Eating Healthy - Why it is Such a Challenge

Adding healthier foods to your diet sounds simple. Give up prepared foods, skip the fast food lunches and eat more fruits and vegetables.

Problem is that for families who are struggling to stretch their food dollar, it is often cheaper to buy prepared foods. But is it?

When some items are on sale, take a can of Campbell's soup for example, you may think that you couldn't make it cheaper. The truth is, not only can you make a pot of soup cheaper but it will be much healthier.

A pot of homemade soup can cost pennies a serving compared to a prepared can of soup. Yes, it takes time to cook a pot of soup but you are also cooking a bulk amount so you cook once for multiple servings to have later.

Today there are so many clues that eating healthier is the right choice. Additives in foods such as artificial coloring, flavors and preservatives may be responsible for mood and behavioral disorders in children such as ADHD and depression. These chemicals also contribute to the higher rates of childhood obesity and diabetes in children and adults.

Even autistic children are affected by these additives in our food. Studies show that when people consciously start to eliminate certain foods from their diets, their health improves.

Yes, it can seem to cost more to make some items homemade but not always. If you go into your supermarket with your eye on saving money but don't consider what you are buying, it may seem like you are saving money but it could be at the risk of your health.

That box of macaroni and cheese is another example. It is convenient for busy moms to come home, boil up the macaroni, add their own milk and butter to a packaged cheese mix and serve but what is in that cheese sauce? When your mom made homemade mac and cheese, the color of the cheese sauce did not glow in the dark.

Honestly, even if the store brand of mac and cheese is $1 or less, it does not cost that much more to make it homemade. Using your own cheeses and adding it to a simply made white sauce is much healthier than these prepared versions. You can buy a block of cheese and every home should have the staples for a white sauce. You can use whole grain macaroni (believe me, if cooked enough your kids will not notice) and you will be making a much healthier dinner.

Once you get the hang of making a white sauce, it will not take any longer to prepare mac and cheese homemade than it would to make it from a box.

You can save money on fresh produce by buying local and what is in season. Frozen vegetables are a great alternative to the higher costs of some produce.

The key to eating healthier and being able to do it for less money is to be a smart shopper. Look at the store flyers before you go to the store. Plan your meals around what is on sale and in season.

Frozen fruits can be added to a bulk size package of yogurt or made into a fruit smoothie. Use your imagination.

Once you start eliminating the "bad" foods from your family's diet you will start to notice significant changes in everyone's health. Your child's mood (and yours) will improve. You will lose weight. You will all start to feel better from the change.

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