Save your money for “God’s Candy”

September 27, 2011

Save your money for “God’s Candy”

While in the checkout line at a local grocery store, I was busy placing my food items on the conveyer belt.  The young clerk is busy weighing the produce and suddenly looks at me and says, “Everything in your cart is healthy”.  Surprised at her statement, I must have had a very quizzical look on my face because her next statement was, “Most people buy food in boxes or cans”. Interesting observation.

I must admit that I shop like my mother.  I was blessed with a mother who was an immigrant to the United States.  As the youngest of seven children, I frequently walked with her to the local neighborhood grocery store.  There we purchased colorful produce, fresh meats, cheese and other dairy products.  Cereal and whole grains were the items in a package. Without any nutrition education, my mom purchased these items all the time.

When my older brother and sisters returned home from school, they frequently asked for some packaged items like candy, sweets or chips that they had seen at school.  My mother’s reply was consistent, “I do not have money for those items.  Fruit is sweet, it is God’s candy.”  I think this discussion was burned into my memory, because I repeated it many times to my family.

For over 50 years, the American Dietetic Association has encouraged fresh food versus processed food.  But the food industry spends about 11 billion dollars per year advertising packaged food items and even tells us “we do not have time to cook”.

As a dietitian, how do I begin to counter those dollars with my sales pitch of “fill half your plate with colorful produce”?

But that is a beginning for most people. Each week, the local grocery store ads will offer produce on sale.  Since the items change each week, it provides a wide variety of fresh produce at lower prices (frozen vegetables and fruits are healthy choices, too).  In the fall, fresh apples are at their best, crisp and juicy.  Each week a new variety of apple will be on sale.  Try all the varieties from gala to granny smith.

To save money, look at your cart.  Do you see chips, cookies, candy etc. in it?  Save them for special occasions.  Save your money for “God’s candy”.

  1. Liz Foxhoven

    Toni, I simply love "eat God's Candy" comment. I have already used in 2 of my nutrition classes,at the Heritage Center, and Lasting Hope Recovery Center. Always nice to find new ways of teaching Nutrition to our patients'. May God Bless Your Day! Liz Foxhoven M.A.,R.D.,L.M.N.T.

  2. Toni Kuehneman

    Hannah, My mom never used a cookbook or a recipe. Amazing isn’t it? It was a little of this or a little of that. Vegetables were steamed or sautéed in olive oil just to crisp tender. Her spices were garlic, basil and oregano. In one of my previous blogs entitled “Try Something New”, I list a website written by RDs who are moms of picky eaters. The website is: www.mealmakeovermoms.com. They have a cookbook entitled No Whine with Dinner that you may find helpful. Their website lists many easy to prepare recipes. Look it over and see if some of them would work for your family. The recipes are great for adults too. Do continue to read my weekly blog. I will be featuring some recipes for vegetables etc. Thanks, Toni

  3. Lynette

    I remember when you first said this to me over 2 years ago! I still use it in my daily life. Thanks Toni!

  4. Laurrie

    Toni, Do you have a favorite recipe that your Mom was famous for? I would love it if you would share. Buying the produce is one thing, ways to fix it and get it to the table can be another. Laurrie

  5. Hannah

    I am going to start using "God's Candy" with my kids.... they do not like fruit, and I am trying to get new ways to get them interested in it. Thank you for your article!

  6. Kristen

    I completely agree with this. We buy a lot of fresh produce in our household, and I like the "God's candy" explanation. I'm going to have to use that with my kid. Thank you for this post.

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