Balling on a Budget (Food Edition)

Tristen Buchino


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After a nutritious lunch, Spanish teacher Kristin Antoniotti finds it easy to actively help students. This is one of the many benefits that eating healthy provides for you. Photo Credit / Tristen Buchino

Food can have a major impact on your brain, weight and mood. Nutrients tell our body how to function and poor nutrition makes it difficult for our bodies and minds to perform everyday tasks. Eating poorly can make you feel stressed and fatigued, which leads to impaired thought. Starting the day off with a healthy balanced breakfast is starting the day off right.
Kristen Antoniotti, Loy Norrix’s Spanish teacher said, “I start every single day with a healthy breakfast. I enjoy oatmeal with raisins and a banana. I eat breakfast so I can be focused and alert throughout my day teaching.”
In American culture today, it’s common for people to have little time to prepare and cook healthy meals, resulting in the consumption of a lot of fast food, a convenient solution to save time, but a poor end result for your health.
We would all be surprised at the foods that appear healthy but contain many calories and preservatives, like salads. So when you order a salad instead of a cheeseburger, you may think you’re making a healthy choice but in reality, a salad at McDonalds is still chocked full of preservatives and is ultimately not as healthy. This is one of many deceptive choices.
A family of 4 spends an average of $150 on food weekly, that’s $600 monthly. Buying whole foods can be expensive, but natural vitamins and supplements can be a good healthy and cheap substitute. Also, buying fruits and vegetables that are in season not only taste better, but also saves money. Taste and cravings are a big part of why people don’t eat healthy, they don’t believe organic foods taste as good.
Aside from Spanish, Antoniotti also studies the field of mindfulness and she has an awareness of the way the food she eats makes her feel.
“If I’m craving some Girl Scout Cookies and I make the conscious choice to eat them, I’m aware of the consequences resulting [in] the way I feel later on,” said Antoniotti.
Some people may not realize that the reason they don’t feel well is caused by their diet. Antonetti can diagnose this, so she is better at knowing what’s good for her and what’s not. A steady diet of fast food creates a craving for sodium, which causes a spike in blood pressure. Most dietitians also recommend adding natural seasonings opposed to salt to foods.
Organic foods don’t contain the same addicting chemicals as processed foods. MSG is a flavor enhancer that makes your food addicting and added sugars and salt are just a few ingredients that result in binge eating. Added sugar is one of the worst ingredients your body can ingest and it’s also in about 68 percent of the processed foods in your average grocery store, making it hard to avoid. It’s recommended that reading labels while shopping will help you stay away from additives and other chemicals.
Buying in bulk is also a big money saver; foods like pasta, rice and oats are easy to stockpile. Simply put, nutritionists suggests buying foods that will rot sooner because typically foods that have a lot of preservatives are the ones that last.
Dietitians have counseled families with obesity problems not to consume foods that are a golden brown; for example, honey buns and fries.
Recently, farmers markets have gained popularity in the Kalamazoo area. Not only does this help save money, it supports local growers that supply fresh produce at a reasonable price.
Loy Norrix senior, Sonata Davis said, “I really love how at the farmers market, vendors tell you where their products come from and how they are made. It makes me feel good to know that all the food is GMO free and I’m aware of what goes in my body. I also enjoy supporting small businesses so this is a good opportunity for me.”
Delivered meals are also becoming more popular. Most can be prepared at home in 30 minutes or less and are less expensive than restaurant meals. These services, such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, have high quality ingredients and sometimes they even contain locally sourced produce. In addition, local grocery stores are offering door to door delivery for a monthly fee. This will save gas and will help you avoid purchasing unnecessary things. In other words, you can stick to your list rather than constantly splurging on a last minute cookie buy.
Pictured here is a Hello Fresh meal. This is a cilantro chili dish. Photo Credit / Tristen Buchino

Many of the suggestions discussed may require lifestyle changes. Avoiding fast food, reading labels, buying fresh and local food and exploring your eating options are just a few ways to improve your diet. However, the end result will have huge benefits on both your budget, planning, mental and physical health.