The Cost Of Healthy Eating

Occasionally I can keep things to myself, but not often.

Sometimes I just have a really hard time seeing nonsense and not calling it out… especially when it involves food and nutrition.

This is made harder by the fact there are sheer volumes of nonsense involving food and nutrition in the world today.

It hurts my head.

So in today’s episode of “Are you kidding me” I want to explore this thought about a food post I’ve seen multiple times circulating Facebook. I’ve seen it in other forms, this just happens to be the current edition of it.

Ah yes. The old “they make it so hard to eat healthy because it’s expensive ” line.

Let’s not miss they are comparing a cheap carton of fries available at any fast food place to a prepped carton of fruit in grocery store. ( insert eye roll here)

I’m just gonna cut to the chase on this topic.

What you eat is your responsibility.

Really.

I’m not sure why this is often hard to grasp and far to overlooked. Every single day I’m responsible for what goes into my mouth and the foods I feed my body.

Whether it’s optimally nutritional or not, no one is stuffing food in my face but me.

I call the shots.

Why then is this food post shared around like there are victims who have to eat junk food…or let’s just say…not optimally nutritional food?

You..me…we make a choice to what we choose to eat.

We are individually responsible for our food choices. It can’t be blamed on anyone but us.

So yeah, the first step to being real with this is taking ownership of your eating and the foods you eat as well as what you buy at the store or when you eat out.

With that being said….

Let’s get to the intent of this food post.

That it’s cheaper to eat non- nutritional food over healthy food.

Like anything in this world, there are a variety of price points on lots of things, food iincluded.

I may not often buy meat out of the fancy meat counter, but it doesn’t mean I can’t buy good meat in the other areas of the meat dept. I buy lean meats that are on sale and chicken which is always reasonably priced.

I have a budget to operate in, as do most of us. You can still operate in your budget and make good food choices.

Since they use the idea of fries for 1.00 ( obviously at a fast food restaurant) and the fruit is obviously the prepped and packed kind ( you ALWAYS pay more for that service!) at a grocery store I don’t find that much of a fair comparison.

Here’s what I will compare. Our local Wendys restaurant is a fast food place but they also offer lots of healthy options.

They have value menus with those 1.00 fries for sure, but they also offer 1.00 salads too.

I love their “real” salads on the menu though. They are often a tasty mix of veggies and fruit with nice serving of protein added with grilled chicken. I skip the creamy calorie laden dressings and opt for their light choices. Water is always my standard drink.

I can’t help but note….the salads are similar in price to a burger/fry/soda combo.

So what’s the difference?

The choice I make.

I love fries. They are like…pure deliciousness.

I also understand they aren’t an optimal food choice which is why I limit them to maybe…twice a month as a treat…

I fully understand though if I walk into that fast food business and decide to order a meal with fries then I am doing it because I choose to, not because it’s a good financial move.

We need to stop using that as a reason for poor food choices.

We are individually responsible for how we choose to fed our bodies.

What about the grocery store?

Pretty much a similar strategy applies.

Really, you don’t need cokes, cookies, and cheese puffs filling up your basket.

Is that stuff cheap? Yep.

But so are canned fruits, beans, tomatoes and other veggies. Add to that lowfat yogurts, cottage cheese and lowfat puddings

Eggs are an amazing and versatile food that are economical and can be used so many ways, for meals and snacks.

Buy real cheese in brick form and cut into cubes. Opt for healthier whole grain crackers and breads. Whole grain pastas and noodles are also other healthy low cost meal choices.

I noted the store brand “wheat bread” was 2.00 but for 89 cents more I got a more nutritional bread made with several grains.

What about fresh produce?

As the photo shows in my post, they’ve used a container of prepped fruit. I see this often in the store and it can be handy. However, you do pay for that convenience….quite a bit. Therefore, I really don’t see this as a fair assessment in this food post to eating healthy not being cost effective.

I do buy some prepped items. One of those is broccoli. I buy the huge bag but it’s convenient for me to use in salads, as a snack, or to throw in a pan and roast. I don’t mind paying a bit more for the convenience.

Mostly though I buy fruits and veggies I prep myself. You can buy many of those already prepped but since we are talking about eating healthy and affordable I’ll suggest prepping your own.

And shop seasonal foods! Last year the blackberry crop was amazing and almost every other week the large cartons were like …1.48…

I seriously ate my body weight in them!

Shopping seasonal on fruits and veggies is an economical way to eat healthy.

One thing our store has started doing is bagging produce that needs to move and marking it 50% off.

Let me tell you… I troll that dept heavy now looking for those tags! I’ve also experimented with new foods because they were on sale.

You may check to see if your store offers those mark downs.

Frozen foods

I understand sometimes the fresh stuff can go bad on you. It won’t if you plan meals with it 😉

Anyway, frozen offers healthy foods, and they won’t spoil.

Corn, broccoli, mixed veggies, snap peas, black eyed peas, stir fry mix, edamame and fruits are all good frozen choices. ( I personally do not care for the green beans or cauliflower as I think they are bland and the beans are usually tough) if you can’t get fresh green beans ( the best) canned are a tastier choice.

The bottom line

I buy a variety of foods for my family. Treats are an enjoyable part of life but I also shop to buy nutritionally healthy foods too.

Buying a bag of apples or oranges is usually wthin the price range of a package of Nutter Butter cookies or Oreos.

Do both have an appropriate place? Yes.

Is one more important to a healthy lifestyle than the other? Absolutely.

Can we then suggest eating healthy is more costly than eating food that offers less nutritional benefits?

No. And why?

Because it comes back to what I started with. We are responsible for what we buy and eat. We are responsible for the food choices we make, good or not so good.

There are many, many healthy and affordable food options. We are not victims who have to eat junk food because it’s more “affordable”.

That’s the lie I’m sick of seeing circulated.

Healthy eating is quite affordable, however, you must be willing to eat that way and choose the healthier options that are available.

Tell me, do you think eating healthy is more eexpensive than eating non healthy foods? What are some of your favorite cost effective healthy foods/meals?

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Optimal Health

Optimal health. What comes to your mind when you hear those words? A certain image? Lifestyle? A look? Perhaps it’s what happens inside of you that you can’t see… like all systems working great. Is it the “perfect” picture of health? Energetic and vibrant looking? Rosy skin? Clear bright eyes? A lack of illness or disease? Strong with the ability to do all your daily tasks with energy?

As I’ve noted before there are a lot of buzz words out there today that “health” companies use to make their product sound more appealing to potential customers, to sell you on it.  Usually the words are descriptive and designed to make you think that by taking/using their product this very thing will be given to you.

Magically. No effort.

The marketing of these products is nothing less than impressive, but the times I’m choking and rolling my eyes over some of the claims….

Keep in mind these company claims are in turn, regurgitated by the sales people who largely don’t really know what they are talking about either. It has been interesting to note the fine print showing up on many labels now that these products aren’t FDA approved or endorsed.

Ok  I digress… but my current thought was generated from the catch phrase on some products promising this ….

Optimal health

First of all, what does optimal mean ? Webster defines it as most desirable or satisfactory.

Health is defined as the condition of being well and free from disease.

So optimal health could be defined as a desirable and satisfactory state of being well physically ( and mentally) and free from disease or illness.

Sounds good, right ?

Isn’t that something we all desire and should seek to keep? Or if we have health issues shouldn’t they ( if possible) be something we strive to improve or reverse? There are many conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, blood sugar issues etc that can be changed or reversed with improved health.

But here’s where I get tripped up… every. single. time.

Why am I going to take a man made product to help me achieve optimal health? Why am I going to spend my money on a product when I could buy healthy food with it?

It does amaze me that people are willing to do so many things other than what they really should be doing which is focusing on eating real, whole foods and making changes in their nutrition and exercise program.

A focus on better food quality will go a long way to achieving optimal health.  That will show up inside and out on you.

So how does one achieve optimal health?

First, it has to be something we desire and intentionally pursue. It will require consciously choosing a different lifestyle. You will have to be purposeful in your choices and decisions.

Learn to move more. Our bodies need exercise and are made to move. Active, vigorous movement allows our blood and lymphatic system to flow the way it’s designed to.  Not only that exercise benefits our mental well being as much as our physical. Exercise is good for lots of reasons but that’s not my focus today 😉

Food. Obviously, your diet should be loaded with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They should be present at all your meals.  I don’t think I can stress enough the huge benefits of adequate fresh produce. To me, optimal health is achieved with good quantities of  produce.  Your daily food intake should also include whole grains, lean meats and dairy products.

It should be light on empty calorie foods that offer not a lot in the nutritional category. This includes of course, sugary drinks, alcohol, refined processed foods like cookies, crackers, chips, sweet breads, fast foods, salted foods etc.

Water. Our bodies are made up of a lot of water. Water transports waste from our bodies and hydrates us. Water is essential for our health. It helps our skin do it’s job of regulating body temperature through sweating, water is essential for circulation of nutrients through the body, it aids in digestion and creates saliva. Drink your water.

Your mind. Read. Learn to play an instrument. Take up a new hobby. Go back to school or take a class on something that interests you. Be willing to learn and grow your mind.  Find something that interests you and become an expert on it.

Your soul.  Whatever nourishes your soul, find time for it. Prayer, meditation, scripture reading, devotionals, whatever your personal preference is, find something that feeds your inner being.

Optimal health has the potential to be achieved with a balanced lifestyle that feeds the body, soul and mind. It will also vary from person to person as to what needs to be addressed to reach that goal. It requires us to be intentional in the pursuing and maintaining of it but it will be well worth our efforts.

 

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