Sometimes when you make a decision, you end up with unintended consequences. Sometimes those consequences are bad (for example…you find a parking spot in the Katz lot but you end up with a ticket because your meter ran out before you left the building). But sometimes those consequences can be good (like when I gave up cable TV and my electric bill went down because the cable boxes are power vampires).
My New Year’s resolutions this year included a “healthier living” component. This includes not only exercise (and yes…I’m still winning my StepBet!), but also eating less processed food. Some things (i.e. potato chips and pretzels) that used to be staples in my life are just not a part of it any more. Now when I think of snack food, I’m usually thinking fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, or applesauce. And my one true snacky weakness—popcorn. Popcorn is a true whole-grain snack food that doesn’t have to be bad for you. I recently acquired a microwave popcorn popper. This provides me with oil-free popcorn in minutes that can’t cause popcorn lung. Add a little salt while it’s still hot, and I’ve got a delicious, easy, healthy snack.
But the thing that caught me off-guard about this dietary change is the unintended consequences. I’ve read a million times that the best way to shop in a grocery store is “around the edges” where the fresh foods are kept. And this change to my diet has led to more around the edges shopping and a lot less of picking up boxes, bags, and jars from the aisles. And this is where the unintended consequences come in. I’ve been spending a lot less money on groceries since the start of the year. A dozen eggs, a bag of clementine oranges and a bag of apples costs about the same as one bag of chips and one bag of pretzels (and will make you feel full a lot faster). And a jar of un-popped popcorn kernels costs only a few dollars but will last for weeks on end. While this may not seem like a budget busting discovery, I’m easily saving $10 to $20 per week on groceries by sticking with healthy food. And over the course of a month that’s $40 to $80. Over a year it can be as much as $1,000. And that’s a significant chunk of money.
You never know what unintended consequences may come from decisions you make. But sometimes they’re really good ones.