Food Stamp Challenge #1: Replace $1.59 Wendy’s Jr. Bacon

Replacing the quintessential cheap fast food: The CheeseBurger


image $1.59 or

$1.54? image

You could probably make a straight up better cheeseburger, but I’m looking for instant satisfaction, quick and portable. I’ll be packing or eating at home, so I wanted a similar convenience. I thought a quick charcuterie-type food would be my perfect quick ‘snack food”. Traditional. Healthy. Satisfyingly deep, rich, bright and light.

Both of these items contain about the same amount of fat and calories (310) and the cost is almost the same. The problem with making the argument that we only have a choice between tasty “junk” or sterile “healthy” (fruits and vegetables) is that we go for the junk food because it’s more satisfying, filling and a better tasty calorie bang for our buck. If super hungry and faced with a dollar for a cheeseburger versus a dollar for an apple. Most, if hungry enough, choose the burger. But that’s not a fair side-to-side comparison.

We are looking for flavor profiles the junk foods are imitating. Sugar-fat-salt-Umami (fermented savoriness). So a better comparison is this type of combination with naturally cured meats (Tjs), raw cheddar cheese (TJs), walnuts (Tjs), apple (farmer’s market), tart cherry jam (Whole Foods), and Carr water crackers (Fresh Market). I could make this even cheaper replacing water crackers or mixing it up with higher fiber cracker, but the flavor profile and combination of probiotic sources, polyphenols, fiber, protein make it nutritious, a good calorie profile meal/snack and a rich satisfying substitute (primary choice).

Great fast food and no cooking involved (just a bit of slicing).

More recipes, financials, worksheets, pantry building, menu planning examples later this week.

For an FYI taste, the fast food burger still “tastes” good after the initial kinda disgusting rush of salty, high note sweetness and kinda greasiness. It’s a “high” brain tasty illusion that leaves me feel queasy drugged out (which I think we mistake as “fullness”). Whereas the charcuterie was incredibly delicious combination of flavors, textures and complexity and I felt very satisfied and energized after. It’s still work to retrain what “taste” is and what true “fullness” feels like and to realize that that drug-effect of junk food isn’t normal. Retraining and recalibration takes time.




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