Marsha is working toward her goals and has heard, many times, about people who feel that they cannot afford to eat healthy. Here’s her take on this…
After hearing several complains about people not being able to “afford” to eat healthy, I decided to look into it. One person who claimed they couldn’t afford health foods was eating enough bread and muffins for one breakfast that he could have afforded to be eating a small breakfast steak! So, I’ve been wondering: how can an intelligent person be so confused as to what is healthy eating and what is not?
The reason most people give other people a hard time about eating healthy food is because they know that they also should be doing the same, but don’t want to change. People don’t give up their old habits easily, especially when it comes to food. (remember, old habits die hard). It’s really not that there isn’t enough money for groceries, it’s just that grocery money is being spent on the wrong foods.
Seldom is anybody really starving in the house; there is always food to eat, it’s just not nutritionally good food. I watched a friend on a calorie-counting website who was almost starving due to losing her job. She lived on cheap white bread, tomato sandwiches, and peanut butter for all of her meals for almost two months before finally finding a new job – now that’s starving! That is what it means to not be able to afford to eat healthy.
At the same time, I look around the grocery store and I can see other peoples’ carts filled with 50% carbs, 25% fat, and even less protein – with barely any vegetables at all! Unfortunately, these cart-fulls of food will never make anyone feel good or be healthy.
The thing is: it doesn’t really cost any more money to eat healthy, you just have to reallocate the grocery money and switch the percentages around. If you really look into it, fattening, carb-loaded, junk food is very expensive. And a big problem with it is that it does not contain the nutritional values you need so your body is still starving. Since your body is starving, you need to eat two or three times the amount of food you would actually need if you ate a nutritionally balanced meal. Is it really less expensive if you have to buy twice as much?
When I put my groceries on the cashier’s belt, I get raised eyebrows and I love it. 50% of what I put up are veggies and fruit – canned, frozen, fresh, you name it. 25% of what I buy is protein – beef, pork, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt. And only 15% of what I buy is carbs and even these are healthier carbs like sweet potatoes, whole wheat breads, and brown rice. The last 10% of my groceries are allocated into pet foods and the like.
And you know what the crazy thing is? I’m actually spending less now on groceries than I was six months ago – before joining TD Nation! Not to mention we are both eating unbelievably healthier meals now.
Another hard part can be if your significant other or family is eating differently than you are. You tend to end up with more food than you need. That’s how it was for me in the beginning – I was shopping the old way for his high-carb lifestyle and then trying to buy good food for myself with whatever money was left over.
Now, six months later, he’s eating what I’m eating about 85-90% of the time. An occasional fish fry, tater tots, mac and cheese once a month (not every week, and his Oreo cookies keep him happy! You know what the secret is? Leading by example! People want to be healthy, but they don’t think they can. When you lead the path, they’re bound to follow.
It’s our job then, to lead by example and teach people how to eat healthy on a shoe string budget, not just tell them to do it. Many people really want to eat healthy, but just don’t know how to make it happen. They’ve been told again and again that it is too expensive. They’ve also been told that they can’t do it. They decide that it is easier to say they are unable to get healthy because of money and accept that they can’t do it than to do the work to make it happen.
Instead, people who say they cannot afford to be healthy need to look to themselves and decipher why they want to be healthy in the first place. What is it that makes them want to lose weight, get fit, or just be healthier in general? When your why is strong enough, you can do anything. Anyone who has gotten anywhere in life knows this.
Those who are worried about the cost of groceries need to focus on why they want to be healthy – when they remember their why, it’s easier to focus on how to make it happen and the sacrifices don’t feel quite so bad. They need to remember that their why needs to be strong enough to make them not want to put those two bags of chips, cookies, and snack foods into the cart.
So, that’s my take on “I’m broke so I can’t be healthy and therefore I’m overweight and have poor health issues.” If you made it this far, congratulations and thank you!
Thank you again to Marsha for guest-posting on DIY Jahn! We truly appreciate your contribution and know that it will make a difference in peoples’ lives. Want more posts on budgets, weight loss, DIY projects, crafts, recipes, and more? Follow DIY Jahn’s blog!
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