What price a healthy lunch?

November 23, 2016

An animal style vegetarian burger on offer at In-N-Out burger in California, USA, Thursday, April, 21, 2016. The stop off at California's In-N-Out burger proved that vegetarians can enjoy a burger comprised of a perfectly toasted bun with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a composition of grilled or fresh onions. (AAP Image/Simone Ziaziaris) NO ARCHIVING

In this March 12, 2015 photo an assortment of ingredients stand ready for the lunchtime crowd in a display case at The Little Beet during lunchtime at the restaurant in New York. For years, healthy chains have sputtered and flopped but The Little Beet chef Franklin Becker, who’s opening seven more restaurants in the New York area this year, says the demand is growing. “That’s what people want to eat. They want honest foods now.” (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Just what makes a good, healthy, yet convenient and affordable lunch?

It’s a question I found myself pondering one day last week — I hadn’t had time the previous night to prepare my lunch for the day and had to get takeaway.

So I had a decision to make — traditional fast food or something else.

On the recommendation of a work colleague, I decided to head to a newly-opened place in the centre of town that focuses on healthy food.

I paid for a healthy food bowl, stacked full of vegetables, protein and salad.

It contained broccoli, sweet potato, rice, chicken and spinach and cherry tomatoes.

I also bought one piece of sushi.

It was filling and most importantly, very nutritious. But it cost me a whopping $19.

Add a juice or smoothie to that and you’re looking at $25, just for lunch.

On this occasion, I was more than happy to pay that amount because I felt like something healthy — and I needed a lunch that was quick and convenient.

But the fact is, it cost about double the amount that a meal from a fast food outlet would have.

If I bought that same lunch every day for the entire working week, it would cost me almost $100.

I’d be able to buy a burger, chips and soft drink combo for $9 or $10.

It’s a shame this is the case — and I believe it should be the other way around.

It’s not a knock at all on the businesses, as I understand there are several factors involved that influence the price food sells for.

But we should be doing all we can to encourage healthy eating and to combat obesity.

Of course, the best way to ensure you are looking after yourself with good food, while still keeping an eye on the finances and not breaking the bank, is to do it yourself. Ideally, I’d prepare all my lunches either the night before or in the morning, but there are a number of reasons why this is sometimes not possible.

Some days are busier than others, and with only a short time for lunch, it can be a temptation to grab the quickest and easiest option.

Most often it isn’t the most healthy option.

Healthy fast food is no doubt far more expensive than traditional fast food options like a burger and chips.

But you just can’t put a price on your health.

Cameron Whiteley is News Editor at The News.

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