Examining the Family Cost of Healthy Eating
My boys love to load up on fruits. It’s much harder to get them to eat vegetables, but everything is a work in progress right? They have their healthy choices and unhealthy choices, but we are taking baby steps as a family to eliminate those unhealthy foods and replace them with the healthier options.
Every few days, my sons enjoy a fruit salad with a medley of three to four fruits; as a result, I always stock up on fruits. I was running low on fruit this week so we ran to the supermarket to buy some together. As the boys chose raspberries and blackberries, I couldn’t help but look at the size of the container and the price tag. It always shocks me at how pricey fresh fruits can be! For a 12 ounce package of blackberries, the cost was close to $4.00. These fruits go very quickly in my household since I use them in pancakes, salads and with granola. If I had been unemployed or struggling to pay bills, I would have second guessed the small package of blackberries.
I started to think like a parent who might be on a tighter budget and may need to stretch her dollar further. How long would these berries last? Is it really a bargain? Can I get something else for this amount of money that might last longer and cover more meals?
At that moment, I realized why some parents purchase unhealthy foods. Yet, what they may not realize is that these unhealthy choices can lead to lifelong habits for their children. It becomes a pattern, a lifestyle, which is much harder to break once instilled.
I purchased those blackberries and raspberries for our fruit salad and the boys devoured them. To me, they were well worth the cost. My sons tried new fruits that they enjoyed. As a mom, it made me feel good to make that purchase. It opened them up to something new. Yet, I could not help but think of the families who live in food deserts or cannot afford “healthy” food.
Many say that the high cost of healthy food is a poor excuse to make unhealthy choices, but it truly isn’t. When a parent has two choices, paying rent or eating healthy food, that is not a real choice. Examining the family cost of healthy eating is complex. We need to do more to make it feasible. Healthy foods must be offered at reasonable prices to all. In the long run, making healthy food available, at affordable prices, just might lead to a healthier future for us all!