflint</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/concession-stand-treats-a-license-to-print-money">Concession stand treats – a license to print money.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sleek-marketing-ploys-aimed-at-getting-more-of-your-grocery-money">5 Sleek Marketing Ploys Aimed at Getting More of Your Grocery Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sort-of-small-kitchen-gadgets-that-equal-big-savings">4 Sort-of Small Kitchen Gadgets that Equal Big Savings!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gettin-baptized-in-the-watahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-epiphany">The Gettin&#039;-Baptized-in-the-Watah Epiphany</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks Consumer Affairs Food and Drink cheap drunk Fast Food Food kitchen snacks Wed, 06 Aug 2008 22:08:52 +0000 Paul Michael 2300 at http://www.wisebread.com For the Love of Ramen: An Interview with Ed from RamenRamenRamen.net http://www.wisebread.com/for-the-love-of-ramen-an-interview-with-ed-from-ramenramenramen-net <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-the-love-of-ramen-an-interview-with-ed-from-ramenramenramen-net" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ramen.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I brainstorm for cheap eats I often think of packets of ramen. Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Ed from <a href="http://www.ramenramenramen.net/" target="_blank">ramenramenramen.net</a>. Ed reviews hundreds of types of ramen on <a href="http://ramenramenramen.net">his website</a> and I consider him to be a folk hero to ramen lovers everywhere. Ramen is usually more than just a flavor packet and dried noodles and Ed has a <a href="http://www.ramenramenramen.net/ramen-glossary/" target="_blank">great ramen glossary</a> to explain the complexities in real ramen. Read on for some interesting ramen facts! </p> <p><strong>Are you a ramen lover because you like to save money? How much do you think you have saved by eating lots of ramen?</strong></p> <p>Actually, the instant ramen I usually eat isn&#39;t cheap. I love &quot;real&quot; ramen, and I tend to prefer some of the more expensive &quot;Japanese imported&quot; instant ramen. The cheap stuff is great too, but once you&#39;ve had the better instant ramen, it just doesn&#39;t compare.</p> <p><strong>What is the most expensive ramen you ever bought? Was it worth it?</strong></p> <p>I think the most expensive instant ramen I&#39;ve bought was around $4-5. It was one of the &quot;bowl ramen&quot; from Japan and it even had a piece of pork! Seriously! I don&#39;t remember which one it was exactly, but I can dig up my post on it. Was it worth it? Even the best bowl ramen I&#39;ve had doesn&#39;t compare to a good bowl of real ramen, but yes, it was darn good.</p> <p><strong>What stores are your best sources for acquiring ramen?</strong></p> <p>There are a few Japanese supermarkets in my area that I check out on a regular basis. There&#39;s a Mitsuwa and Marukai, big supermarket chains. Those tend to be the best sources.<br /><strong><br />How much ramen do you eat each week?</strong></p> <p>I try to eat ramen about once a week or every other week. This week, my wife is on vacation so I&#39;ve been eating ramen more often. Shh...don&#39;t tell...hahaha</p> <p><strong>What is the most disgusting or scary ramen ingredients you have ever seen? What is your favorite?</strong></p> <p>I&#39;ve never seen it in person, but there&#39;s a picture of ice cream ramen on my blog: <a href="http://www.ramenramenramen.net/2007/10/28/ice-cream-ramen/" target="_blank">http://www.ramenramenramen.net/2007/10/28/ice-cream-ramen/</a> . But that doesn&#39;t sound nearly so bad as natto ramen. Natto, if you don&#39;t know, is really an acquired taste. It&#39;s a sticky bean dish that tastes like...I don&#39;t know...<em><strong>spider webs and dirt?</strong></em> My favorite ramen is boring old shoyu or chashu ramen (which is just shoyu ramen with extra pork). I still think it&#39;s the best.</p> <p><strong>Do you think ramen is a healthy food? What could you add to ramen to make it extra yummy and healthy?</strong></p> <p>Real ramen is definitely healthy. It&#39;s a Japanese fast food and much healthier than the fast foods we Americans eat. Instant ramen is not too bad, though it usually has a lot of sodium. I like throwing in mushrooms when I&#39;m cooking instant ramen, especially enoki mushrooms because it&#39;s healthy and so easy. I also make hard boil eggs to go with my ramen. You could just as easily add some bamboo, green onions, corn, assorted veggies, or if you&#39;re really ambitious, roast pork!</p> <p><strong>When you dated your wife did you share your love for ramen with her?</strong></p> <p>Yes! My wife also enjoys ramen, but she doesn&#39;t quite like to eat it all the time like I do. We went to Japan for our honeymoon and I actually took her to the Ramen Museum in Yokohama. Haha.</p> <p><strong>What did she think?</strong></p> <p>She&#39;s a great sport about it. She&#39;s actually the one that encouraged me to start a web site about ramen.</p> <p><strong>Did you design that <a href="http://www.ramenramenramen.net/ramen-lapel-pin/" target="_blank">yummy looking lapel pin</a> on your site? Have you seen anyone wear it?</strong></p> <p>Yes I did. Thanks for the compliment. Some of my friends wear it but I haven&#39;t been lucky enough to see anybody else wear one :(</p> <p><strong>Well, that&#39;s all now. Next time you come to San Mateo you should definitely go to Santa Ramen. They have a larger location now so it fits 65 people. The wait isn&#39;t so bad anymore! I just had the always sold out stewed pork topping for the first time last weekend and it was super yummy!</strong></p> <p>Thanks for the interview! I will definitely check out Santa Ramen the next time I&#39;m in the area! Thanks for the heads up!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-the-love-of-ramen-an-interview-with-ed-from-ramenramenramen-net">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-frugal-eating">Healthy, frugal eating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ghetto-mac-yours-for-1">The GHETTO MAC - yours for $1.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sayonara-ramen-san">Sayonara, Ramen-san</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap eats culture Fast Food Food interview japan noodles ramen Fri, 14 Mar 2008 23:18:27 +0000 Xin Lu 1919 at http://www.wisebread.com