At what cost are you denying yourself the nutrients, vitamins or nutrition your body needs? Is gourmet coffee or those lottery tickets keeping you from eating more nutritious foods?
Ever gone to the grocery store and substituted for something you wanted because of the price or because it wasn’t on sale? Then, you go out of your way to indulge in the $5.00 cup of coffee. C’mon, raise your hand.
Spending money on essentials such as food is something our bodies need us to do and if you make healthy choices, you can do it guilt free!
Does Cheap Food Mean Lower Quality Of Life?
Eating on the “cheap” can save you money but it can also cost you thousands of dollars on prescription drugs, time away from work, valued time with your family not to mention a lesser quality of life. How do you want to live your life?
Everyone wants to maximize their dollar and groceries are no exception especially if you have a family or are self supportive. It’s no surprise that obesity is on the rise with how easy it is to buy high calorie, processed foods, manufactured foods at low cost to the consumers. Take a look at the flyers that are delivered daily to our homes and it’s easy to fall into buying because it’s a great deal! For example, 2 for $x or 3 for $x and don’t forget the dollar specials that are now common yearly specials for the major supermarket chains.
Time to Take Stock. Not Stock Up!
I’m not pleading innocent and I will admit I have in the past succumbed to the stockpiling purchasing. At one time I had 22 Lipton’s Sidekicks in my pantry and numerous tinned soups. While unloading the groceries, I took quick stock and realized that I kept buying more because they were on sale. I hadn’t even used up what I had. I wondered about the shelf life of these items so as I read the packaging to look for expiry date because I didn’t want them to go bad, it was then I read the Nutritional Facts. The entire package prepared to their specifications would be 850 Calories, one quarter of daily Sodium intake, as well as preservative and chemicals I can’t pronounce all in the serving of 2 Cups. This package wasn’t meant for the entire meal, this was a side dish. Add meat and veggies to this calorie carb packed dish and you’re sure to consume well over half of your daily calories in one meal alone not to mention becoming a lethargic couch potato all night long.
You Are In Control
As a society, food is marketed for value, convenience and improved taste. It wasn’t until I read that label on that package in my pantry that I owed it to educate myself to know what nutrition I was or was not consuming. I went online and investigated the Weight Wise program by Capital Health which is region wide health system that services over 2.6 Million people across Alberta, Canada. The workshop that appealed to me was a 2 Day Adult workshop, In It for the Long Haul. It was there that I learnt about reading labels in the grocery store, nutrition, food planning, preparing food, etc. Is this isn’t available to you, contact your local grocery store to take advantage of a free tour with a nutritionist to point you in the right direction.
Whole Foods – A Natural Choice
If you are looking for a healthier way to live, whole foods are a great place start. Simply put, whole foods are foods that have all their vitamins, minerals, and nutrients intact without being processed or tampered. Consider the potato to the potato chip or the beloved French fry. This also includes grains that are stripped throughout the refining process and the result is to enrich the flour to replace the nutrients lost. Enriched does not necessarily mean that it now contains all nutrients it originally possessed nor is it as nutritious as it once was. Quite often fiber is lost throughout this process.
Some of the benefits of eating whole food are they contain fiber, minerals and vitamins which will reduce the risks of diseases such as Diabetes, Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease. Not to mention antioxidants which protect cells against damage.
All these are important benefits of consuming whole foods are important to me but for me personally, it is also taste and quality. I simply take pleasure in using the freshest ingredients possible, trying new recipes and tasting new foods. Some of my favorite veggies are Kale, Arugula and Broccoli. This isn’t always the easiest to do in the dead of winter so my recommendation is to eat foods in season and readily available which can cut down your grocery bill. The price in the supermarket quite often reflects this and is your clue to savings.
One thing I realized while redesigning my pantry and fridge was that many times I had good intentions on eating my fruits and veggies but once again I fell into the buy more, save more trap.
I would buy fresh produce and use it for a few meals. Before you know it, it has developed mold in the crisper of the refrigerator and then into the garbage. Not only were well needed nutrients being lost but I was throwing money away. It was a wasteful way to shop. Today I buy food in smaller, manageable portions that I know I will use. If I have over purchased, I make excess vegetables into delicious and hearty soups or dips.
Another cost saving tip is to buy dried beans and grains in bulk which are inexpensive and can be stored in jars. Beans can be used to create healthy dips, salad dressings or toppings for stews, salads or into a dish such as Dahl. You will be amazed at how much tastier and beneficial hummus made from dried beans tastes compared to the processed tubs sitting in the deli of your local supermarket. Just like any recipe you make, you can adjust and create to your own liking! Not to mention, it can be quite a bit cheaper and save you the bill the restaurant. Make a double batch for those times when you don’t want to stand in front of the stove. “Planned Over’s” can save the day.
Non Essential Elimination Challenge
Take my challenge: Eliminate one non essential item(s) per week from your purchases and put the money you would have spent towards a healthier grocery list! It’s all about choice.
Some items that you might consider eliminating:
- A dinner out
- a movie rental
- lottery tickets
- expensive coffees
Invest in yourself. You are worth it.
Alexa Cooper says
Wow, this was an awesome post. I do totally agree with people trying to shop for cheap and then ripping themselves off and eating all that nasty stuff. Also,what really bugs me is that the package of mashed potatoes comes with detailed instructions, but the sack of potatoes come without anything. Most people have no idea how to prepare vegetables unless they are the frozen kind in the little bags.
Great write up Christina!
I agree with the whole foods thing. I try to eat as much raw whole food as I can stand because I know the gazillion health benefits of it. This also goes back to the “you are what you eat” saying which is totally true and we do have control over it.
Quality article Christina!
I agree with every aspect. Your article even inspired me to make a blog post of my own. I hope you don’t mind I quoted your article?
The article’s called “Junk food: convenience and low price equals bad deal”
Keep up the good posts!
Thank you for your comments, folks! I’ve definately come a long way in my choices for food and realize its more then just feeding the hunger…. So glad you liked the article!
Just a quick comment, in reviewing your spend more buy less theory. This works if you have a higher income and aren’t trying to feed and clothe a family of 4 on less than $28,000 a year (and not living on welfare or AISH) (due to my husband’s accident not permitting him to not work for almost 2 years) , this includes taxes, rent, mortgage, utilities, fuel, financing charges and then groceries. I don’t eat out, I don’t drink coffee, I don’t unnecessarily stock up. I cannot eat a number of foods (dried beans, lentils, fish, coffee, tomatos etc.) due to an eating disorder and you are genaralizing that all overweight people are stupid and overbuying. I get paid twice a month, I cannot go grocery shopping every week, I buy what I can, when I can. Kids need clothes because they are growing and I cannot go to work naked. So please rethink what you are promoting and advise people that if they can afford to grocery shop every week and purchase the whole grains, whole foods and fresh produce then do so, do not sacrifice all of life’s other necessities just to eat. I can go hungry, I cannot miss work.
B: The article I wrote was written as suggestions and ideas.
It was a commentary on how many people choose to eat unhealthy food to save money because they don’t want to spend more money on perhaps healthier choices. We will willingly go and spend $5 on a gourmet coffee but not spend it on buying of several vegetables.
I certainly did not suggest that only overweight people are stupid or overshop. My husband is not overweight by any means and is a hoarder of food stuff. I am overweight and not a stupid woman. Sure, I make some poor choices. The issue is: It is about choice.
The principles mentioned in the article can apply to anyone and to any income. For example, dried beans can be purchased in bulk and in most cases are cheaper then the tinned variety. Also, bulk beans do not have the preservatives or salt such as tinned beans do. If you cannot grocery shop every week, you do have the option of freezing or perhaps making a variety of meals from some of the ingredients so that fresh does not spoil and go to waste. Some of the nutrients will be lost but vegetables, etc. are better then none. Do you live in a climate where you can grown your own produce outside or indoors? Could be an option. Reflect on your options.
As you mentioned, your family is on a limited income so that means you have to make choices with regards to food, clothing, and shelter. I am sure the same goes for food as well.
Life is all about choices and everyday we make a choice. Thank you for taking the time to express your comments.