How Food Prices Affect Your Diet

16 06 2008

I’m sure you’ve gone to the grocery store and wondered how the hell you can eat healthy but not break the bank. That’s something I think about almost every time. When I first moved out on my own, my diet consisted of Mac ‘N Cheese (the blue box kind), frozen pizza, Hot Pockets, deep fried chicken strips, and grilled cheese. Needless to say, I put on a few pounds I’ve never really lost.

I first noticed the weight gain when my brother got me a free along ride at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL.  My brother snapped a picture of me in a driving suit.  I couldn’t believe that was me.  By this point, I had already started learning to cook, but it was still the wrong thing.  I was recording Molto Mario and Everyday Italian pretty much everyday.  I thought I was doing good.  Pasta’s good for you, right?

After that weekend, I figured I better try to do more.  I cut Pepsi consumption in half.  That’s like trying to quit smoking for me.  I was good until recently only drinking two cans a day.  I know that sounds like a lot, but that’s down from six or more.  I started watching more Food Network shows.  I became a big fan of Bobby Flay and Racheal Ray.  Every Saturday and Sunday I check the schedule to see what every show is preparing those mornings and record something if it sounds good.  Between that and my girlfriend moving in, I’ve started eating a little bit better.  Not as good as I’d like to, but there are some vices I just can’t give up.

The path to healthier eating starts with quality ingredients.  Fresh produce, dairy, and meat are going to be better for you than any TV dinner.  The problem right now, those quality ingredients are the foods that are skyrocketing in price right now.

Rising food prices aren’t just shrinking Americans’ wallets — they might also be expanding their waistlines, prompting at least one nutrition scientist to sound the health alarm.

The price of milk, eggs, vegetables and just about every other grocery item seems to keep climbing. And for many families trying to eat healthily, that’s a recipe for disaster.

So what do you think people ar doing to save money?

(Retail analyst, Kenneth J.) Dalto said shoppers are buying less meat and vegetables and more breads, potatoes, pasta, rice, frozen fish, frozen pizzas and TV dinners.

“It’s lower quality food,” Dalto said. “Foods that are prepared, frozen or reheated are of lower quality.”

There are options.  Store brands are big right now.  In most cases, the store brands are manufactured right alongside the name brands.  I’ve always bought store brands when it comes to certain foods.  My girlfriend never did before moving in with me.  I’ve never heard her complain about the quality.  For the most part, it’s just pantry items that I buy store brands, but as prices keep going up, I’m looking more and more at off brands.

It sucks.  Many people are trying to eat healthier, but their budgets are not allowing them too.  I’m fortunate enough that we don’t have to worry too much about groceries, there are a lot of families that do.  Let’s just hope this passes soon.  The flooding in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana aren’t going to help, but don’t give up.  It annoys me when I hear so many people/families say “I don’t know how to cook.”  I didn’t either but I learned and it’s the best thing I ever did…just ask my girlfriend who gets a great, semi-healthy meal everynight 😉

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