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Fast Food Wars: Cheap Vs. Healthy

The phrase “fast food wars” is nothing new.

But since many are trying to save money these days, the fast food restaurants have taken notice, and are competing for your business.

McDonald’s has a “Dollar Menu” with a variety of burgers, fries, and drinks for just a buck. Taco Bell has the “Two Dollar Meal Deals”, where you can get three items for two dollars.

We asked some people what they thought about these cheap eats. Jeffrey Richards, a UTEP student, tried one of the Two Dollar Meal Deals for the first time Friday. ” I thought it was a great deal, especially since usually I purchase things which are a little bit cheaper, and you can get a drink with your meal,” he said.

Cassandra Sarabia is a stay-at-home mom; her kids love the Happy Meals at McDonald’s, and she is a fan of Taco Bell. “Right now with the economy the way it is, I think it’s really good for those that have – you know – might be short on cash right now – I think it just helps out the community.”

But do these deals mean trading healthy eating for saving money?

Marilyn Rotwein is a certified dietitian and nutritionist who works at UTEP. “Especially in the UTEP population, our students are eating fast on the run; they grab foods – they don’t plan ahead – (it) sort of makes it a challenge for a dietitian to help educate in terms of not grabbing those meals 90 percent of the time but maybe 10 percent of the time,” she said.

Rotwein says it’s possible to balance saving money with eating healthy – if you plan your meals ahead.

“If we sort of lean a little bit towards planning ahead – filling your refrigerator up with real food and actually preparing some of the meals at home, your goals are gonna be met,” she said.

Rotwein thinks it’s great the fast food chains offer healthy options, like substituting pico de gallo for cheese and sour cream at Taco Bell and apples for fries at McDonald’s, and she adds it’s OK to eat fast food – if you’re not eating it all the time.

LinksLink:Fast Food NutritionLink:Taco BellLink:Jack In The BoxLink:McDonald’s

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