Despite Increased Focus on Healthy Eating, More Than Half of American Households Eat Fast Food Two or More Times a Month

70 Percent Report Feeling Guilty and Bad When They Do
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HealthyWomen, the nation's leading nonprofit health information source for women, and Allrecipes joined forces to survey home cooks about their healthy eating habits and, in particular, fast food consumption. Findings from the 1,563 persons polled, who were largely female, showed more than 56 percent ate at fast food restaurants at least several times a month. Among those, nearly 15 percent ate fast food two or more times a week. As consumers ponder their New Year's resolutions, cutting back on fast food meals is one way to reduce weight and improve health.

"The majority of respondents, 75 percent, say they pay more attention to eating healthy now than they did five years ago," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, executive director of HealthyWomen. "Unfortunately, the quick stops at fast food restaurants often sabotage their efforts."

Indeed, the majority of respondents (54 percent) admitted they feel "a bit guilty" after eating fast food and another 16 percent say they just feel "bad."

So why stop at the fast-food drive thru? Half of the survey's respondents said convenience to accommodate busy schedules and faster meal availability were the top reasons for eating fast food instead of cooking at home. To skip a fast food meal and instead cook a healthy meal at home, 83 percent said it would have to be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

"We understand how pressed for time most women are these days," said Lisa Sharples, president of Allrecipes. "That's why we make sure Allrecipes' sites and apps provide quick, easy access to thousands of fast, easy, affordable and great-tasting recipes that can be made in under 30 minutes."

Nearly half of survey respondents (47 percent) report the most challenging aspect of eating healthy is finding recipes that are healthy, affordable and easy to make. Finding recipes that are flavorful and healthy is the biggest challenge cited by nearly one-third. 

Allrecipes provides nutritional data for recipes featured on the site. For those cooks looking for a more sophisticated set of tools, Allrecipes' Supporting Membership provides access to a customized meal planner with detailed nutrition for thousands of menus; subscribers can also quickly and easily locate recipes to match exact dietary needs using the nutrition search tool.

For quick and healthy recipes, easy snacks, tips for losing weight and insights about foods to boost brainpower, consumers can visit www.HealthyWomen.org/healthyeating and www.Allrecipes.com/features/new-year-new-you.