The healthier shopping cart: what I *don’t* buy anymore

August 20, 2013 by
Filed under: Grocery 

Since I originally wrote this article about a year ago, the look of our pantry has changed greatly.  It’s smaller, contains a lot more organic items, and has far less junk food than before.

Using coupons can be good.  No, scratch that, using coupons can be great.  However, it’s easy to fall into a trap of buying nutritionally void foods like sugary or salty snacks, soda and other things just because there’s a great deal out there.  There are coupons out there for healthy foods, but certainly not as many as for unhealthy ones.

Now don’t get me wrong, our family occasionally indulges in cruddy food.   Hello?  Pizza fiend here.   And I occasionally  succumb to buying Pop-Tarts, too (the organic version but it’s still junk food).   I wouldn’t buy that stuff unless I  had a coupon or found a great deal because I think it’s a waste of money.   Normally in our home we are always feeding the kids way too many vegetables and fruits (according to friends and family).  They even eat tofu, quinoa, jicama and let’s face it, other less “traditional” foods.

In short, a lot of the things I mentioned in my Go Green to Save Green posts during Earth Month are things that we normally don’t buy for our house.  Not just because of environmental impact, but overall health impact, too.  Stuff filled with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, single-serve items, etc.  We’ve been avoiding the Chemical Crapstorm .

Funny thing was that because I previously had been doing all those grocery store match-ups,  I found myself buying questionable foods because “it was such a good deal”.  Stuff I normally didn’t pay attention to.  It was usually cookies or crackers or other pantry-stable items.  My little stockpile looked like my worst nightmare of what not to feed the kids!

I don’t buy organic everything, but you’re more than likely going to find me near Aisle 18 at Woodmans (organic/natural foods) than anywhere else at the grocery store (besides the fresh produce and dairy departments).

I don’t go for the fabulous cold cereal deals anymore because it’s getting harder to find those fabulous deals on cereals that are actually nutritious!  So what if you can get cereal for under a buck a box?  When it’s all empty calories, it’s still not worth it to me.  I end up spending more on high-fiber/low sugar cereals (or alternatives to cereal), but I also know that the benefit more than outweighs the cost.

The reason I continually promote the local farmers’ markets in summer is because the closer you can get a food item to it’s natural state, the better.  How much better is sweet corn picked in Howard at the crack of dawn when you serve it or preserve it that night?   Since produce is plentiful now, I really haven’t spent much time at the grocery store lately.  Quite frankly, it’s been wonderful!

Besides my family’s changes in the way we buy, the sales are changing at the stores.  They aren’t as good as they used to be.  Whether it’s because of more coupon fraud being committed, less advertising dollars spent, etc., I am finding it very hard to get excited about many deals.

Do you ever fall into the trap of buying too much unhealthy food just because it’s a good deal?  Don’t be shy–I just “confessed” so no judgments here!

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