What if we told you, taking a few extra minutes each day (microwaves don’t count) to make a healthy breakfast or lunch before work will buy you more years to live? Americans are always in a rush these days, and social media and ever-improving technology are accommodating to our manic urgency to have everything bigger, better, faster, stronger. Smartphone applications and wave-to-pay credit card machines make it easy for us not to think twice about our order. Don’t get me wrong, accessibility and convenience are two of my favorite words when it comes to many things in life—but not health. “‘If you go with the flow in America today, you will end up overweight or obese, as two-thirds of all adults do,’” Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tells USA Today. While it is hard to break out of the steady flow that so many of us have gotten sucked into, we’re prepared to give you a little push.
A favorite excuse for putting our health on the back burner is, “I can’t afford it.” I recently saw a reality show, featuring a family who is building the biggest home in America, where the matriarch of the family ordered her children chicken nuggets. If this millionaire can afford to make the wrong decisions, we can afford to make the right decisions. Ultimately, living a healthy and green life will be your decision and will happen when you’re ready to make a change, if you haven’t already. However when it comes to our children, we need to be aware of the foundation we’re creating for the rest of their lives. As busy as parents are, there should be something gratifying and joyful about making your children’s lunch before school. Flashbacks to my middle school days (pink and purple braces deliberately blocked out) include lovingly wrapped, crust-free PB&J’s, baby carrots, and a smiley face sticky note. It turns out today you can buy a pre-made frozen PB&J crust-free. But convenience comes at a high price; by buying into these quick fixes we are feeding ourselves and our children with chemicals and sugar with consequences that far outweigh the benefit of beating the morning commute.
So let’s call this your ‘green investment,’ use the same cash you would spend on frozen meals and buy the real stuff. It is important to take the time and find joy in feeding our bodies with natural, real foods—life is our biggest investment, after all.