: Eating out is costing Americans a lot of money in health costs?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption associated with frequently eating out is costing Americans more in out-of-pocket costs and $56 billion per year in related health costs.
WHAT WE KNOW
Eating out … we all love to do it! Over the past few decades Americans have transitioned into a fast paced, grab-and-go lifestyle—which has been a culprit in the obesity epidemic. Over the past several decades, fruit and vegetable consumption has decreased while the obesity rate has increased. Not only is this trend associated with greater health costs, it’s affecting our out-of-pocket costs as well!
Most Americans average about $5 per day on soda, candy, or fast food. Multiply $5 by 7 days to see Americans are spending around $35 per week—a whopping $1,820 per year—on snacks alone!
Eating out has been associated with a decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption. As a result, eating out not only takes a toll on the wallet, but also affects America’s health.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
Due to the trend of more families eating out, restaurants have started to revamp their menus to include healthier options—including more fruits and vegetables. The National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance graded restaurant menus a "C" in their National Action Plan Report Card.¹ This score means that restaurant menus have made some progress towards providing healthier options; however, the 2010 Gap Analysis² reported that out of the total amount of fruits and vegetables consumed, only 3% of fruit and 15% of vegetables are consumed in restaurants.
Inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with an increased risk of many of the leading causes of death. The 2010 Gap Analysis estimates that low fruit and vegetable consumption alone is actually costing Americans $56 billion in health related costs—a 9% increase on average over each of the past 10 years! So, not only is eating out costing Americans more money, it’s doing little for our health!
Don’t deprive yourself of enjoying an occasional meal out! Eating out isn’t just about the food, it’s about the atmosphere and enjoying the company of friends and family! Just remember to be aware that next to not smoking … watching what you eat and being physically active are two of the most important things you can do for your health! It’s alright to indulge once in awhile—just not several times per week!
On a fixed budget? Try eating out less often. Some may argue that it’s hard to beat the cost of fast food meals, but eating healthy is affordable! Try our 30 Ways in 30 Days for complete menus that feed up to 4 for less than $10 (that’s hard to beat!).
While life is hectic sometimes, remember that a little bit of planning can go a long way—especially when it comes to your health! Try these quick-fix recipes for nights when you don’t have much time, and check out our meal planning tips!