Using Smarter Shopping Methods to Decrease Spending and Improve Health

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When we think about food, we may think about that great pizza we had last weekend, or how our father used to make wonderful weiners and kraut. We may think about our efforts to buy cheaper frozen foods as our finances are not what they used to be, and the price of convenience foods has gone way up, putting the squeeze on us. But, we rationalize that we don’t cook fresh food because we really prefer our frozen, microwaved favorites or we simply don’t have the time to cook fresh food.

Both of these views will cost you your health in the long-term. It will also cost you, period. If you are practically living on fast food, whether purchased in a store or brought home from your local drive-through, you are flirting with disaster. If you are young, your body can deal with this for now. However, as time goes on, you will probably start developing different complaints and you may start having to see a doctor with all kinds of symptoms. Your body is not designed to eat this kind of food. You are also paying a lot of money to maintain this dietary lifestyle.

If you can identify with anything you have read thus far, and you are still reading, then I applaud you for beginning to feel you are ready for a change. It is not hard. Honest. It does take motivation, however.  You must want to get more real with both your health and how much money you are spending on food each week. There are ways to begin.

One is to recognize that your favorite store is not concerned about your health. If it were, you would not be able to purchase the foods that you do. They would be banned. Why would they be banned, you ask? Because many of the foods that sell the best are wrecking your health. They sell well because they taste good. They also sell well because the store displays them in attractive ways, and the manufacturere makes sure their packages catch your eye. You probably already know this. So, how are you going to change any of that? You can’t. But what you CAN do is change how you shop and what you buy.

Becoming more selective in price and freshness will put you on the road to success. Going into the store means putting up your “filter,” that screen that will only allow certain things to pass through, things that are acceptable for your improved way of eating. Learn to avoid processed foods altogether, if possible. Learning to shop in the fresh produce aisle, meats and fish counter and dairy aisle will help you see that while you may spend a little bit more time (not much!) cooking, you are getting more for your money in terms of quality, quantity and taste. If you still want pizza, make a pizza from fresh ingredients. Learn to make a fresh pizza dough. If you must shop for some canned items, read labels. Make sure the contents don’t have anything in it that you don’t understand. For your health, put it back until you can find out what it is and if it is good for you. Industry has spent a great deal of time putting things into our food, now you will spend some time getting things out.

Go to the seasonings aisle, and read some labels. Find some appropriate to what you may be cooking and do not purchase those that have msg, or other “spices,” “flavorings,” or extracts if it doesn’t tell you what it is. That goes for all food. The manufacturers slide a lot of things in under these labels, and you have no idea what you are eating.

When you get to the checkout, you will find that shopping fresh buys you a lot more in quantity, and that for what you bought, you have not spent as much as you would have if you had bought convenience foods. There is a bit more to this, however.

Learn to shop at different stores. Find out where the sales are, and find those fresh food markets or stands that sell local fruits and vegetables. The less glamorous stores a lot of times sell for less and the products they sell are by manufacturers that are not well known by the major chains. The prices are less and the food doesn’t always have all the additives in it. Again, you have to think differently, and be willing to make some changes.

In doing these things, you will slowly regain your energy, your health and your money will be going to a more worthy cause, YOU.

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