100 lb. Club - I always complain to my dad about this ..

03-05-2009, 11:14 AM
about how it is cheaper as far as money goes to be overweight then it is to try and eat healthy and be skinny .. We're always hearing on the news about how a good majority of Americans are obese and something needs to be done about it if that's the case don't you think they would try and lower the cost of the foods that are good for you and up the cost of the foods that are bad for you.. this is a great article from sparks people today!! http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=whats_the_real_price_of_junk_food

this is a good one too if you have time to read it ..

03-05-2009, 11:18 AM
Michael Pollan is the author of the Omnivore's Dilemma which is a good book.

Junk food is cheap but it does come at a high price.
1) Health - health costs are increased due to poor health
2) Medications - related to health but I know I used to spend a decent amount of money on OTC medications (pepto and motrin mostly) because of what I was eating. I never linked my 'sensitive stomach' to the food I was eating until I realized that my sensitive stomach wasn't so sensitive if I was eating foods that were good for it.

03-05-2009, 11:18 AM
I just read that article. I spend $85-$100+ a week on food. Although my one friend says she spends $50 a week for three people since her healthy/organic change.

03-05-2009, 11:31 AM
on the one hand, I sometimes feel this is a cop out, I certainly save money when I stop buying crp to eat, especially when I go veggie.

on the other hand, I am frequently convinced there's a government conspiracy to keep the poor in their place. after all, not only does poor food affect health, it also affects people's mental capacities. long before the current credit crunch, our local supermarkets frequently offered buy one get one free, or 3 for 2 but it was always on fatty meat pies, sugary fruit pies and cakes, cheap cheap burgers and almost anything fried in bread crumbs.
Cheap, unhealthy food - the opiate of the people.

03-05-2009, 11:32 AM
I keep hearing this, that it is more expensive to eat healthy, but it has not been true for me. I spent so much on junk and fast food that I have saved money eating healthy.

03-05-2009, 11:47 AM
I spend about the same amount on food now as I did before I started eating healthier. There are tons of coupons out there for yogurt, eggs, kashi bars/cereal/crackers, string cheese, canned fruits/veggies and soups and granola bars. I always make sure to buy the fruits and veggies that are on sale in the produce dept. I also stock up on good for you cereal when it's on sale. Last week I got ten boxes of cheerios for $1.10 each. You had to buy 10 to get the deal, but I love cheerios, so it was worth it to me. You might have to work a little harder to get your healthy food for a better price, but if you clip coupons and stock up on stuff when it's on sale, it's not hard to do!

Thighs Be Gone
03-05-2009, 11:54 AM
I'm sorry but I respectfully disagree that it is cheaper to eat bad foods. If money is tight--whole grain rice, beans, tunafish, and whatever produce is in season and cheap is your best choice and you absolutely cannot beat the price. Who can eat just those things you ask? Considering the endless ways you can prepare these items, anyone could.

Bad foods usually are filled with fillers. That is one of the reasons so many people eat way too many of them. The food in them sends you searching shelves for more to eat--it never really satiates the appetite.

For the record, my grocery bill has gone down for certain. Plus, we rarely eat out and never go through a drive-thru. If I do happen to see something I really want that is higher, I don't feel guilty for getting it. I have saved enough in other places to justify.

03-05-2009, 11:54 AM
Since I stopped visiting drive throughs, I am definitely saving money eating better!

03-05-2009, 11:55 AM
on the other hand, I am frequently convinced there's a government conspiracy to keep the poor in their place. after all, not only does poor food affect health, it also affects people's mental capacities. long before the current credit crunch, our local supermarkets frequently offered buy one get one free, or 3 for 2 but it was always on fatty meat pies, sugary fruit pies and cakes, cheap cheap burgers and almost anything fried in bread crumbs.
Cheap, unhealthy food - the opiate of the people.

Not government, corporate. It's a corporate conspiracy. Anyone who spends anytime in poverty-related policy analysis will confirm this to you. (Not conspiracy in the tin-foil-helmet sense, conspiracy in the "this-is-best-for-our-bottom-line" since.

03-05-2009, 12:00 PM
Since we started eating less meat and stopped buying processed/packaged foods, our grocery bill has gone down significantly. Beans and lentils are cheap. We've also saved by eating out less and stopping the fast food drive thru visits. I would prefer to eat more fresh produce, but the price can get high in my area because of shipping. Therefore, we eat more frozen veggies.

03-05-2009, 12:08 PM
If you shop carefully you do not need to spend more money to eat healthy foods. I watch the sales, use coupons and buy fruits and vegies in season.

03-05-2009, 12:23 PM
I keep hearing this, that it is more expensive to eat healthy, but it has not been true for me. I spent so much on junk and fast food that I have saved money eating healthy.

I agree. I think when you make the initial decision to stop buying junk, it can be more expensive. I always buy too much produce then have to throw it out. I just started the Flat Belly Diet and it cost a lot to buy the oils, nuts, seeds, etc. But now that I've been on it for about a month, my grocery bill has gone back down to normal. I don't buy too much produce now, because I know how much I'll actually use. And all those seeds and oils I bought a month ago are still around...they last a long time when you eat them in the proper portions! ;)

And fast food...don't even get me started. A year ago we would go out as a family and eat at McDonald's occasionally thinking it was a pretty cheap alternative to eating at a sit-down restaurant, and easier than cooking at home. But now, I can't believe the price of even fast food! When I forget and go there, I'm always reminded when they ring up my total that I would have been better off at a nicer place after all. Or just eating at home, which is certainly what we do a lot more of now.

03-05-2009, 12:34 PM
Yes, eating healthy is costing me more ... in terms of my time.

I go grocery shopping far more often. I have to, because produce is perishable. Also, it takes up more room in my fridge, compared with processed foods, which are treated to last forever & can sit up in my cupboards for a year or two.

I also spend much, much more time in food preparation (washing, chopping, cooking, but also looking up recipes) than I've ever done. I mean, hours & hours more. I had some cooking skills before this project of mine began, but over the past two years, while losing the weight, I have really become a much better cook & I know how to cook many things than I did before.

If time is money, it's definitely been more expensive for me.

03-05-2009, 01:30 PM
Bad food is cheaper BUT if you count the cost of fast food and add that in on the unhealthy diet, it IS cheaper to eat healthy.

I think the problem is less about cost and more about time, knowledge and willingness to do the work. It takes more time to cut up fresh veggies than to pop a meal in the microwave. It takes more effort and follow through to plan and cook. I often fall down because I don't want to take the TIME to do what is best- I want what is quick and easy and tastes rich.

So really I think that the correlation to MANY (not all) of the poor is more about doing what is easy rather than what is wise- which applies to more areas in life than just food. I grew up 'poor'. We ate A LOT of fattening casseroles but weren't really overweight because we never ate fast food and Mom always made sure to have frozen veggies even if we couldn't afford fresh.

I am no longer poor because I chose to do the hard things (put myself through school) rather just playing around and doing what I wanted rather than what would benefit me long term. I am fat for the opposite reason. I chose to do what was easy rather than doing the hard work of exercising and taking time to prepare healthy food. You can't avoid the hard road in any area of life if you want to succeed. Success is never found along the path of least resistance.

It is true that it is cheap and easy to buy bad for you foods but with a little work and planning, you can still eat healthy and inexpensively. It's not the governments responsiblity to save people from themselves. Coddling the unwilling isn't the solution. The information is out there and accessible for free for anyone willing to burn the calories required to find it.

03-05-2009, 01:45 PM
It really depends on how much money you actually have for food and how many people you have to feed. Most people that are really watching every penny and have to stretch it cannot buy the 10 boxes of Cheerios it takes to get the deal, as they don't have $10 to spend on just cereal.

I have been extremely poor (single mom w/2 kids,no child support, low paying job) and now I am not, and the difference in the two lifestyles is definitely apparent in the way I eat. When you go to the store and you have $50 for food, and you have to feed a couple growing kids nutritionally for a week, it can be hard. It is very different that just feeding yourself or another adult. Have you seen the price of decent vitamins? And what if your child has any food allergies?

So you do the best you can, and you tend to lean towards casseroles and breads to fill up, as you don't want your kids to go to bed hungry every night.

All that said, this is indeed a mixed subject. I don't think I spend a lot on food anymore, and I eat really well, but part of that is that I am mostly buying for myself. The food I buy for my granddaughter isn't always cheap as I want her to eat healthy, but I don't buy all her meals so I don't mind the expense.

All of this also depends on the part of the country you live in too...I guess the best thing to do is watch for sales, stock up if you have the extra cash, and try to make the best choices you can....

03-05-2009, 02:19 PM
well i guess maybe the reason it seems more expensive for me is because my family not matter how hard i try WILL NOT eat any type of veggie and only apples and bananas for fruit .. so I'm basically buying two separate grocery lists of foods .. but honestly fresh fruits are expensive the other day at walmat it was $4 for a little container of blueberries .. so the way i was looking at it as i could spend $4 on a bag of chips and it would be around for at least a week for my family to snack on where that lil container of blue berries for me to snack on would be gone in probably 2 days .. or $1 for one green pepper for 2 meals or $1.25 for a loaf of bread for a weeks worth of sandwiches for my daughter .. i know in the long run when i lose the weight it wont matter how much i spent to buy this healthy food but for now its a pain in the check book

03-05-2009, 02:28 PM

I definitely see what you are talking about. My family is grown now so I don't have the issues you do. I wasn't meaning to be disrespectful and was just refering to how much I used to spend on junk!

03-05-2009, 03:26 PM
Just to add my two cents, as far as produce prices go you really really have to focus on seasonality. You have to educate yourself as to which fruits and vegetables will be in season at any given point in time.

Not to sound harsh or anything, but of course fresh blueberries and green peppers are going to be expensive in the beginning of March. Around this time of year there are really slim pickings are far as fruits and vegetables are concerned. I know that stores are trying to get people to believe that there is no such thing as seasonality, that we can import from Chile, Florida, California, and Mexico during the winter, but it's simply not true. Those imports are by far more expensive because of the transportation costs incurred for them to get here. Also, in my opinion anyway, the quality suffers as well because the items have to be picked before their prime so that they are able to handle the long transport. Honestly, have you ever really had a succulent fresh peach in December? In my experience, December peaches/nectarines/plums/etc. all tend to taste like potatoes.

I know that eating seasonally can be a bit boring in the winter since you're pretty much stuck with citrus fruits, apples, pears, and bananas, but in my opinion anyway, at least you're not having to settle for any crappy tasting fruits. Also, it makes spring and summer all the more special.

I too seem to belong to the bunch that thinks that eating healthfully is actually cheaper than eating junk. I might be biased though because I live in an area where there are lots and lots of produce markets which are basically just regular grocery stores (e.g. Albertsons, Kroger, Meijer, Jewel, Dominicks, etc.) except with their products costing half the price of the regular stores. For example, a pound of deli sliced turkey at the regular grocery store will cost around $8.00, but at the produce market it will cost $4.50. I only shop at the regular grocery stores in an emergency.

When I hear what some people at work spend on groceries when they indulge their children with junk food I seriously cringe - the numbers are astronomical.

03-05-2009, 03:33 PM
Casseroles and breads are great, and not at all what I call bad foods. Bad to me is bread-crumbed or battered, deep fried, highly processes, full of salt garbage that many supermarkets and frozen food shops sell at £1 for four. Ack.

When I went to university, about a hundred years ago, I always remember being astounded at a fellow student who was frying about half a pound of mince (ground beef) with a bit of onion for one meal for herself. In my family a pound of mince, casseroled with veg. and potatoes did all 5 of us!

I guess people are programmed to want instant foods, I bet cookery classes got long ago squeezed out of the curriculum. It does take longer to prepare stuff but so worth it, I am feeling so much healthier after only a month.
OK, I don't have a family to cook for but I do have a busy job - and a freezer. Cook n freeze, that's the way to go.

03-05-2009, 04:10 PM
Ok, for me, in Washington state, food prices are sky high, and I am certainly spending alot more for healthy items. Prior to making a healthier change we did NOT eat fast food.....maybe a burger every 6 weeks or so. I cook everything from scratch, on plan or off of plan. Here are some examples on what is different (I was just at the grocery store last night comparing these things)
store brand white bread $.79 cents on sale, reg $1.29
12 grain, high fiber bread, $3.00 on sale, reg $4.49
white rice, 2 pound bag, $2.49
Brown rice, 2 pound bag, $2.89
eggs $2.19 a dozen...what the heck? 2 yrs ago I could buy them for half that price
Baking Russets $1.29 pound (Seriously? Potatoes?)
Sweet Potatoes $1.89 pound (ones that are shaped small enough to bake)
Apples nothing under $1.39 a pound.......uhhh people I live in Yakima WA, one of the top 5 areas for producing apples!
Using more olive oil.....3 times the cost of veg oil
organic yogurt is almost double the cost of Yoplait
the healthier cereals are never on sale here
Chicken breast is double the cost of thighs, at least!
Ground lean turkey...$4.99 for 12 ounces

the list goes on and on. I cook the same thing for me as I do for my family, generally I buy one bag of tortilla chips for the kids about every 2 weeks, and I do buy a half case of soda for them every 2 weeks. Other than that they eat what I eat

Our grocery bill is about $650 a month, where it used to be $450 (this is without pet food costs, but with things like dish soap and baggies etc) And alot of this is the things like eggs and potatoes that are sky high the last several months, but many of the increases are for foods that are healthier.

03-05-2009, 04:53 PM
I've also come to realize that I'm not a huge fan of most fruits and veggies...I don't like the prep time, cleaning and cutting, etc. But lately I've been buying a lot of frozen fruits and veggies. Really economical and since they're frozen, they last a long time. I'm about to snack on my thawed out strawberries in fact! And the nutritional value is about as good as fresh produce. You might want to look into that option!

03-06-2009, 09:24 AM

I definitely see what you are talking about. My family is grown now so I don't have the issues you do. I wasn't meaning to be disrespectful and was just refering to how much I used to spend on junk!

i didn't take it as disrespect .. every one is entitled to their own opinions :)

03-06-2009, 09:44 AM
It's costing me about the same as before to feed a family of 5....I buy a lot from our organic produce market and buy stuff like meat & fish in bulk. I get great deals on shrimp by buying them at the wharf ($1.25 a lb) or I'll take the family out and catch them ourselves when in season.

When I first started it was pretty expensive because I was just hitting up grocery stores but I'm learning.

We never did really go out to eat or eat fast food before...it is expensive feeding 3 guys though lol

03-06-2009, 01:52 PM
My husband and I are on disability, and living on about 1/3 of the income we had when we were working. We have more time, but a lot less money, and we're eating healthier than ever, but it takes a lot of time and effort. We're not eating less variety, in fact we're eating a lot more variety probably than every before, at least no less.

Some of our shopping is very unconventional though. We start our shopping at an overstock store (like a private Big Lots). The store gets in health food store and gourmet food stuffs about once a month. It's marked down extremely cheap, because most people in town think it's "expired" food (it's not). However, there are enough of us who know the difference, that we've got to arrive the day of or day after it's on the shelves, or it's gone.

We go to an oriental grocery to buy rice (in bulk), soy sauce (a quart of gourmet mushroom soy sauce for the price of a 10 oz bottle of Kikkoman), fish sauce (a wonderful substitute for worcesteshire sauce, and again a quart for the price of a small bottle) and other seasonings and some fresh produce (cheapest and freshest in town for cilantro, bean sprouts, and boc choy and other cabbages).

We go to the health food store for bulk tvp (textured vegetable protein -- 2.49 a lb for the equivalent of 4 lbs of ground beef - I brown it with ground beef and seasonings. I'm able to take 80/20 ground beef (not very lean) and brown it with the tvp to make the approximate calorie and fat equivalent of 90 to 95 ground beef. I freeze it and toss the bag every 20 min as it freezes, so I can scoop out what I need for recipes.

I buy beans in bulk, and cook large batches in the crockpot, and then drain and freeze (also by the toss method, so I can scoop out single servings for recipes). I even sometimes do the same with pasta.
During the summer and fall (when they're open), we shop the farmer's markets.

We buy cheese directly from the cheese maker (in Wisconsin, this is easy, we have at least 3 cheesemakers within 15 to 45 minutes of our house), and we usually buy bricks and slice or shred ourselves (you have to check the prices, because sometimes you can get shredded or sliced cheese for less per pound than in whole bricks).

We shop at Aldi's and Walmart, and price compare. We go to a very small grocery that is more expensive on most items, except they have excellent meat and produce deals. We also shop the flyers for stores loss leaders (items they are selling very cheaply, with the hopes of getting you in the store to spend more - we just buy what's a good deal and move on to our next grocery stop).

Of course, it takes a lot more time and effort than one stop shopping (especially if buying quick to prepare foods), but even when we were working and eating out alot, we still used many of these techniques. I know women who work, and have small children, who do much of what we do to save money on groceries.

It's shocking to me how much pricing difference there can be from grocery store to grocery store. Some stores charge twice or more what others do, for the same box of cereal or frozen dinner, or bag of pasta. If you're willing to try store brands (which are generally extremely good - and are often the same product as the name brands, made on the same factory lines (even in the same jar, if you look closely) and only the label and price are different).

There are a lot of books and websites with "frugal living" advice. Some of the tips will seem silly, and others will seem like something you could easily do, but it's amazing how well you can eat (not only healthy, but flavorful and interesting) on how little.

03-06-2009, 04:09 PM
Hey Redflame! Try Trader Joe's for cheaper, healthy cereals, whole grain bread and yogurt.

03-06-2009, 05:06 PM
I agree with what a lot of people have said -- if i factor in the $$ i USED to spend on crap (including take out, ice cream, sodas, etc) wow I'm coming out way ahead!!

That being said, a lot of fast food was for convenience sake -- if there was a place on my way to work that would give me a coffee and some cottage cheese with a nice fruit salad, i would SO go there every single morning!!!

03-06-2009, 05:48 PM
Prices for staples (like milk, bread, eggs, meat, veggies) vary ALOT depending on where you live. There was a study done in my area compaing the price of food from provence to provence (I live in Canada) and from on end of the country to the other prices changed by as much as 50%. Where the "unhealthy" processed foods remained almost totaly consistant in price. I was pretty amazed by that.

Either way it does seem like something has to change. I guess it starts with one person right.

03-06-2009, 11:35 PM
I would love to have a Trader Joes or a Whole Foods, and you would think that with 70,000 we could have one of them, but I guess Yakima is just not cool enough!

I do go to the Hispanic grocery store though, great prices on produce

03-07-2009, 12:16 AM
We used to eat out a lot. A LOT. We also used to buy junk food almost every single night... sometimes 10-15 dollars worth. And I don't know... a bag of chips has NEVER lasted a week in my house! More like an hour!!!!

So we USED to spend around $600 a month on groceries... then another $500 or so on eating out and junk food runs.

I now spend about $1000 a month on groceries (including cleaning, pets, diapers, wipes etc) and that includes all of the food for my daycare.

So I'm saving a bit of money. But I'm ALSO saving my life. It all works out.