I work part-time jobs at a local Chinese restaurant and McDonald's. Ilona, the author of Life After Money, asked me whether I get free food from my jobs. I do, but I have to say all this fast food is starting to take its toll on my waistline! I am overweight anyway but managed to lose quite a few lbs at the start of the summer by eating healthily, working a physical job and exercising regularly. Unfortunately after 5 weeks of free Chinese food (and a week of McDonald's too), it's all starting to pile back on!
In my defense I share my Chinese food with my parents (and sister if she's about) after I finish work, but I get the whole McDonald's meal to myself as it's halfway through the shift. McDonald's are trying very hard to provide healthier options (“You do salads?!”) and we give out nutritional information on the trays with every meal, however it's easy just to grab fries and a McFlurry and head for the staff room on your break!
Today I was planning on having the veggie deli (sandwich) and a drink, which would have been a fairly nutritious meal. The veggie burgers are pretty decent – you can see whole chickpeas and sweetcorn kernels in them! This would've been a fairly respectable 549 calories, providing 12g of fibre.
Unfortunately when I went on my break I decided to get a full meal and finish it off with a brownie! The diet Coke seemed somewhat ironic! :) When I calculated this I was so shocked – I've been eating the sandwich+fries+drink all week, usually with a dessert too! It all came to 1269 calories, with 14g of saturated fat (I'm only meant to get 10g/day as heart disease runs in my family), and 47g of sugar (33g+ of these were added sugar, of which I'm meant to get no more than 40g/day!).
Starting tomorrow, I'm just getting the veggie sandwich without mayonnaise and an orange juice. If I want dessert I'll have a fruit bag! That'd be at least 2, probably 3 (with the beans and salad in the deli), of my 5-a-day for free too! All for 705 calories, which is just over half of the amount I ate today!
I don't know the exact calories for the Chinese food I've been eating, but I usually get vegetable chow mein (which is fried) or vegetable curry with chips or fried rice. I can't really think of a healthy alternative food because pretty much everything is fried. Upon Googling, stir fried vegetables and boiled rice seems like my best option. I guess I could just eat at home, but then it's not freeeee!
What is the best compromise between frugality and life in general? Would you eat free Chinese takeaway 4 nights a week or cook yourself something healthier when you got home? Do you pay for exercise classes that you could do yourself at home? What's the cheapest healthy meal you make?