I need some help… Some reader help… How do I balance eating healthy, eating local and keeping on a budget?
With only a couple weeks left in the biggest loser competition that I’m having with my husband, and since I’m not exactly doing well at losing any weight, I decided to concentrate more on healthy eating. One of my biggest challenges is having easy grab-and-go snacks that are also healthy.
I try to eat local as much as possible, but the local produce at this time of year is a little limited (we are just at the beginning of the season)… the carrots and celery are all coming from California or Mexico… So I’m trying to avoid them… which are normally my go-to snacks… So, what do I do?
The rule of thumb is always that convenience foods tend to be more expensive and less healthy, and it is better to make homemade… but if my homemade recipes include things that are not local… How does that fit in?
I started by buying a bunch of apples and boiling some eggs. These are good easy grab and go snacks. I bought eggs from a local farm and the apples were from somewhere in BC (where they were stored all winter, I don’t know…). Unfortunately, though, it is nearing the end of the supply for apples from last fall’s harvest, so “local” apples are getting harder to come by… And it is too early for other local fruit to be available.
In an attempt to find other snacks, I did some research (aka “googling”) and found this recipe for muffins that I thought sounded tasty enough for me to actually eat them, but full of protein and healthy things. I bought all the ingredients and made them. They turned out pretty well, but then I got to thinking… If I am trying to buy only local ingredients, these muffins don’t really fit the bill… I mean, where are my jars of peanut butter and canned chickpeas actually coming from? And my banana is definitely from somewhere very far from here… And then I could start down the list of other ingredients… but let’s just not go there…
So what do I do about that? Do I stop using them? At what point do I compromise my “eat local” mandate and use some more convenient ingredients? I think that there is a choice to be made at some point in terms of food… Do you go healthy? Eat locally? Or go for the cheap budget food?
I am always so amazed at how low some food budgets are for some of the personal finance blogs that I read. I’m sure that some of that comes from them living in a different area or country… but I can’t seem to get my food budget even close to that…
I am always trying to eat healthy (well, except when I pig out on a giant bag of peanut butter m&ms) and to decrease my carbon footprint, it makes sense to try to eat local food. But at what point does that become counter productive to my attempts to lower our expenses and increase our savings?
And I hate to put down the local food producers, but they aren’t exactly cheap… And I know that is because they aren’t producing in huge quantities, and they are growing in more sustainable and greener methods than their cheaper counterparts, but I guess it comes down to priorities…
So this is where I need help… Do I prioritize my health and the health of the planet over my financial goals? What else can I do to decrease food costs while not giving up all my spare time or having to give up something else? How do you balance eating healthy with buying local and staying on a budget? What tips can you offer me to help with my current dilemma?