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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Non Diet Tips For A Healthy Lifestyle

Often when the topic of weight loss and a healthy lifestyle comes up, there are certain things that may come to mind.

Being hungry.

Deprivation. ( ohhh that MUST go with weight loss!)

Following rigid plans.

Following rigid plans for a number of weeks or months before getting back to “normal”.

Excessive exercise.

Cutting out all foods you love that bring you joy.

The list can go on. Can you add to it?

So often in a quest for a healthier lifestyle people overlook other areas that are more than “diet related” to being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s look at a few areas that can contribute to the overall success of a healthy lifestyle.

Rest.

We live in a world that promotes constant work and productivity. Often we sacrifice rest in the pursuit of busyness.

Yours truly can be just as bad.

I’m a night owl by nature but try to respect that my alarm still goes off a 6 a.m. no matter what time my head hits the pillow.

If there’s one thing being athletic has taught me, it’s the value of rest. Our bodies heal and repair in this time and honestly if I want to feel like I’m doing my best in my days quality rest is just as important as eating quality foods.

Don’t short yourself on rest time.

Get in outdoor time

It’s no secret that being outdoors is my jam. I will hands down, take a solid workout flying down the road on my bike, running or walking, over working out inside. It’s not just the exercise, but being out in the elements that makes me feel good. It clears my mind and feeds me mentally.

Being outdoors has wonderful therapeutic benefits. Make sure you get out not just for your physical self, but your mental self too.

Don’t cut out foods that you love

You know why so many people don’t last on structured, restrictive diets? Because they have a misguided idea they have to cut out all the things they enjoy.

Supposedly being on a diet means you have to suffer, do without, and be miserable to lose weight.

No. No you don’t.

In fact you have a higher chance of success if you allow your favorite things into your nutrition plan

You can still lose weight while building in foods you love. Doing so will keep you from binging or giving up because you feel deprived.

Remember to treat yourself

Really. Get a pedi. Have that special coffee treat. Buy that cute dress ( or shirt!)

Do the thing that makes you happy.

Treats are those non-essential things in life that make life fun. Give yourself permission to do an occasional treat.

Spend time with those who matter

Pretty self explanatory right? Physically we’re designed for relationships.. they give us a wholeness and completeness in our lives. Family and friends not only love us but can be our support system as we work towards a healthier, more fit lifestyle.

Keep these non-diet tips in mind to help you reach your health and fitness goals.

Would you add anything to this list?

Snacks, Treats, And Weight Loss

snacks[1]

Peanut M&M’s. French fries. Homemade chocolate cake. BBQ potato chips. Homemade sugar cookies with powdered sugar frosting. Apple pie. Sweettarts.

Kinda sounds like a menu for PMS, doesn’t it ?

Actually, those are some of my most favorite treats.

I remember sharing in a Facebook post one time about my craving and subsequent consumption of some Peanut M&M’s and someone commented they were so happy I was “normal” and that I had shared that. Meaning I didn’t live off of a steady diet of nothing but veggies and nuts 😉

Yes, I’m a fit woman, and yes, I still enjoy treats.

I think that’s one of the things that’s really important when you start working on losing weight and getting into a healthier lifestyle… that you don’t set yourself up for deprivation and serious restriction from all things you love.

Now hold on… I’m not saying  freely indulge in treats whenever…it’s about learning  balance.

I think that’s what allowed me to be successful in my weight loss journey. Well, there’s a few things but this specific one we’re talking about today is treats.. things we love… and things by darn, we wanna have when the mood hits us.

As I developed my own plan to successfully lose weight one thing I mentally determined was that nothing was “forbidden”, “bad” or “off limits”.

Now you might be thinking… “whoa… like then you’d go off the deep end and eat everything!”

No. ‘Cause I’m not dumb.

But it did remove ( for me) all power of food. If nothing was forbidden, it had no tempting power. It knew all food was available (IF) I wanted something.

It was important to me that I could still enjoy celebrations and those things that make life…enjoyable. I wasn’t going to be one of those poor people at a family gathering looking miserable in a corner not having what everyone else was because I was “dieting”.

No way.

So I began my slow journey. Some nights, I desperately wanted something chocolate. I found a few Hershey Kisses, savored, met that need but didn’t sink the work of my day.

If there was a birthday party I allowed myself a small piece of cake. If I didn’t want the cake, I took some ice cream. Sometimes, a little of both.

If I wanted a burger and fries, I had them.

Mind you, this wasn’t often, but when I did want it I had it.

My mental mantra looking at foods, especially treats, was “does this support my health and fitness goals?”

I learned to find balance on my journey to get leaner.

I also learned to be super selective about what I would put in my mouth. As in… “Do I REALLY love this? Or is something that doesn’t do so much for me?”

Learning to really assess what’s important to you is a huge step to controlling the random “treats” you might consume.

For me it works like this…

Things I can pass up and/or don’t tempt me:

Store bought sheet cakes with that greasy frosting.

Pretty much any store bought cookie.

Cakes made with a mix.

Cokes.

Almost anything sold in a gas station.

Things that are totally worthy of eating:

My homemade three layer chocolate cake

Ice cream with nuts.

Amazing sugar cookies I make during the holidays that have  butter and cream cheese in the dough.

Homemade cinnamon rolls.

French fries.

Obviously, there are other things on both lists. What I want you to begin to do is really think about your own list of “things not worth eating” and “things worth eating”. When you begin to get really selective about what matters to you, and what doesn’t, you are making forward progress.

Not everything out there needs consumption. And really, if you totally don’t love it, why eat it ?  Don’t mindless shove whatever is around in your mouth… especially if it’s something not so important.

Those treats, whether they are things we eat or drink can wreak havoc on our attempts to lose weight.  Being aware is crucial to your success. It’s entirely easy to go through a day and think you really don’t have that many “extras”. But if you’re having trouble making the scale move, a serious assessment of those other foods will help see where the weak places are in your day and week.

Writing down all extra snacks and food will give a look at your snacking habits. This isn’t to beat you up or make you feel bad, but to help you gain awareness of where extra calories come in that are hindering your weight loss progress.

Have a handful of chips? Write it down. Glass of wine? Yep, write it down. A couple Reeses Peanut Butter cups? Creamer in your coffee? Sugar?

Write everything.

You’ve got it. No matter how big or small, write it down. Do it for 2 weeks. Be honest. This is all about awareness.

At the end you might be able to see habits or patterns you need to work on. Then, you can begin to also have your list of “worthy to eat snacks” and ” not so worthy to eat snacks”

Doing this, and getting real with yourself in this area will have positive long term benefits for your health and fitness journey.

And you’ll find you really can have your cake and eat it too 😉

Have you made intentional choices on being picky with your favorite snacks or treats? How has that effected your weight loss?

 

 

 

 

 

Will Power Or Habit ?

Why hello December! November certainly was a whirlwind, wasn’t it ? Here in the States we just wrapped up Thanksgiving last week… which is always an amazing overload to the senses.

A day full of delicious food and tasty treats… how can you go wrong with that ??

Thanksgiving is like this seque into Christmas with it’s plethora of delights.

Candy. Cookies. Rich meals. Cakes and treats.

I grew up with a grandmother and mom who were baking queens during the Christmas season.  I will share more on that in another post, but it’s safe to say, I learned all my tricks from them. What a wonderful heritage to be given.

I love baking and I love giving it away. The week of Thanksgiving I took a variety of treats to my local Starbucks ( ’cause I love all my little baristas there 😉 and I want them to know I appreciate them. One of the comments I got was…

“How do you stay in the shape you’re in, and bake like that??”

My response, ” I bake, but I don’t eat much of it” 😉

Then comes something I’ve gotten used to hearing from people.

” I just don’t have that kind of will power”

Ah yes, the illusive “will power”.  It’s defined as control of ones impulses and actions, self-control.

Often when I’m talking with people that subject comes up. They are struggling, wanting to lose weight and move into a positive lifestyle change yet feel their willpower is lacking.

Can I say at best, it can fail us ? Oh we will be “good”. We will decline treats and special foods and maybe for awhile feel successful. We will drastically alter all of our eating and feel like we are finally getting somewhere.  After attempting to keep rein on our willpower we can even begin to feel angry with it.

“Why can’t we have that treat?”

“Why can’t we enjoy the things we really love?”

And then… one day..  we snap.

Everything that’s been off limits, is now far game. If it can run, it better get outta the way. You’ve held on to your willpower for as long as you can and now it’s anything goes. You deserve to enjoy things too, right ?

And then… you’re back at square one. You might have feelings of failure, discouragement and frustration that once again, you just don’t have the willpower to control things and you’ll never get your goals.

May I offer an alternate suggestion ? One that you slowly, simply, build into your life?

Habits. You begin to build new habits, day in and day out until it’s seamlessly a part of your life and willpower doesn’t really have to do with what you eat. You begin to develop comfortable boundaries with what you eat and when.

I shared on my Facebook page this past Monday that I was ready to get back to “normal” and by that I meant I was ready for some serious exercise and lighter eating. You see, I was able to enjoy my Thanksgiving celebrations, but I’ve built habits into my life that I naturally want to return to.

For me, getting back on the road for a run and having a big colorful salad for lunch was normal for me. Over the past few years I’ve made exercise and eating well, in moderation, habits for myself. Once these things are ingrained in you, it’s not hard to return to them.

When I talk with people I try and stress the importance of building new habits to make the journey to a lifestyle change. I believe it’s ultimately, the only thing that will stick.

Understand this: habits aren’t built over night. They are built from a purposeful and intentional desire to do things differently. So many things we do in our lives are habit, good and bad.

Know you will bomb some days. You’ll feel frustrated and wonder if it will ever stick. It will. Get up and start at it again.

When I first started out walking I was so worried if I missed a single day I’d fall off the proverbial wagon. If I didn’t get my walk in the morning due to scheduling, when I got home, the first thing I did was grab my shoes and hit the road. ( this was before days where I was all super athletically haha) I wore what I had on, changed my shoes, and got it done.

You know what that was doing ? Building a habit in me that said “purposeful, daily exercise is important and necessary. You make time for it. ”

Food. In slow, daily, and steady changes I taught my body to appreciate eating healthy food. I also allowed it Peanut M&M’s if it wanted  a few. When you KNOW you can have something, it really removes the power from it, because you know it’s there… if you really need it. In time, certain foods and treats honestly began to have less of a draw. I recognized how good I felt eating well, eating appropriate amounts and feeding my body in a healthy way.

Again, I had days I bombed, and days I felt like super woman. No matter what, I kept a forward moving mentality. Each day gained, got me that much closer to making those things permanent habits for me.

Not my amazing willpower. Not my superior strength of being able to say “no”.

New habits that were leading to a lifestyle change.

I’ve heard it can take 21 days for a new habit to be set in place. Depending on what it is, some things might take more or less time based on our personalities.

My suggestions if you want to build new positive, life changing habits?
Don’t try and change everything all at once. Pick one or maybe two things.

Slow and steady is best.

Do have a journal to write down your progress in the beginning to hold yourself accountable. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to ask you how you’re doing.

Focus on the day your in. Move through it making good choices. Allow yourself a measure of grace if you fall, but get up and get back at it.

No throwing in the towel!

Do not allow yourself to make excuses to not do what you’ve set out to do. You are more than capable of success.

Make a realistic goal sheet of habits you want to form.

Understand you have to practice your new habit daily to make it a um…. habit 😉

Seeking to build habits instead of having “willpower” will lead you to a new freedom and your healthier lifestyle.

What good habits do you have in place already? What habits do you need to work on and build to live a healthier lifestyle ?