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    Old 04-01-2006, 06:48 PM   #1
    StephanieAnne
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    High cost of eating healthy

    Maybe this has been addressed here already, but I went grocery shopping today, bought all whole food, good food, healthy food, nothing processed, nothing bad to eat, and I spent over $200.00 this is for 2 people who eat all our meals at home. IF i wanted to buy junk food for the week I would have spent half of what I did.

    When the outcry comes that people are over weight, that kids are overweight, it's because it is cheaper to buy processed foods and easier to eat junk processed foods, so who to blame, well I am thinking all the companies who make all the processed junk food. Now they are starting to make things with whole grains, and with no artificial flavors, no MSG, trying to make the processed food healthier, and people will buy this more expensive healthy food, because the food companies are responding to what the consumer wants, and making more $$ of this healthy stuff!
    Gosh..... ENOUGH ALREADY!!

    Don't get me wrong, I am in the position that I am in because of all the great fast processed foods that I ate for YEARS! I was dx'd w/MS 15 months ago and how do I know that my MS was not brought on by all the processed foods I ate?

    This is a viscious circle, you want to control what you eat, we are bombarded endlessely [sp] that this is what we all need to do, yet it costs a fortune to eat healthy

    The cashier [a teenager male with nice earrings in his ear ] said to me "I can't imagine the price of groceries when I am buying them" !! and he is right.

    I said to my hubby when we were done shopping comon lets pay our $200.00 so we can go home

    Gosh I was just a little overwhelmed, and needed to vent, doesn't everyone feel this way? I feel better now, thanks for letting me vent!
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    Old 04-01-2006, 07:17 PM   #2
    Lexi4529
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    I dunno; I'm a vegetarian, and I find that my food bill is usually far less than that of my friends with families of comparable size.
    I eat mostly bean and whole grain combos, such as lentils and brown rice or beans/ dried peas and barley, plus fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables.
    I don't buy pre-packaged convenience foods, frozen foods, or canned foods.
    Personally, I think our diet is very healthy. We have plenty of energy and are in good shape.
    I do not usually purchase tofu or soy-based products like TVP (textured vegetable protein) or other meat substitutes, for the reason you cited: they are expensive.
    We get plenty of iron and protein from beans and whole grains.
    And these things are extremely cheap, much cheaper than trendy "health food" such as vegan frozen entrees, and also much cheaper than junk food.

     
    Old 04-02-2006, 12:54 AM   #3
    rheanna
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    I can appreciate that just going into a grocery store with the intent of eating "healthy" foods instead of the "junk food" that we've been purchasing up to now can be a shock to the pocketbook. May I suggest that some thought be put into just what constitutes "healthy food"?

    Lexi is right -- beans and whole grains -- NOT precooked or canned or frozen or prepackaged ready to pop into the oven or microwave -- are indeed VERY cheap. One of the things that makes junk food so appealing is its instant access -- no need to collect ingredients and chop and sautee and make a sauce, etc.

    However, time is money, as someone said a long time ago. Food that is bought in its simple, unadorned, uncooked state is (or can be) cheap. Food that someone ELSE (besides you) has prepared is not so cheap -- someone has to pay for their labor and for the facilities to precook, can, freeze, prepackage it. My suggestion is to think about organizing your life to include a bit more time for cooking (forgive me for assuming that you don't already do that -- if you do, then indulge me in my fantasy). Time can be saved by cooking in bulk and freezing portions for later.

    Another thing to think about is that prepackaged foods hide the fact that raw fruits and veggies are seasonal. My suggestion is to ask grocers and growers at farmers markets advice about which foods are picked locally, recently, and therefore aren't as expensive as those foods that have to be shipped from a warmer climate (see discussion about paying for labor and facilities above). Then you know which fruits and veggies are reasonably priced, and you can base your menues on them. For example, don't buy red bell peppers when they are priced sky high. Carrots are usually much cheaper and give at least as much vitamin A.

    Another cost saving tip is to buy meats (if you eat it) and other things when they are on sale, in bulk, and then package them up in meal-sized portions to store in the freezer. When I lived in the States, I used to get 3 or 4 large turkeys just before Thanksgiving at 29 cents a pound (ok, that was 12 years ago!), and store them in the freezer. Every few months we'd thaw one out, barbeque or oven-roast it, invite friends and family, and eat happily. Then there would be lots of leftovers, and I'd devote some time to removing the meat from the bones, making small packages of meat, and making broth with the bones and freezing that in small containers. I spent a bit of extra time that I wouldn't have if I had bought things prepackaged (or even precooked), but I saved a LOT of money.

    Dried beans are much cheaper than canned. I regularly cook up a batch and freeze it in small containers for future meals. Rice and other grains are cheap, as long as you're not paying for the boil-in bags (someone else's labor and materials).

    There is a book by Amy Dacyczyn called The Tightwad Gazette (originally 3 books, now I believe collected into one book), where she recommends some very interesting ways to save money. One of her tips that I really took to heart is to use meats only in small quantitites. Animal protein is often the most expensive part of a meal, and we don't need very much protein in order to remain healthy. I eat frequent vegetarian meals, and when I use meats, it's chopped up and used in small quantities with lots of veggies. Save that steak for special occasions.

    There are lots of things to think about when switching from junk food to a healthy diet. Congratulations for making the effort! It's a learning process, and you've only just begun. Please don't give up and assume that you'll either be paying high prices for food or you have to go back to junk food in order to save your pocketbook. I hope that more people will join into this discussion.

    --Rheanna

     
    Old 04-02-2006, 07:19 AM   #4
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    I think in terms of dollars per gram of protein. Everything else in food is just calories.

    It is possible to eat VERY well and very cheaply but it involves retraining the chef.
    As an extreme, one could eat very healthily on variants of rice and beans and feed a family of four for $50 a month.
    For meat protein the choice must be eggs and chicken. Fish is only for those with a ROD and beef for those with their own herds.

    Eating like this is quite time comsuming because of long preparation times. But expensive fast food, in addition to being very pricey, isn't very good anyway.

    I just read that the average dinner prepared in 1965 took 2 1/2 hours to prepare...it's less than half that now.

    To eat cheaply you buy a 20 pound bag of rice at a discount store and plenty of 5 pound bags of beans, lentils and peas. Dull, but healthy and CHEAP!
    And have a chicken on Sunday...like was done in the old days.
    Breakfasts can be cheap eggs, or pancakes made from all purpose flour or oatmeal made from bulk rolled oats if you can find them in a 10 pound sack.

    You can't shop at Fancy Foods, Whole Foods, or Garden of Eden without paying the chi-chi tariff.

    Alas, fresh produce prices are going up up and up...soon we'll need to takee a mortgage to buy an edible tomato. One MUST have a garden or do without...or pay plenty!

    I can buy beans that provide 2 day's protein or AN ORANGE...for $.50.

    Last edited by Lenin; 04-02-2006 at 07:24 AM.

     
    Old 04-02-2006, 08:44 AM   #5
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    Very interesting topic

    I've found my grocery bill actually decreasing since cleaning up my diet and getting rid of prepackaged/processed foods. I do spend a ton more time preparing things like salad dressings and sauces, tho.

    I'm in the SE USA (Florida), so produce is either grown in my backyard or my neighbor's, or it's real inexpensive at the store. Meat, on the other hand, is a fortune. I buy bags of boneless, skinless chicken breast at Costco for about $13 for six pounds and grind it myself instead of buying lean ground beef (works in most recipes).

    I don't buy organic foods, tho. We don't have a Whole Foods or comparable place in my area, and the organic produce at my grocery looks postively awful. They should be paying me to eat it as some sort of experimental study.

    I do plan every dinner I make with the notion that we will either eat another dinner of it for leftovers or have lunch for a couple days with it. This helps a lot with savings (as opposed to buying a salad or sandwich out for lunch the next day).

    Also, when I did my first few grocery runs after deciding to "clean up my diet" last year, those first few bills were high. But then my pantry/freezer started to fill with basic staples that I didn't need to buy every time I went shopping. I still pay a lot for fresh herbs, but I've decided to try growing a few easy ones in my backyard to possibly help there.

    Don't know if this is a good example, but I love key lime pie. It's really fattening and processed at my bakery, and it costs $8.99 for a full pie at the bakery. I can make my own fat-free/low-cal with a boxed cereal, ff condensed milk, ff cream cheese and key lime juice. My cost for those items is about $13, but I can make about three pies with that money. The initial cost is more than the nine bucks or so, but the $13 will get me pies for a couple months.

    My complaint is finding healthy foods at the grocery stores! They keep moving them around or making them nearly impossible to find. Can they put steel cut oats with the oatmeal? No!!! They put it in the organic flour section. What the heck is it doing over there? It's oatmeal for crying out loud. Do they put rice cakes with the chips? No. You have to find the diet/power bar section, practically get on the floor to look at the bottom rack to see some rice cakes. GRRRRR.

    I bought an oatmeal cereal made by Quaker (the one I use for that key lime pie crust), and the checkout girl couldn't get the sku to work at the register. The manager came over to help her and said it's because, "It's not a 'normal' cereal." I asked him, "Um, what's a normal cereal?" He said Cocoa Puffs or Honeycomb.

    Sorry to rant, but the powers that be don't make it easy to buy healthy, whether it's finding a good price or just finding it at all.

    Last edited by StenoLady1; 04-02-2006 at 08:44 AM.

     
    Old 04-02-2006, 09:50 AM   #6
    Sharon76
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    Hi

    I agree that eating healthy can be expensive but it dpends on what a person can do with the food and the time.

    Im in the Uk and we have hectic life styles so time is valuable, i have a family with 3 children so i know how expensive grocery shopping can be, especially when you are trying to buy the right things for your children. But you can pick up on some good tips for cheap healthy food.

    For example, when i was working over 40 hours a week we bought a slow cooker, this meant i could prepare healthy casseroles and stews the night before and the following morning switch it on, then when i came home it would be ready.

    It is surprising what a person can do with a bag of potatoes, put them in casseroles, stews,boil or even bake them. All is healthy. The veg can be chopped and thrown in the casseroles or stews and any leftover and get frozen for the next day.

    Tins of fish like tuna, can be mixed to make lots of things....tuna mayo, pasta tuna bake, tuna toasties plus tons more, and again all of these are healthy ways to eat.

    I find my life saver is buying large bags of pasta 5kg, for 3 as the pasta can be mixed with lots of things to save money and be healthy.

    Bread can be bught in bulk, maybe a few loaves and they can be put in the freezer until the night before you need it.

    It is difficult, but it can be done, eating healthy on a cheaper option.

     
    Old 04-04-2006, 07:56 PM   #7
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    I agree...beans and rice are cheap but how on earth are you supposed to stay interested??? Even if *I* could manage choking them down every day there's no way I could keep my 5 children interested! Trust me no matter how you slice it, dice it, season it etc...they'll still figure out that it's "beans and rice again".

    I believe also that eating healthy is FAR more expensive. I live in Michigan...NOTHING is in season here for over half the year. If you want fresh fruits and veggies you can expect a large grocery bill.

    Romaine lettuce is $3 a bunch and boxed mac and cheese is 4/$1.00. Apples are almost $4 for a 5lb bag but packaged pizzas are $.99 as are "tv dinners". Pot pies are only $.47 each. These packaged meals will go much further in appeasing an appetite than apples and salad.

    I don't want my family to eat that way but the fact remains...eating healthier is going to be more expensive (unless all you eat is beans, rice and oatmeal).

    Kelly

    P.S. We are currently in the process of transitioning from what's cheap to what's healthy...it can be frustrating sometimes!

     
    Old 04-04-2006, 09:44 PM   #8
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    I have no problem spending money on healthy beneficial foods.. Its like when I see my friends buying a carton of cigarettes which here a carton is about 70.00$ Canadian. Thats when I look at them and, smile... Dont depress yourself for spending a little more money on healthier foods, it will pay off in the long run and, the healthier you eat the less pills you will take.

    Hi rheanna long time no see.

     
    Old 04-05-2006, 01:58 AM   #9
    Sharon76
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    It can be very frustrating trying to adopt to a healthy option but still keeping it cheap, but once a person gets used to it it will get easier quicker finding the right types of foods.

    And besides all of this im sure abit of junk food wont do any harm from time to time.

     
    Old 04-06-2006, 10:17 PM   #10
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    ice cream with blueberries...

     
    Old 04-07-2006, 10:21 AM   #11
    Lenin
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    Losec,

    There are people on the planet who need to feed a family of 4 for a month on that $70 Canadian ciggie money.
    For some people time isn't money...it's just time. And time takes food, and cheap food takes time.

    There was a time when life was gathering food, preparing food, and eating food...not much more. In those times there was no such thing as expensive healthy food...there was ENOUGH food = life or NOT ENOUGH FOOD = death.

    We should never kid ourselves that such times won't come again...for some it's been an ongoing lifetime experience. Any concept like "expensive healthy food" is reduced to little more than an incomprehensible giggle!

    (I'm feelin AT ONE with the "starving masses" today...God knows why because I've been overeating all week!)

    Last edited by Lenin; 04-07-2006 at 10:22 AM.

     
    Old 04-07-2006, 03:06 PM   #12
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    Re: High cost of eating healthy

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lenin
    For some people time isn't money...it's just time. And time takes food, and cheap food takes time.

    Yes and, have you noticed how many people in todays world are sick and, taking medication on a dialy basis because they keep eating processed foods.

     
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