Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Get More For Less

Do you like to shop?  I certainly do, but only if I know I am getting the best deal for my dollar.

I want to know that I am getting my money's worth whether it is a service provided, clothing, household items, groceries, toys for the kids, etc. 

There are times when I am more frivolous with money, but those times don't happen often. 

If I am spending a well deserved night out, or if I am celebrating an occasion with family or friends, then I don't think twice about the higher than anticipated dollar amount that is owed at the end of the night.

I don't feel badly about the higher than anticipated dollar amount paid on special occasions because most of the time I am paying very close attention to my debt-credit ratio.

When it comes to food, however, would you say the majority of Americans try to get the most value for their money?

My answer to this question would be, It depends on the American's definition of value.

If value is looking in your wallet and seeing a five-dollar bill when lunch time is about to hit and driving to the nearest fast-food joint to get a number four value meal including two cheeseburgers, a large fry, and a drink, (the famous McDonald's value meal that hasn't changed since I worked there when I was a teenager) then you will certainly get a decent amount of food for your money!

In fact, you could eat three meals per day at a fast-food joint choosing foods from the dollar menu and still spend less money than it costs to purchase one meal at a family restaurant!

So what's the problem? 

If someone only has ten dollars per week to spend on food, a necessity to survive, then he or she may perceive going to the nearest fast-food joint as the best option to get the most value for the buck.

He or she may also go to the nearest grocery store or gas station to get a candy bar, hot dog, sandwich, frozen dinner, or bag of chips and wash it down with a $0.79 soft drink.

These foods may be considered a monetary value.

But, if these types of foods are consumed consistently overtime, are they really worth the decreased function of health that will result within your body and mind?

What kind of nutritional value will fast-food meal selections, candy bars, fries, hot dogs, chips, and frozen pre-made meals provide your body?

What kind of nutritional value is a Pop-Tart going to provide your body versus a bowl of Cheerios with milk, fresh fruit, and a yogurt?

Sure, the initial cost of milk, a box of cereal, fruit and yogurt will cost more than a box of Pop-Tarts, but you will go through a box non-nutritive Pop-Tarts a lot faster than an entire box of cereal, gallon of milk, bag of fresh fruit, and yogurt.

In addition, I am pretty certain you would not feel satisfied after eating a box of Pop-Tarts because of all the empty calories that you fed your body.

The body is not satisfied on empty calories full of sugar and fat because it needs more than that to survive.

The body needs valuable food loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and calcium.

Foods that are valuable for the body will not be found on the dollar menu at fast-food joints. 

Foods that are valuable will not be found near the check-out counter at the grocery store.

Foods that are valuable will not be found at the nearest gas station.

Foods that are valuable come from the Earth. 

Fruits, vegetables, and grains provide an abundance of nutrients the body needs for survival.

Our survival is worth it.  Our health is worth it.  Our children are worth it.

I understand the convenience factor of grab-and-go items given the fact that we are constantly surrounded by these types of foods. 

In fact, sometimes I feel like we are fighting a war for our health. 

What I mean by this is we could have motivation, education, and inspiration to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat foods in moderation, but a soon as we turn on the television, there is a commercial for a five-dollar foot-long sub, or a dark chocolate ice cream bar. 

Or, when we drive down the street, we see images of burgers, fries, and milkshakes and suddenly think how good they look, and how much better a burger and fries would be than the turkey sandwich and fruit we packed for lunch.

A personal favorite experience (sarcasm) is when I drive to the corner gym so I can run my three miles on the treadmill. 

Within seconds of entering the gym, I am greeted by a spread of pizza, wings, crackers and cheese because it's customer appreciation day. 


How is this not a battle to face both mentally and physically?

We have to battle these constant distractions everyday when we are trying to focus on keeping good health.

It's certainly not easy to keep your focus on portion control, fruits and vegetables, low-fat meats and dairy products along with consistent physical activity living in today's society.

But, we can't let the distractions we face take over our minds and bodies.

If we continue to give into the distractions, then our health in addition to the health of our children will deteriorate. 

It's just not worth it.

Our lives and our health are much too valuable to let these distractions win.

We can win by consuming more valuable nutrient-dense foods so our bodies can fight less disease.

The more nutritious foods you eat, the better your body will function.

If we give our bodies the fuel it needs by consuming fruits, vegetables, low-fat meats and dairy products and we keep an eye on our portions, we will provide our bodies with an abundance of nutrition-packed meals.

And, these nutritious foods are significantly cheaper than the candy bars, pre-packaged food items, dollar menu fast foods, and soft drinks.  Sounds like a fantastic deal to me!

Consuming nutritious foods in moderation is one of the best things you can do for your health. 

So, the next time you have to choose between two meals:

(1)  lean meat sandwich, fresh fruit, vegetable, and low-calorie beverage OR
(2)  two cheeseburgers, a large fry, and a drink

Make sure you are getting the best value for your buck!