A few weeks back two women who I really respect were having a discussion about making healthy food choices.  As far as I know, they are both stay-at-home moms trying to support their families on one salary.

One was raised in a single parent home and one was a single mom herself not too long ago.  I tell you all this just to say that both of these women have had unique life experiences.  Their discussion centered around whether you could be poor and still eat healthy food, or if being poor meant that you could not afford to eat healthily. Obviously, they both had different opinions.

Both acknowledged it was difficult, but they differed on how possible it was to not have money and still eat healthily.

Then today, I came up with this article saying that healthy food is a privilege of the rich. it’s not what GED students as myself want to hear! I saved some money because together with my friend Michael we followed online GED classes (that I highly recommend), but I am far from being rich!

And it made me think of their discussion all over again. Are those who have a lower socioeconomic level destined to not be able to access healthy nutrition?

I think it’s a very sensitive topic but one that deserves discussion.  D is a full-time student though he also teaches a few classes every semester. We use his salary mostly to pay down my loans and for his school-related expenses.  So in many ways, we are a one salary family.

And I’ll be honest, we don’t buy the type of food we would if we made significantly more. I love fruit … love it. But it can be really expensive. So I very rarely buy it. D and I drink different types of milk (he likes skim, me 1%). Since he is the one who really consumes milk regularly, and it’s a pricey food item, I typically don’t have 1% milk in the house. I would also love to buy more locally grown produce/products as well as more organic and less chemically processed. That isn’t really happening on our budget.  It just isn’t.

Now that isn’t to say we hit up the McDonald’s drive-thru every night for the dollar menu.  We don’t. I do make sure we have a somewhat balanced meal. But our food definitely has a lot more chemicals in it than I would prefer.

But that is what I can afford.

What about a single parent raising 1 or more kids on a modest salary? Can s/he provide balanced meals to his/her kids? Probably. To some degree. But not nearly the same balanced, wholesome, healthy meals that Halle Berry can provide for her kid.

So no, I don’t think to be poor means that you can’t provide healthy food for your kids. Nor does it mean you are any less of a mother/father/parent/provider. That is not my point. But … having money does allow you the option of variety. And it allows you true freedom to choose the ingredients and chemicals you ingest into your body.

And ultimately, I think that’s the main point of my friend’s argument as well as this article. Even the poorest parent can make sure their child gets some semblance of a balanced meal. But only those with economic prosperity can really ensure the variety and nutrition we’d all like for our kids.

What do you think? Does your budget affect what you are able to buy at the grocery store?