These days, everybody is talking about the cost of food. As the discussion of America’s obesity problem ramps up, a big part of the “reason” why people are unhealthily overweight stems from the idea that less healthy food is cheaper and that food, overall, is expensive. Ask any person who’s responsible for feeding a family, and he or she will tell you that food, and in particular healthy food that’s so important, is expensive. But before you knock the cost of food, ask yourself these five questions.
1. Am I Spending My Money Wisely in Other Areas?
First, take a look at how your monthly budget breaks down. How much might you spend per month on cable television? On video games? On shopping habits for luxuries or somewhat un-needed objects? Do you perhaps not blink at spending $100 a month for pay-television channels but balk at $5 for a box of cereal? Food is the most important step to a healthy body and mind. If there’s room in your monthly budget to let go of non-necessities and improve the quality of what you eat, then it would be great if you want to consider adjusting your budget!
2. Am I Doing All That I Can to Bring the Cost of Food Down?
Do you know why the cost of food is so high? Do you have a basic understanding of the role that food industry lobbyists, government subsidies, large industrial food corporations like Monsanto, and even the global price of oil play in setting the market price of food? If not, you can learn via the internet, documentary movies and more about why food prices continue to climb. Then, before you complain, ask yourself if you’re really doing all that you can to help control food prices. Are you supporting companies who ultimately lobby the government for decisions that cause food prices to rise? If you’re not taking action, it can be said that you’re passively allowing food prices to be beyond your control.
3. Have a Realistic Outlook on the Cost of Food
The truth of the matter is that America pays less than any country in the Western World for food. We’re all experiencing the impact of the recession, and every penny certainly matters. However, it’s good to take a moment to stop and be thankful for the fact that we live in a place where we have both abundant and affordable food. Yes, the increasing cost of food can stretch our budgets, but things could be much, much worse.
4. What Can I Do Locally?
If the cost of store-bought food is stretching your budget significantly, there are a number of things that you can do locally or at home to help reduce your food budget and also make you and your family healthier. No matter what your living situation is, gardening is always a possibility. Whether you have a large yard, grow pot tomatoes indoors or participate in a community garden, growing your own vegetables can reduce expenses and ensure that your food is free of genetically modified materials or chemicals. You can also reduce the amount of meat that you and your family eat. Not only will reducing meat decrease your food expenditures, but it will improve your health. Consider starting with incorporating Meatless Monday into your week.
5. Am I Wasting Food?
Most importantly, before you knock the cost of food, take a look at your own habits and see if you’re perhaps wasting precious food. Americans waste about 30 million tons of food each year. It’s fair to complain about the increasing cost of food, but only if you’re doing your part to ensure that you don’t waste food. In the past, Postconsumers has provided some tips on reducing food waste.
The cost of food is definitely an issue facing just about everybody these days. However, before you dislike how expensive it is to eat, think about whether you’re doing all that you can to reduce your food bill (and keep yourself healthy).
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Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: jessica mullen