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The Food Conundrum

I’m on a budget. A very, very strict one. I have a certain alotment a week to spend on groceries and have gone back to my very-poor grad school days when I was making $10/hour and living as cheaply as possible in terms of food. I have to say, I’ve mastered the art of cheap grocery shopping. (Yes, absolutely that’s me patting myself on the back!) But I also have to say I am continually shocked at how difficult it is to afford healthy food! I’m not talking about buying all-natural, organic, free range whatever. I’m talking about apples. I’m talking about bananas, carrots, celery, milk, bread. Basic things. There are so many articles out there proving that the number one predictor of obesity and diabetes is income. Families living in poverty are exponentially more likely to become obese and have diabetes than their middle class brethren. That’s ridiculous!

I can see from the family’s standpoint how they are forced into this sitation. They can order 5 cheesburgers off of a dollar menu somewhere OR they can buy a head of broccoli and a bag of baby carrots for about the same amount of money. While I do like veggies, carrots and broccoli does not a meal make, nor would that alone fill empty bellies. So the family lives on fast food alone, and then the fall out of which means they have to pay for the medications to fix their bodies from the effects of the food? Since they can’t or are barely able to, doesn’t this drive up the cost of Medicaid and CHIP to the rest of us? Why not just lower the price of real food and save money down the line? It doesn’t make sense.

I’m not ridiculing fast food, I certainly love a meal from Wendy’s! And I certainly believe you have a choice in what you eat. But I do feel bad for families that appear to be caught between a rock and a hard place. I certainly know how hard it is to get fruits and veggies in your kitchen each week, and I’m not supporting a family! I’m not an economist, nutritionist, or anything more than a fellow grocery-shopper, but the situation seems a bit on the messy side to me.

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