Now please understand that I wasn't judging this couple because I understand the reason behind shopping the way that they were and I can promise you that it didn't have much to do with what "tastes good." I saw how much their bill came to for their cart filled with food and then it was my turn. I put my healthy food arsenal on the conveyor belt and saw that the total for my healthy foods (For only one person) was scarily close to the cost of food for the 2 + people that had gone before me with the cart of unhealthy choices. Are we really surprised that 70% of American adults are overweight? Or that there is an obesity epidemic that is hitting Americas youth?? How is anyone expected to make healthy choices when advertising and sales prices are forcing people to make unhealthy decisions? Why would you buy an apple that costs 2.50 when you could buy a bag of potato chips that lasts longer for 1.50? These are all thoughts that plague me every time I go to the grocery store. It leads to thoughts such as "what am I willing to pay for my health? or could I put a price on my childs ability to run and play?" Note: I dont have any children but if I did I would not want to be placed in the position where I would have to choose between paying my bills and buying my children food thats important for their health and well being.
I wanted to be able to arm my readers with the ability to still make healthy decisions even though most grocery stores and advertising are usually trying to convince them to do the opposite. After some thinking I thought of a few ways in which someone can avoid being sucked in the food industries ploys. Ways that people could save money and still manage to make healthy eating decisions.
•1. Make sure you always prepare yourself for your trip to the grocery store. It is so important to go to the store with a plan of meals and snacks for your week. If you go in with a plan then you are less likely to aimlessly wander and be taken in by the advertising and fatty snacks. You have to take the time to think about your plan of attack when you're shopping.
•2. Try to buy foods that can be versatile. I have discovered that healthy staples in your pantry can be very helpful and can be used in a number of recipes in different ways. Some of these staples are rice, potatoes, spinach, and whole grain pasta. They are used in many healthy recipes and can be spread out in their use for quite some time! Also, they are pretty general items in the grocery store and because of that aren't that expensive.
•3. Save money by preparing and separating things yourself at home. This is not a rule that helps save money simply for health food but for all foods. Grocery stores like to charge you extra for thinking about your convenience and because of this they will raise prices on items like pre cut carrot sticks, 100 calorie packs, etc. Think about buying these items in bulk and separating them by serving size when you return home. This way you are still buying the same healthy foods but are not paying someone else to separate or peal them for you.
•4. Always..always..always check serving sizes! The average American eater does not look at food labels and does not realize that what they would normally serve themselves is a much larger portion than they should be having. Serving size has been created to show the amount of the food product that you should consume to sustain yourself. If you were to only eat the recommended serving size of the foods you buy think about how many more times you would be able to enjoy them and still feel sustained.
•5. Last and not least.. the rule that your mother has told you since you were a kid. Never shop on an empty stomach. You are so much more likely to splurge and buy more food or make bad food decisions when you are hungry. Make sure you eat before you go so that you can make smart decisions based on your health plan and not your rumbling stomach.
Now this subject is something that I could go on and on about for a very long time. I feel very passionate about how its society and marketing that are adding to the health issues of today's average American. Instead I would really love to hear what you guys have to say about this! Let me know about any instances that you have run into unhealthy marketing ploys or your thoughts on the cost of health foods. I am very interested and I promise I will respond!