What do you usually have for a snack? Do you choose something healthy like fruit or veggies? Or is it more like a bag of chips or your favorite candy bar? How about dinner? Do you make dinner from scratch, or do you heat up something that is premade?
If you are like many people, you go the prepackaged high-calorie route. Why? Well convenience is a big part of it. We all lead what seems like lives that are more hectic every day and we choose the easiest route when it comes to food. But there’s another reason, and I think it’s becoming more evident than ever and that is eating healthy not only takes more time, but calorie for calorie, it costs more.
Now on a blog about saving money, am I suggesting we should go with unhealthy foods to save bucks? No, but I think the subject deserves examination into what it takes to eat healthy and why some just give up trying.
Grow a garden and get your own produce? On many personal finance and productivity blogs and sites, this is the advice we are given. This sounds like a good idea, but there are problems. If we are looking for healthier options that don’t require any more time commitment than usual, this is a no go. It takes a lot of time to set up a garden and maintain it. Moreover, there is a learning curve for some of us without green thumbs because the rules are different depending on where you live in regard to insects, soil, etc.
In addition, depending on where you live, your access to fresh fruits and vegetables may be limited. Sunny California or Florida can supply a lot of fresh produce almost year around, and since it is locally available, its expense from farm to market is low. On the other hand, large urban areas and colder climates must have their produce delivered, driving up the cost. Also, the quality and taste are affected as the produce must be picked sooner, or the process diminishes the taste. Ever compared a fresh from the garden tomato and one from the grocery store and you know what I mean.
I don’t know about you, but when I snack, I think naughty. I’ll eat veggies, but it won’t be my first choice. I’ll also need some dip like ranch dressing or caramel for apples. And as mentioned above, during Midwest winters, tomatoes and other produce taste terrible.
Time is Money
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, many times our meal and snack choices are based on time. Are you going to make your own spaghetti sauce or open a jar? Most will do the jar. Unless you have the storage space, money for fresh ingredients, and the time, your family will hear that familiar “pop” of opening a jar of sauce when it’s spaghetti night. Eating healthy takes effort and time. No one ever said, “This is easy as a garden” or “That will be a piece of broccoli.” You get the idea.
More and more of us are taking our lunch instead of buying it, trying to be both frugal and healthier, but there are problems. That lettuce you opened for your sandwich is already looking brown by the next day. Your apples don’t last the week and those cucumbers have squishy spots. Oh, I’ll just buy my lunch today and stop by the store again on the way home. How often has this happened? The problem of storage has people buying canned fruit in syrup or skipping fruit and veggies altogether.
So Now What Do You Do
What I want you to take away from this is that eating healthy is something you should strive to do, but do it with your eyes open. If you start out thinking it will be cheap and easy, you’ll throw your hands up in frustration before the week is out. Know what you are getting into. Don’t believe the hype of eating healthy can be affordable or easy to do. I’ve heard it said that if someone would invent salad on a stick, we’d eat healthier and I tend to agree mostly with this statement. In the end, it’s hard to beat the drive-through.
Image courtesy of TheFemGeek