You've got hunger pangs, an empty refrigerator, and ten dollars. What kind of food will you buy, fast food or ingredients for a home-cooked meal?
Time, not nutrition, is often the deciding factor. "Cooking at home requires planning ahead," says Jessica Todd, an economist with the USDA.
According to her research, people ate out less often during the recession. One likely reason: more time at home to cook.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics study shows that the time difference can be significant: 128 minutes for grocery shopping, food preparation, and cleanup versus 34 minutes, including travel time, for the aptly named fast food.
Find this month's story from the National Geographic Future of Food series at natgeofood.com.
*MCDONALD'S IS THE LARGEST HAMBURGER FAST-FOOD CHAIN IN THE WORLD, SERVING FOOD IN ABOUT 119 COUNTRIES.