Like millions of other American families, our family noticed the sharply rising cost of our grocery bill every month. At first, we assumed it was due to us being home more and having to adjust to working and schooling from home, but as the pandemic wore on we began comparing the actual cost of the food itself now from what it was prior to the pandemic. A very interesting article on food instability from aamc.org took an insightful look at the impact the pandemic took on the availability of food as well as how it has been affecting those most impacted by it.
Citing a study from the Pew Research Center which also looked at how the pandemic sidelined 14 million workers in the United States from February to May; the article also uncovered a fact that we oftentimes overlook in terms of how we eat and its link to our overall health. Food is medicine, and as true as that is; along with the growing body of research that points to the often misunderstood disparity of where low-income and marginalized groups don’t have access to fresh and unprocessed food.
Feeding Your Body Good Fuel.
Some time ago I did a feature for Cricket Muse on describing for young readers what a food desert. As you may already know, living in a food desert simply meant that healthy and affordable food wasn’t readily available in your immediate area. Most often people living in such areas either did the best they could with the unhealthy choices in their area or bussed with their groceries ( which isn’t an easy thing to do).
Then the COVID-19 changed everything, from the way we worked and went about our daily lives, including grocery shopping. Currently, the average monthly price for a family of 4 is 1,287 (depending on where you live.). It’s odd, but it seemed like only last year it wasn’t that much. Apart from that, the pandemic brought to all of our eyes, just how fragile distribution systems can be (often through no fault of their own). Toilet paper… once thought to be inexhaustible, became as valuable gold.
The most troubling part has been the instability of it all. It isn’t something companies have been able to get a handle on over the course of the pandemic, causing more than 250 million people to deal with acute food shortages through 2020.
Tips to Weather the Storm
I’m sure we’ve all gotten a good healthy dose of how realistic our planning for emergency events really is. In our home, we were fortunate enough to plan ahead in order to not only stock up and keep a well-kept supply but also find healthy food alternatives we could have delivered at a reasonable price. We also applied these ideas to help us overcome food instability in our area.
- Continue to take advantage of food programs in our area.
- By budgeting our money proactively in order to keep track of how we were spending.
- Continue building savings… that pretty much goes without saying!
- Streamline our household and business budget to keep it cost-effective, and shop in bulk to save on how many trips we make to the store.
- Brainstorm new and healthy meal ideas… as a matter of fact, we’ve been binge-watching one of our favorite shows for ideas. Here have a look for yourselves.
We’ve enjoyed sharing a little of what has helped our family plan ahead to stay one step ahead of the shopping trends we’re seeing in our area. What are some tips and hacks you’ll have found useful? Share in the comments below.