Tips for healthy fast food alternatives

April 1, 2009 6:23:41 AM PDT
In lean times, hungry consumers on a budget are rushing to fast food. But it's often a case of haste makes waist as the low-cost fare comes with high calories that expand your belt size. There are better ways to fill your tummy without emptying your wallet.SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

Business at the golden arches and other fast-food chains is booming. At McDonalds, sales were up 8 percent in October, nearly 3 percent last month.

The 2004 documentary "Supersize Me" follows a man who eats McDonald's three times a day for 30 days. At the end of the month, he gained 24 and a half pounds.

"Why not look for an option that is better for you, better tasting, better ingredients and is also very, very convenient?" said Roger Harvey, "Really Cool Foods."

And very affordable - at Really Cool Foods, that's really what it's called; the tomato sauce is made from scratch, the meats and vegetables all prepared fresh, by hand, no preservatives, no additives - just natural meals that get shipped off to your local supermarket or specialty store.

"Let's talk about price point," asked ABC's Linsey Davis.

"One of our biggest sellers - the almond crusted flounder and they are going to be in $5.99 to $7.99 price range, some of our other items are down as low as 3.99," said Harvey.

The portions are designed for two people. So on average, that's less than $3 a person.

Our search for value also took us to the local farmers' market.

"In general what you find at farmers' market is cheaper and it's generally more nutritious because it was picked fresh and allowed to ripen to its fullest and it's going to be tastier," said Lisa Gosselin, Eatingwell.com.

And you know the old adage about an apple a day. Fast-food on the other hand, may not exactly keep the doctor away.

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