My sister Candace and I have had an on-going conversation about this topic for years. It’s definitely a topic that can be difficult to pinpoint because we all have different food purchasing habits and budgets and family sizes. So, a healthy food that we may think is reasonably priced because it fits into our food budget, may be expensive for others...or is it really?
In a recent Healing Life Wisdom podcast, Candace and talked about many points on this topic. In that podcast, I mentioned that I would be sharing several links.
On the topic of where to shop for your groceries, I was stunned to read how many Americans buy their food from dollar stores. HealthNutNews explained about 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes to buy processed foods. 60% of the food Americans eat is not just processed but ultra-processed which is defined as food products containing several ingredients that are not traditionally used in cooking. Also, besides salt, sugar, oils and fats, they can include artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Read the entire article here.
How can we encourage people to eat healthy? Is it a matter of time? Is it a matter of budget? A quick on-line search shows hundreds of budget-minded recipes: 20 recipes for eating healthy on a budget, cheap healthy meals, budget dinners, cheap heart healthy dinner ideas.
I did a little test on the cost of an Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup recipe. Going on-line to WalMart.com, I sourced all the ingredients in organic and came up with soup, side salad bread at $4.25 per serving. Note that this did not take into account the cost of basics, such as spices and WalMart did not offer an organic version of half and half.
There are actually many recipes that you can convert to healthier substitutes to eliminate pesticide laden greens and fruits, gmo’s and other processed and chemical additives. When looking to make the switch to incorporate more fresh organics into your diet, keep in mind that there is a list of the Dirty Dozen which includes the top twelve produce to always buy organic due to the heavy use of pesticides.
In 2018, that list included: strawberries, (with 20 different pesticides), spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers. At the same link, you will also find the Clean Fifteen list for those fruits and veggies that are clean to eat if you can’t find organic.
From webmd.com, there is a list of Tips for Sticking to Your Food Budget - ways you can keep your grocery bill low while your family eats healthier which includes: 1) Compare options and pay attention to portion size; 2) Plan before you shop - keep impulse buying to a minimum; 3) Choose cheaper protein - swap out red meat or fish with lentils for example; 4) Buy in season; 5).Go frozen when fruits and veggies aren’t in season. They’re usually frozen right after they’re picked so they may actually have more nutrients than “fresh” produce shipped from far away.