Are you eating better or worse because of the Great Recession?
When the economy fell apart several years ago, there was a lot of talk that people’s health would decline because they’d be financially forced to eat worse. It was really a twofer of sorts because the thinking was also that people would gravitate toward cheap high-calorie comfort food in lieu of healthier stuff that’s more expensive.
But that was then and this is now, and what actually happened is a different scenario. The Chicago Tribune reports sales of french fries are down thanks to the recession, among other factors. In fact, potato farmers who have been hurt by the decline are now supplementing income by growing sweet potatoes.
So the idea of saving money actually improved our calorie counts and reduced our sodium consumption! It’s the exact opposite of what was expected.
As for me, I never order fries because I never get a combo meal. What I do instead is order a drink and sandwich off the dollar menu and I’m out the door for $2 or $3. Apparently I’m not alone in that tactic either!
Meanwhile, I’ve often talked about appetizers, dessert and alcohol being the Bermuda Triangle of eating out at mid-priced and fancy restaurants. Those food categories typically have the highest profit margins for restaurateurs. So that’s lead people to approach ordering with a scalpel to reduce cost. And it’s also taken some of the items with the highest calorie counts off the table for us.