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.