Why Americans Are Fat

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     When I first shared the picture above on the Slimdown With Sandee Facebook Group page I received this comment from a dear friend and group member.

     “Major reason Americans are fat? Go to the grocery store and buy one meal’s worth of good, healthy food. Then buy one meal of complete garbage. Now, compare the prices of these two meals. It costs about half as much to eat crap as it does to eat healthy.”

     I have to admit, there is some truth to the comment.   Certainly, I purchased wieners and ramen a lot cheaper than salmon but very few of us are living on these alone. For the most part my grocery bill is still very reasonable. Whole foods and raw foods seem more filling. Veggies are usually pretty reasonable, especially if you work with what is in season.  Giving up the diet soda and drinking water and giving up the ice cream and eating fruit have been money savers. Proper portions have made a difference, too. Eating 1/2 can of soup instead of a whole can and 1 pouch of oatmeal instead of 1/2 box of cereal saves money, too. Pinto beans and spaghetti may not be the prime of health food, but with proper portion control weight loss is possible even on “regular food”. Gwen Shamblin’s Weigh Down Diet stresses that weight loss for most folks is more about proper amounts that food choices, not that healthy fueling isn’t important.

     Even with fast food I find that there are healthier alternatives at similar prices. A 6 inch subways sub is less expensive than a value meal and a baked potato at Wendy’s is the same price as a value burger. A 1/2 salad is also a reasonable alternative. Before the weight loss I could eat a Totinos Pizza for lunch at around $1, and often did along with a $1 diet soda. I can make 1/2 sandwich and a small salad or cup of soup for around the same price, even less, with a little planning.

     Specialty diet foods may be more expensive than plain frozen meals but there are lots of alternatives. Cooking your own grilled or baked veggies and meats can be both low-calorie and budget friendly. Try shopping the store advertised specials and chosing lean meats and fresh veggies.  Canned or frozen veggies are often great choices, too, and may even have coupons available.

     When my husband and I were first married and had to live very closely monetarily. I purchased mostly inexpensive meats (chicken, pork, ground beef) and raw veggies or canned veggies and made them go as far as I could. I would cook chicken and veggies in a crock pot and serve that one day. The next day I would add broth and serve leftovers as stew, and the following day I would add canned or frozen mixed veggies and more broth or tomato and serve it as soup. We were all relatively thin through those days. As a matter of fact, I never even considered “dieting” and when I look at the old pics those were some of my most slender days.

     Then I discovered couponing and I could get overly processed foods like canned pasta, frozen pizza, pot pies, rice mixes, helpers, and the like very cheep and sometimes free. That’s when the weight really began to go on. Eating healthier is not necessarily the most inexpensive option but it can be can be done reasonably, with a little planning. Consider giving up the “extras” like pop and cookies and putting those dollars into the healthy groceries that will make you feel energetic and stay lean. Eating better also saves me money on prescription meds, doctor’s visits, and antacid these days. Don’t let expense be an excuse. Need advise or help in making the diet dollars go further? Contact me.

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