Eat. Sleep. Move: The Conscious Consumer

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

Get up, get moving and know your nutrition facts

SABREE BLACKMON

SABREE BLACKMON

By: SABREE BLACKMON
Copy Editor

Have you ever wondered how much cheaper your car insurance would be if your insurance company did not blitz you with expensive advertisements 24/7? I know I have. I like to ask people to ponder the costs of the foods they buy in a similar way. How much of your dollar is paying for marketing? How much of it is paying to develop the ever-changing packaging? It turns out to be quite a bit. According to a 2012 study by Colorado State University, on average 12 cents of your dollar go towards marketing and packaging. 39 cents go toward labor and processing.

What does that mean for the financially struggling college student? If you are buying branded and heavily packaged foods you are likely spending more than you have to. We sometimes forget that we need food to sustain life and health — the fact that your container of yogurt has a built-in spoon does little to advance either of those goals. Does this mean we need to completely abandon convenience? No. It does mean that you can often use your dollar in a more effective way if you know a few principals.

Foods that have little to no packaging, like fresh produce and bulk goods, are more cost effective while they also help cut down on garbage. Opt for foods packaged in bulk as opposed to individual servings. Eating closer to the ground, or choosing foods that are processed minimally from their natural state, reduces the overall costs of factory labor and energy costs. Those savings are passed on to you and it is better for the environment.

We in St. Louis also have a myriad of opportunities to buy foods directly from the source to stretch our dollar even further. The number of farmer’s markets and Community Shared Agriculture (CMS) programs in and around the city is staggering. Freshen up your haggle skills and do not be afraid of the “ugly” but heavily discounted produce.

Students often get the short end of the stick when it comes to food choices. We all know of the stereotype of the twenty-something year old living off of Top Ramen noodles and energy drinks. However, if we start looking at food in a value based way, we can save a few bucks all while buying healthier and more environmentally sound food.

 

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