Photovoice Part 2

IMG_6866McDonald’s Nutritional Fact PamphletJack in the box

Jack in the Box Nutrition Fact PamphletIMG_6867
Taco Bell Nutrition Fact Pamphlet

Do I really know what I need to make a healthy choice?

In short, the answer is yes, however, if you want to find out the information needed to make a healthy choice, you need to work for it. I went into three different fast food chains: McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, and Taco Bell. In the fast food restaurants, I asked for the nutritional pamphlet and recorded how long it took for the employee to give it to me. McDonald’s took 2 minutes and 17 seconds, Jack in the Box took 1 minute and 39 seconds, and Taco Bell did not have anyone present who knew where they were, but they offered to let me use one of their phones to look it up on the internet, in all I waited 2 minutes and 5 seconds before I was given an answer. McDonald’s was only able to give me a 54-page book that I could take pictures of but could not keep. This book was very extensive with its information and listed all the information that is generally required on normal packaged foods, however, I did not see an ingredient list, which was slightly concerning. Jack in the Box also listed all required information excluding the ingredients list, however, I could not find anything online that was nearly as extensive as McDonald’s in that I do not believe that it listed all things on the menu. Taco Bell was the same as the last two in that it listed the required information but no ingredients, and while it was not a 54-page booklet, it did seem to list all items on the menu. So yes, I was given the information that I need to make the healthiest choice possible at these fast food restaurants, but I had to wait for it, and one place was not able to provide me an in-person copy, which was disappointing.

 How healthy is it?

The answer to this question was by no means surprising, the food at any of the fast food chains is not typically on the healthy side, and many of the items on the menu either fulfill or come close to fulfilling a daily value. For instance, the XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito-Steak from Taco Bell has 40 g of protein and 2100 mg of sodium and 840 calories. This is over half a daily value of protein, almost all of a daily value of sodium, and almost half the daily recommended calories, in one burrito. McDonald’s and Jack in the Box have similar nutrition information provided for items on their menu as well. All in all, the food at these restaurants is not healthy, there may be an item here or there that could provide high protein and low sodium, but that would be a rarity and less likely to be ordered as the restaurants are known for their salty, greasy, and quickly served food.

 Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?

It is so difficult to be healthy as a college student with access to these fast food restaurants because of the prices and location. As shown on the receipts, this food was very inexpensive, I did not pay more than $4.00 for anything ordered, and many of these places offer “meals” which allow the customer to buy a main dish, a side, and a drink for a discounted price. Also, these restaurants were located on the main road to get on the freeway to head to the western side of Washington, where many of Central Washington University students live. It is very easy to stop in and buy food for the road at any of these locations, especially as they all have drive-throughs.

ReceiptsIMG_6872

Going around to these locations and asking for the Nutritional pamphlet was not nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. The employees were all very nice and understanding and did their best to get me the information as quickly as possible. This tells me that food service workers do want to let the consumer know exactly what it is that they are getting, even if the large corporations do not always want that. A concept from 209 class that inspired me is that consumers are not always given all the information before they make a choice, and I wanted to see if that information was available. If someone had never been exposed to consumer health issues, they may benefit from doing something like this. In doing this I found out exactly how much sodium, protein, and carbs are in the food offered at various fast food locations. The only problem is that an everyday consumer may not know what these values mean as there is nothing to compare them to, for instance, they may not know that the daily recommended value for sodium is 2300 mg or below. My project provides nutritional information for three large corporation fast food chain restaurants, and information on how to obtain the nutritional information. It also provides a few prices to tell the consumer what the price of fast food generally is, and shows real pictures of fast food, rather than the advertised pictures. Lastly, it provides the public with the idea that they do not know everything that is in their food, or all the nutritional information about their food, and puts an idea in their head, that maybe this is something they should know.               Fillet-o-Fish                   Pumpkin Spice Shake        Frito Burrito

(McDonald’s)                        Jack in the Box                 Taco Bell

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