A dollar meal might sound like a bargain, but is it worth the price for your health? Dietitians from The Cancer Project have taken a look at the high health cost of value meals at fast food restaurants, and have listed the five worst options.

It probably won't surprise readers to learn that the nutritional content of these cheap meals leaves much to be desired:

The Cancer Project found that most items advertised on Value Menus are high in fat, saturated fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol. Many items also contain processed meats and grilled meats, which are linked to increased cancer risk.
- Cheap Eats for Hard Times: The Five Most Unhealthful Fast Food Value Menu Items

The five worst items came from five different chains, suggesting that all the big fast food names need to take a hard look at what they're pushing as their Value Meals:

  • Junior Bacon Cheeseburger (Jack in the Box)
  • Cheesy Double Beef Burrito (Taco Bell)
  • Breakfast Sausage Biscuit (Burger King)
  • McDouble (McDonald's)
  • Junior Bacon Cheeseburger (Wendy's)

These are the key factors used by the dietitians to rate how healthy or unhealthy the meals were:

  • High fat content
  • Grilled meat
  • Processed meat
  • Dairy products
  • Fiber
  • Sodium
  • Fruit and vegetables

Even if you have to watch every cent during these troubled financial times, don't succumb to Value Meal deals - the price to your health is too great. Find out how to shop cheaply and how to prepare good value, healthy meals at home instead. You might want to start with Diet Blog's On a Budget: 7 Tips for Healthy Food Shopping.