I just hate it when my values conflict with each other. I like to eat healthy and inexpensively. Sometimes it’s easy, like buying fruits and vegetables, grains, and lean meats at the grocery and making simple, great tasting meals my way, instead of paying extra for convenience meals.
But sometimes it is hard. Why are the big bags, value meals, Big Gulp, Big Grab, Big Mac the best value (in the sense you get more for your money)? Why can’t a salad and a bottle of water be made into a value meal? Why do I have to buy a kid’s meal to get a healthy portion and a lower price?
Part of the reason so many of us struggle with weight issues is that you can buy sugared and salty snacks and candy so many places, and the size of the packages just continue to grow. Yes, the larger sizes cost more, but we are getting more, so we think it is a bargain. Then we eat the whole thing and get excess calories.
It’s the same conflict with the 100-calorie snack packs. My eating healthy value says that’s the way to go, but my eating inexpensively value reminds me that I am paying more.
So what’s the answer? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue and your solutions to this dilemma.
-pointers from Peggy
WOW, one of the grocery stores is advertising 17+ different fish deals in their ad this week…someone must be thinking Lent. To sort it all out, I converted the prices into price per pound and then put them in order from the least to the most expensive per pound.
My fish list told this story:
- Buying in bulk saves money.
- Breaded fish usually costs less—that’s because you are paying for breading and fat instead of fish.
- If you want the convenience of someone packaging your fish into serving sizes, cooking it, or stuffing it you pay more—sometimes a lot more!
- Canned tuna is not the least expensive fish.
Most fish are low in fat and cholesterol and a good source of protein, which makes them a good choice for a healthy diet. Oil-rich fish, such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines, are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to our diet and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
So what am I going to buy? I don’t need the extra calories and fat that comes with the breaded fish, but I can’t use 10 pounds of Pollock either. I will probably buy a couple of packages of the imitation crab meat which is Pollock that has been processed and flavored. I’ll use it to make a sandwich filling or add it to pasta salad. Since the shrimp price is good for that size shrimp, I’ll buy a pound to keep on hand for a super fast, no work appetizer. Although it is not advertised, I bet I can get a pound of Pollock for under $2.50/pound which I will bake in the oven with some seasonings and bread crumbs. The recipe for Mouth-Watering Oven-Fried Fish is on the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipes page. I am going to keep looking for a good price for salmon.
-Pointers from Peggy
100-calorie snack packs are a temptation when I am trying to keep my calories under control…I’m tempted because they are convenient, but I always balk at the price. Plus, most of them are higher in sugar and fat than I usually eat. Try these delicious 100-calorie options instead!
2 cups raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup mango chunks
½ medium cantaloupe
15 strawberries dipped in 1⁄4 cup Cool Whip Lite
45 steamed edamame (green soybeans)
½ red bell pepper dipped in 3 tablespoons hummus
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with 5 strawberries
5 Nabisco Nilla Wafers
-pointers by Peggy
The overall Consumer Price Index fell 1.5% for the year that ended in August. That’s good news! But the cost of some food categories rose. For example, the cost of food at home dropped 1.6%, but the cost of food away from home increased by 3%.
When we eat away from home, we are trading our money for someone else’s time to prepare the food we eat. In the process, sometimes we trade away nutrition, too. The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. site has an interesting game which compares the cost and convenience of sample breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner meals. It’s called Quick Meals for Busy Families.
-pointers by Peggy