misskimothy - I used to live in California, so I can acknowledge that there are regional differences but I do think a lot of people have figured out how to eat inexpensively and healthfully for their area. I would expect metro Seattle to be similar to my area or other areas I lived where it basically isn't California
I remember the first time I walked into a Colorado grocery store after moving from California, I walked out without buying any produce. I still rarely buy citrus fruits because they are expensive. When I visit California though, I eat tons because its cheap and widely available.
Having said that, for me, learning how to eat inexpensively and healthfully was partially learned but also growing up I was used to eating non packaged stuff.
Also, being that we are in late fall/winter, my own buying habits have switched quite a bit than they were in the summer. I was eating lots of salads in the summer but I don't really plan to have another salad until March/April sometime unless it is eating out and I happen to have one. I would rather not pay the price for salad veggies plus being cold, salads chill me more so I don't want that.
I feel for those that don't have a lot of options.
Of course I wish our agricultural politics would change up a bit so that produce would be cheaper but I also think even if you aren't eating a lot of produce, there are lots of options for healthy eating.