June 26, 2012

Eat This, Not That; Spend This, Save That!

Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When I graduated from high school (and was playing tennis, basketball, ultimate frisbee, and soccer), I weighed x. When I graduated from college (and was playing tennis, racquetball, and football, but had the dining hall and tailgating), I weighed x + y. As of January 1, 2012, after working full-time for a few years (and primarily getting my exercise walking to the copier from my desk), I weighed x + y + z. I’m happy to say I’m almost back down to x + y, but it has been hard.

Part of my wife’s morning routine usually involves the Today Show being on in the background, and you can imagine my recent interest one morning when they did a special segment called “Eat This, Not That.” It turns out that the segment was based on a book series written by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding that attempts to help people avoid unhealthy menu items and, instead, select similar, healthier alternatives. Not only were their findings shocking and surprisingly entertaining, but they were exactly what someone like me trying to shed a few pounds needed to hear! Then I had an idea on how to take their work to the next level…

* Prices based on calling restaurants in the Atlanta area.

I hope you find these comparisons as interesting as I do, but I recognize these suggestions won’t save you that much dough. I also know from personal experience that dieting can be really expensive “having” to purchase those fancy microwavable meals, “having” to purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables for all those salads and snacks, and “having” to pay for a gym membership. Paying an arm and a leg for those little bars of nuts and bran that are supposed to fill you up can really break the bank!

Money cannot buy health, so looking after yourself should take precedence. But, you can successfully save money and diet at the same time! Smaller portions should mean less food to purchase. Fewer sodas should mean more, “free” water. Dieting, by definition, should probably mean buying fewer snacks, splurges, and desserts. You might try a regiment of walking, jogging, push-ups, and sit-ups on your own, without having to pay for a trainer or a gym. You can also successfully diet without the overpriced berries, I promise! Whatever you do though, buy the name-brand healthy soups; the additional savings you would get by choosing the brand your mother did not feed you as a child are simply not worth it! Trust me.

I think I’m going to go have some celery.



  1. I beg to differ. Money can buy health. Especially if you avoid ALL of the overly processed foods you mention in this post and stick with real whole foods, i.e., a bowl of strawberries in place of a 'splenda' fruit pop that's far from fruit and loaded with chemicals. Money spent now may just help to save on medical bills later.

    1. Everyone, myself included, should be careful about what they choose to consume, and should do their best to look after their bodies. This post was intended to show people that even though dieting can be very expensive, it doesn't have to be! If you're careful, you can actually choose healthier and less expensive food options at the same time! I was trying to get people to think that way. I by no means am suggesting a Big Mac and a Miller Lite are some sort of diet. If they are, sign me up!

      Finally, I hear what you are saying, but I cannot agree that money can buy health. All the money in the world won't do the healthiest eaters any good if they become seriously ill.

  2. I can't really sign on to the statement that "money can buy health," but food most certainly can be preventative medicine. And in the United States, poor dietary decisions (fed in part by lobbyist-written caloric/food group guidelines and grain subsidies) are literally killing us and stacking on BILLIONS in medical expenses, with Type-II diabetes and heart disease being the most prominent examples of disease that can almost always be avoided through proper diet & exercise. So perhaps we can't say "money can buy health" specifically, but we can definitely say "you can avoid diseases like Type-II diabetes and heart disease by purchasing the right food," and we can say "intelligent dietary decisions can save lots of money for individuals and the nation as a whole." While most of the menu items above are unhealthy, healthy eaters can save money too! Stores like DeKalb Co. Farmer's Market sell produce for significantly cheaper than stores like Publix - often cheaper per pound by a dollar or more!