The childhood obesity epidemic should concern every American. The long-ranging effects on our nation’s wellness and health care system are staggering if current trends continue. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we’re on track to have more than one in five youth classified as obese by the year 2020. In 1980, when I was a kiddo, the rate was just 7% – even though I had a couple years of wearing husky pants.
Experts state that most childhood obesity is caused by a combination of poor eating habits and not enough exercise. There has never been more to distract our kids from fitness. There has also never been as much competition from healthy food choices.
Part of being a Savings Angel shopper is making smart choices for your family. While it’s entirely possible to use a coupon and buy junk food for 60-80% off, my philosophy is to find the best deals on the healthiest foods for my family. Additionally, from the money I save on other areas of my grocery bill, such as buying cleaning supplies, hygiene products, and paper products for 60-80% off, I’ve been able to afford more food from the produce section. This has had a very positive effect on my family’s health. Three years ago, I lost over 50 pounds in one year’s time – and I have coupons to thank for my weight loss.
If you’d like to succeed in getting your family into healthy eating the Savings Angel way, here are five of my biggest tips:
1. Make your healthy food list together at home – based on what you can get great deals on – not what you need. (Need-based shopping is the most expensive way to buy products for your family). I recommend this for method for kids as well as adults. The biggest reason for this? You are less likely to make emotional decisions based on labels, marketing, and impulse. Grocery manufacturers and retailers are masters at provoking impulse buys – particularly in the cereal aisle! Use the Internet to find out the nutritional value of the foods you’re after. You’ll be better informed and it can be a real educational experience for you and your kids.
2. Let your kids roam the produce section and pick anything they like for a treat (as long as it grows from the ground). Sure, it might mean berries and bananas rather than a bunch of spinach – but if your kids can look forward to their special treat from the produce section, they are less likely to beg for treats in the packaged food aisles. When they choose their produce item, talk about why that item is good for them – what it will do for their energy (for sports), their muscles, skin, hair, etc… If you’re short on information, do a quick Internet search.
3. Want your kids to eat way more fruits and veggies? Google “green smoothie”. We’ve been having green smoothies regularly at our house for over a year. I literally can feed my kids a beet, a bunch of kale or spinach, some flax seed powder, a banana, and strawberries all blended together for breakfast. You’ll have to introduce green smoothies with more fruit than vegetables at first – but they will get to the point where they will regularly ask for smoothies if you introduce them right. If you can give your kids this much nutrition in the morning or after school, you can rest a little easier the remainder of the day. Our family’s health remarkably improved after starting on this healthy habit.
4. Don’t underestimate how much food you’ll go through in the summer months with kids out of school. Start stocking up with healthy snacks and other foods now. If you can find a great produce deal, load up your freezer. Most shoppers’ grocery budgets will go up during the summer months if they aren’t careful. If you aren’t already, consider couponing through the summer months. Yes. There are more coupons than ever for healthier food items. Also, get everyone involved in checking store flyers for really good sales, or finding new and different healthy foods to try.
5. Make a game out of food labels. Give your kids a task like choosing the bread or cereal with the lowest sugar content and still part of the coupon-sale deal. Find the can of soup with the lowest fat content or sodium. My kids know that I’m always on the lookout for choices that contain good stuff like 100% whole grains – and always looking to avoid foods with lots of words they can’t pronounce.
The best couponers save hundreds of dollars every month at the grocery store. However, couponers can end up living very extreme lifestyles to get those savings. For over five years, SavingsAngel.com has equalized the playing field – giving extreme savings to busy families who don’t have the time or ability to be an full-time couponer. Each week, SavingsAngel.com’s team of more than 70 angels combines over 2,000 products on sale at local grocery and drug stores with an enormous database of over 2,000 different manufacturer coupons. These combinations result in our members getting access to over 300 products each week for 50% off or better. Simply log in, choose the deals you want, print or clip only the coupons you need, and save hundreds of dollars a month at regional and national stores. Our angels will personally work with you to craft a plan that will help you buy healthier food at lower prices – helping you keep $200 to $400 in savings each month.
Written by: Josh Elledge, Chief Executive Angel - SavingsAngel.com on April 16, 2012.