So for the first time in my life I went shopping at a local Houston Fiesta grocery store. For those of you who do not know Fiesta it is a grocery store that houses ethnic foods and is usually found in under-privileged communities. I was glancing in the milk section for Organic Fat Free milk... hmm where is it I thought. I finally found two different varieties, the Horizon version and some ethnic brand. The percentage of lower fat milks was only about 5% compared to the whole milk kind. Now I know a lot of you out there are like eww gross fat-free milk, but once you get used to it you can't go back to whole. Whole cow's milk is only about 3.5% fat, then there is 2%, 1%, and finally fat-free. You are probably thinking what's 3.5 percent, but small diet improvements can go a long way.
Ok back to the rest of the store. Now to the dairy aisle...fat-free or low-sodium cheese..... where is some. There was one packet left of fat free cheese that looked like it was there for a while, but I had to grab it regardless. All the cheese available was too high in fat and sodium for my taste. Just so you know a normal slice of cheese has about 9 g of fat. Low fat is usually cut down to 6 g or 4.5 g. The think that bothers me about cheese is sometimes if you go for a low-fat cheese the sodium is high. If you go for a low-sodium cheese the fat is high. Trust me there are times where I pull out 9 cheese packages and just compare the labels for fat and sodium. Cheese portions need to really be watched!
Now to find low-sodium broth. There was only one brand that was 33% lower in sodium but the sodium was still high! Overall it was really hard to find whole wheat products, organic items, meats with lower fat, healthy cereals, etc. i kept seeing weird foods... pork legs, things drenched in salt and vinegar, high sodium foods, and just about everything not good for you. The only real good area was the produce area... thank goodness!
So here is my point! Lower income areas usually do not have access to quality food in grocery stores. Foods are over- processed and preserved because they have to be cheap. Mass production yields affordable foods without the health factor taken into consideration. If a family of 5 is struggling to make ends meet they are probably not going to want to spend extra money on lean meats, fat-free foods, and organic foods. With obesity highly prevalent in lower income areas what are we to do as a nation to provide healthier foods to theses areas? Just today I stopped at a McDonald's next to the 3rd Ward of Houston (not to eat but for another reason); it was around dinner time so there were a lot of families with their kids eating "dinner." Most of the parents were overweight and even obese. My heart went out to them because what else are they supposed to do. When a hamburger is like a buck and large soda for another buck, they can feed their entire family using a small budget. Most "healthy" deli sandwiches are at least $5, so do you expect every person to afford that?
If we really want to get our nation on the road to being healthy we have to think about subsidizing healthier foods so that everyone can live a more worthwhile life!