Economic Impact on Food Choices
As food prices climb, I encourage you to avoid the pressure to choose cheaper, processed, additive-dense foods for you or someone you love who may have acid reflux. The phrase that describes this exchange is "trading down" food choices and this phrase is already being used by politicians to describe one way in which some American families are adjusting to a slower economy.
It's no secret that natural food stores such as Whole Foods generally cost more than your neighborhood grocery store, and yet if you or someone you love has acid reflux, the pressure from a health perspective to shop at a natural food store can be very real.
"Trading down" and cutting food costs can seem like a very good idea. I'm right there with you, feeling the crunch of it all. However, be cautious: many of the additives and fillers in the cheaper foods are common food allergens, and many with reflux have multiple food sensitivities. Choosing cheaper, unhealthy foods may end up costing you more money in the long run, with more frequent doctor visits and more medication which may be required if the acid reflux symptoms are worsened by poor food choices.
If you are like me, and need to save money on food, I hope the following two suggestions will help you, without making the acid-reflux symptoms worse. These strategies have helped us save a little bit of money, while choosing foods that my son can tolerate.
- Instead of skipping the natural food store all together, try buying ONLY the items which can only be found at the natural food store at that store, and buy all the other items such as butter, eggs, milk and produce at the less expensive grocery store. This may mean leaving hungry children at home with a sitter or the other parent when you shop at these places, since at least with my boys, they tend to see things they want in the store, that I had no intention of purchasing.
- Check the grocery flyers each week, and shop two different times each week, at two different groceries. I know this may not be economically possible for some if you do not live near multiple grocery stores, but we have found success in looking at the store flyers on Sunday, and then going to one of the stores and buying their weekly specials at the beginning of the week, and then shopping at a different store mid-week (when we are always out of something) and buying their weekly specials to get us through the end of the week.
Both of these strategies require more time and fuel, but we have seen a savings in our grocery bill over the last several months, without worsening our son's acid reflux symptoms.
For more information on what foods your child with acid reflux should avoid check out our acid reflux diet page!