Standing in the line at the grocery store one day the lady behind me heard my total and said “Eating healthy is expensive!” Although many more witty comments came to mind, after a brief pause to think of something more tactful I said, “But I can’t remember the last time I took medicine or went to the doctor for being sick.” This was a couple years ago and since then I have been to the doctor a couple times for a sinus infection or two, but that’s been the extent of my illness. The amount I choose to spend on food has been more than recovered in the amount of money I have saved on health care and sick leave. Not to mention the priceless benefit of just feeling well everyday!
In September, a George Washington University study reported that the annual cost of obesity for women is $4,789, while for men it is $2, 646. That is $399.08 and $220.50 for women and men respectively each month that is spent on cost accrued by obesity. The costs of being overweight has reported to also be higher at $524 for women and $432 for men annually. In this study, obesity was defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher while overweight was a body mass index of 25-29. In this economy more than ever it has become very important to many families to look to drive down expenses wherever they can. Why not drive down the cost of your medical and other expenses by becoming healthier?
Your grocery bill doesn’t have to go up to begin eating healthier. Throughout college, just like everyone else, I was strapped for cash. My parents would have helped me if I’d asked but I was prideful and determined to make it through as much as I could without their monetary support. To this day I am grateful for that decision as I have learned time and time again how to eat healthy on a tiny budget and even on dorm food! So, when people tell me it’s impossible to eat healthy on their salary, I challenge them to get creative and start looking further.
Throughout much of college I was feeding myself healthy, protein, fruit, and vegetable rich meals for $25-$30 a week. I’d buy bone-in chicken thighs (less than $1 per pound!), frozen chicken breasts, ground beef, country style pork ribs, frozen vegetables (frozen fresh and less than 50 cents per serving), and fresh fruits. Oh – did I live for a sale, but I made it work. I went to the cheap grocery store, I clipped coupons, and sometimes I’d go to a couple different stores to make sure I got the sale items. It was more difficult than spaghetti, hot dogs, and roman noodles, but because I chose to eat well I was able to be a better student, have the energy to work a couple jobs and workout.
So, are you ready to cut down on your medical costs, have more energy, eat healthier and just maybe lose some weight as a side affect? Below is a “Grocery Replacement Checklist” to lower the cost of your grocery bill AND make it a bit healthier. It’s just a few ideas, nothing too earth-shattering, but it’s another subtle change that will help you work toward a healthier lifestyle.
Grocery Replacement Checklist
Replace: 2 boxes cereal $8.58 for 36 servings (23 cents/serving)
With: 1 can Quaker Oats $4.18 for 30 servings (13 cents/serving)
Replace: 1 box Pop-tarts at $2.00 for 8 servings (25 cents/serving)
With: 1 carton eggs $2.00 for 12 servings (16 cents/serving)
Replace: Quaker Oatmeal to Go Bars at $3.49 for 6 servings (58 cents/serving)
With: Borden String Cheese at @ 5.25 for 10 servings (53 cents/serving)
Replace: Doritos at @ 3.39 for 17 oz bag (20 cents/oz)
With: Apples, oranges, peaches, ANYTHING but doritos who cares what it costs!
Replace: Pudding at $1.00 for 4 cups (25 cents/cup)
With: Applesauce @ 2.29 per jar (10 cents/oz) or little handy containers (25 cents/cup)
Replace: 1 Loaf Bread (just one!) at ~$2.89/loaf
With: 2 bags of frozen vegetables at ~$1.00/bag
Replace: 1 box of pasta (just one) at $1.90/box
With: 1 head of cabbage or cauliflower at about $2.00/head (or any other fresh veggie that interests you)
This list will only save you a few bucks, but it will make a huge impact on your families nutrition!
Create a food log for the day; write down everything you eat today! (Notice I didn’t post this on Halloween….that would have been mean).