Choices

everymealisachoiceThis mural was outside Sprouts when I went the other day.  They’re trying to tap into the New Year’s juice cleanse/dieting/this-year-I’m-getting-healthy-dammit crowd, based on the huge display of ‘things you might juice if you like to do that’ just inside the door. 

It reminded me of the pregnant lady bookWhat to Expect When You’re Expecting‘, with its terrible quote:  “Before you close your mouth on a forkful of food, consider: ‘Is this the best bite I can give my baby?’ If it will benefit your baby, chew away. If it’ll only benefit your sweet tooth or appease your appetite, put your fork down.'” That is just a ridiculous thing to tell anyone, and saying this out loud is certainly asking to get slapped by a pregnant woman. 

That quote has a lot in common with this mural.  Yes, there are choices in what we eat, but prioritizing these decisions has become difficult.  Eat this tomato, harvested by workers paid a living wage, or this one that was grown nearby?  Buy these cage-free eggs, or those organic ones?  Are there really any happy chickens? Does this can of beans have BPA? Didn’t they make BPA illegal? Should I eat fish for the omega-3s, or do the toxins make the benefit not worth it? 

If you try to take it all into account, you’ll be standing there with your cart, unable to even decide which part of the store to start shopping for things.  And then you’ll make me mad, because when you do this you’ll be in the middle of the aisle. For Pete’s sake, get to the right! It’s like a road, people.

I’ve gone through several ways of dealing with Grocery Information Overload.  First, ignore it all and buy what I want. Then there was a serious coupon phase, followed by an all-natural phase.  The CSA/Farmer’s Market/Raw Milk period was fun, if pricey.  The Whatever the Kids Will Eat period was brief. 

Which brings us to now:  the Best I Can Do phase.

The best I can do is use the information I have to make the best choice at  the time.  It’s an ongoing thing, and changes when I get new information. 

I evaluate based on budget, health, organic/not, source and a few other things.  My decisions might not look like your decisions.  I buy 2-3 bags of potato chips a week. They aren’t healthy, organic, or, in the case of Funyuns, even food-based.  They are purchased entirely to save my household budget the dent of DH heading out to eat because he feels like eating salty fried things. 

You might be in a place where the Best You Can Do is solely focused on budget.  You might be eating a diet for any number of reasons, so the Best You Can Do prioritizes getting those foods into your cart first.  You might be one of those folks using the New Year as a new start and getting yourself over to Sprouts to visit that juicing produce display.

It doesn’t matter what kind of shopper you are, spending some time considering what is important when you buy the food to cook meals for your family is. That way, when you’re in the store, confronted with the many questions that come with spending a grocery dollar, you’ve prioritized the things that are important.  Pre-running these decisions gives your brain a path to follow.

My hope is that CheepieAustin will help you do the Best You Can Do for your family and the meals you cook for them!  Cheep Cheep!

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