by JO ABI
The kids are back at school and I feel a bit dazed, like I’ve just been flung out of a twister. You know that dazed feeling?
After weeks of a house filled with my children, nieces, nephews, friends, electronic games and of feasting, forgetting to exercise and having a break from the kids many and varied activities, now the house is a little too quiet.
Day One and I decided to go grocery shopping on my own for the first time in months. We’ve been eating so badly over the holidays that I plan to focus on healthy foods as much as possible. We could all do with more fruit and vegetables in our diet after the cakes, chocolates and biscuits lovingly cooked and gifted by family and friends.
I grabbed a trolley and instead of having to put a toddler in the baby seat I put my handbag there. It’s the perfect place. Pushing determinedly past the hot cross buns (please) and the chocolate eggs (ridiculous), I headed straight for the fruit and vegetable section.
Recently, I read some brilliant advice on how to eat more healthily at home. It suggested cutting and washing fruit and vegetables and leaving them on the lower shelves of the fridge for the kids to grab. It suggested reorganizing the pantry in a similar way.
Throwing out junk food felt wasteful, so I stopped just buying it and threw away any open packets. I’d phase it out. I didn’t want my family to notice and I planned to act vague when asked where the Coco Pops were.
I spotted green grapes and red grapes, seedless, on special, hooray! $2.48 a kilo. I placed a bag of each in my trolley and added any fruits and vegetables I thought the kids might like, but not too much. I’m sick of throwing them away wilted and rotted.
I was all done with my healthy shop which focused on the outside aisles of the supermarket and was heading to the register when I spotted a HUGE display of Tim Tams. When I say spotted I mean it was so big it was in my face. It was obnoxious and impossible to avoid. My trolley may have slowed down a little as I passed it (hey, I’m human) and that’s when I noticed the price. $2 each.
That’s right. A packet of Tim Tams was actually cheaper than one kilo of seedless grapes, in season.
Can you imagine a world where junk food cost A LOT more than healthy food? Everything would be so much easier. We’d all be healthier. We’d have no choice but to stock up on fruit, vegetables, lean meats, milk and wholemeal bread because we just couldn’t afford chips, chocolates and ice cream.
Sorry kids, I can’t afford Tim Tams today. But I have grapes. If you close your eyes they taste like lollies. Maybe.
And here’s another thing. I usually stop at the doughnut shop for coffee before I grocery shop because it is right outside my supermarket.
Always, always, I’m offered a free hot cinnamon doughnut.
“No thanks,” I usually say. They look at me like I have two heads, but I just don’t want one every Monday morning when I’ve usually planned a healthy week. I can’t start like that.
I love how I can buy three doughnut for a dollar. When I have a craving I don’t want three. I want one.
“But you get three for a dollar,” they explain.
“Give me one and I’ll still pay you a dollar,” I explain back.
It’s a similar story with fresh fish. I know we should be eating it, especially salmon, but it’s so expensive! And fish fingers are so cheap. Imagine if this were reversed and the fresh fish was cheaper than the packaged stuff? Or if a chicken breast cost the same as drumsticks? I don’t understand why a chicken breast is more expensive. It all comes from one chook, right?
There are certain healthy foods I always buy regardless of price and these are potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, apples and lettuce. With everything else I try and wait for specials.
I used to love grocery shopping but now it gives me a massive headache. Yes I want the healthiest food possible for my family of five but we are also on a strict budget due to past financial problems. It’s so difficult to balance this. It’s so hard to be healthy during every single meal every single day without some white rice (apparently basmati is okay), some fish fingers or God forbid some frozen pizza sneaking in.
And I hate that the confectionary isle is located opposite the fruit cups and how they put confectionary at the register, oh and the confectionary at the petrol station. It’s everywhere. It’s cheap. Three for the price of one. Can’t bananas be this cheap?
Monty Python always hands me the most fitting quotes and right now I feel like it’s a “mad mad world”.
The battle continues…and it’s one I’ll never stop fighting.
Any thoughts? What’s your supermarket hang up?
Jo Abi feels like she’s more of an observer of life than a participant which makes her a little irritating to live with. When asked about her writing her husband said, “Nothing is off the table, which is fine, sort of.” Jo has worked in TV and radio sporadically between the arrival of each of her three amazingly gorgeous children. She has written a book called How to Date a Dad and plans to finish one of the many other books she’s started once her children get sick of playing Minecraft on her laptop. You can follow her on Twitter @JoAbi.
What foods do you find are overpriced? What do you hate spending lots of money on?