I Can't Afford It
Sunday, January 20, 2013
A visit to a family member today started a discussion that ended with us agreeing to disagree. And you can probably guess by the title of this post what our discussion was on. Now this is a couple that we have listened to complain about their weight, food costs, med costs (she's on fertility pills, he's on diabetic meds) for a long time. This was my first week of true healthy shopping, and this was what I learned this week.
Like most people I set a budget every week for groceries. I take that out of the bank and my goal is to not have to dip in to the account again. I have always made a shopping list and always at the end of the shop I have no money (and I am a coupon-a-holic) left and a lot of empty/throw away calories stocking my freezer/cupboard and my fridge looks pretty bare (compared to now where there is no room for one more thing cause it's back with veggies and containers of fruit). I'm talking pasta, canned cheapest pasta sauce, mac n cheese boxes, meat at every dinner, lots of highly processed foods were in that cupboard.
I didn’t change my budget this week. This was the first week where I went in with the plan/goal to buy healthier foods (still able to use a couple of coupons) and avoid the junk isle(s) which worked out to walking mostly the outside isles of the store, and then going up the isle where the canned tomatoes, sauce and paste are. Bought a lot of fresh foods, and some staples the family requires (i.e. meats - not as much as normal, diced, no salt added canned tomatoes, bread - working on getting them off their current brand/type). I spent less than I normally would at this one store.
I then went to the bulk store and spent more there than normal – I did spend $2 on junk candy (15 yr old son took it to school) and I bought a lot of popcorn kernels (we have an air-popper). I still had budget money left. Enough that yesterday I went and bought what I needed for an impulse meal – Vegetable Moussaka. I wrote down what I needed, ran in and got just what was on the list. I still have money left. My fridge/freezer and cupboards are full with healthy choices.
No those fresh veggies/fruits are not organic. Some of the canned stuff is. But this was a test for me to prove to myself that even on a tight budget I can change our food choices. Now I will take this to the next step and add in, not completely, but make some of my produce choices organic where/when I can.
I’m also working on the plans for adding higher and more raised beds and larger planters around the house (we live in a forested area which leaves us very little area with part or full sun so growing anything is difficult). Even with that, with what money I save we have agreed to put it into an account designated for the purpose of increasing our home grown foods.
Bottom line, this journey starts with small changes. Take the money you spend on junk food and put it towards healthier choices start with leafy greens and salad fixings, raw fruit/veg snacking foods. Find some new healthier recipes or change up favourite ones to make them better for you. Try new foods. I was intimated by that eggplant in the moussaka, but I worked with it and we liked it and I will make eggplant a regular ingredient. Remember that even though these are healthier choices, portion control for some things is still needed.
When you embrace this healthy lifestyle change of eating better and yes you still have to exercise to maximize the results, the weight will come off. Any small change is a step forward.