Picture this. It's 9:30 p.m. and you're laying on the couch with a dish of ice cream. You mentally scan over the day's food intake. Morning: bagel & cream cheese. Lunch: fast food chicken burger (that's healthier, right?) and fries. Dinner: frozen pizza picked up on sale on the way home.
Grade: C-. And I'm being generous. OK, its more of a D. I'm sorry! It's true. You almost failed. You did eat 3 meals, but really...D is the best I can give you here.
Why? You're a healthy, smart and savvy woman. Why do you find yourself at the end of the day regretting that day's choices? Or—worse—find yourself a few pounds heavier and regretting a month's choices?
A national poll (ShopSmart magazine, published by Consumer Reports) surveyed more than 1,000 women about their eating habits and feelings vis-à-vis healthy eating. The top excuse: healthy food is too expensive.
Here are the top reasons women gave for not eating healthfully, and my strategies for dealing with them:
57%: Eating healthful foods is too expensive.
47%: Social settings are too tempting.
39%: Life is too short; I want to enjoy what I eat.
33%: It’s hard to find healthy options when eating out.
29%: I don’t have time to prepare healthy meals.
25%: My family prefers less healthy meals.
20%: Unhealthy habits are too hard to change.
18%: Healthy foods don’t satisfy my appetite.
13%: I’m not sure which foods are healthy.
Let's just focus first on the #1 reason for eating unhealthfully: "Eating Healthy Is Too Expensive".. Is healthy food really expensive? Sure, if you do all your shopping at Whole Foods or order from chi chi online suppliers. If money is really at issue, though, you are likely shopping in the local grocery or even nearest bargain department store, as Walmart and its competitors expand into the grocery market. *sigh*
So...For real? Are we really still talking about how "expensive" healthy foods are? Talk about kicking a dead horse.
It has been proven—repeatedly, people—that healthy, whole foods are less expensive than unhealthy foods. Even the economists at the USDA have studied this and they found that, when considering portion size, the ranking from least to most expensive is: grains, dairy, vegetables, fruit, and, tied for most expensive: protein sources and less healthy foods. Note, of course, that there are lower cost protein sources such as eggs, dairy, soy and grains - the ranking refers to meat sources.
Let's also draw a line between healthy whole foods and "healthy" prepared food products, which are ridiculously expensive given their nutritional value.
And if you like fancy pictures, here's a cost-comparison for a McDonalds meal for 4 versus a homemade meal for 4.
I am just going to say it: If you feel healthy foods are too expensive, might I suggest you learn how to cook?
Now, here are a few of my suggestions to make more healthful eating choices, no matter your excuse:
When eating out...
When eating at home...
What is the #1 reason you make poor food choices, when you do?
Or, what is your #1 tip to make GREAT food choices?