Here are a few of my thoughts on budgets and real food:
When we aren't eating well, we tend to get sick. With the money that doctors and co-pays cost and time missed from work in my husband's case, we could buy a lot of fresh, whole food. Even if bad eating doesn't make us sick in the present, it most definitely will at some point down the road. The big killers in America are almost all symptoms of lifestyle, according to many research studies. We are also spending more on health care than most, if not all, other countries. It will cost us sooner or later.
Prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Throughout life, wealth can get us a lot of things, but it can never buy back our health. It can only pay for health care (or as I would prefer to call it, "disease care".) Even if you can spend enough to cure your condition, you will never be as healthy as you would have been had you prevented the condition altogether.
Make good food a priority.
In a time of rising costs, food is one of the ways we can cut back, so we often take from the grocery budget to pay for other, more pressing things. In light of the health of our families, however, we would do well to consider, "Is this $3 box of cereal or that $3 bag of apples going to nourish my family better?"
Know the cheaper healthy foods.
I know what you're thinking: "That's all well and good, but I still only have so much money to spend on food." I know most of us, our family included, don't have an unlimited budget for food. Many fruits and vegetables are relatively inexpensive. So are oats, brown rice and the basic ingredients to make any meal. Find out what basic real foods in your store are cheapest.
Realize that real food may require different shopping approaches.
If you're an avid couponer switching to real foods, the truth is you won't be able to check out of a traditional grocery store paying $3 for $200 worth of groceries. In recent years, manufacturers are offering more coupons for healthy foods, but whole grains, produce and healthy meats are still not candidates for most coupon deals. We'll talk more about this in the future, but if you're a "coupon queen", real food might take some extra adjustments.
Switching to real foods is about better choices.
Just like I alluded to before, if you choose a real food over a processed one, that is one food you are cutting from your budget. You might find that the difference is negligible in many cases. Cutting out carbonated sodas, for example, will give you a lot of money towards adding in more nutritious foods. What gets expensive is buying both real and processed foods.