Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Living In A Food Desert

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10-08-2010, 08:59 PM
I currently live in a small, very low-income community with the closest grocery store a mile out. While getting there is a nice walk (and coming back with lots of groceries is a definite work out!) i'm starting to worry about what will happen when it gets really cold and starts to snow. I don't have a car and I don't drive.

The food places close to me are a drug store and a McDonald's. There is a health food store in town but it is *extremely* expensive (and I shopped at Whole Foods for many years.. this is even worse than that). Unlike many of you, I am not totally off processed foods and I have no problem eating low-calorie at McDonald's (no fries, no mayo, the usual substitutions) but I do feel gross and guilty about having to do this.

Just looking for advice from others who live in places like this and what i should get to freeze in advance for the winter months. Also, if anyone knows any good resources to buy stuff online like oatmeal, Luna bars, etc.

Thank you!!

10-08-2010, 11:16 PM
Can you take a cab in the winter? With some careful planning, you could maybe do a "big" grocery trip every other week, with some occasional things picked up at the drug store in between?

I live out in the sticks, and while I do have a car, I really have to try to plan my groceries out for the whole week as it's a lot of gas (and time) to waste just to drive to town to get a few things. We do have a gas station about halfway between my house and town where I can get overpriced milk, bread, etc., in a pinch.

My freezer has lots of chicken breasts, fish and frozen veggies. I try to eat fresh veggies, but I sometimes when I go too long in between trips, they just don't last. I try to stay away from canned veggies since they're not very nutritious (still low calorie and an OK "filler" to round out a meal if you don't have anything else.) When I know it will be a while between trips, I tend to buy "hardier" produce like carrots, celery and apples. Romaine keeps longer than iceberg--plus it's better for you!

Bread actually freezes pretty well. Certain meals (i.e., chili) also freeze if you make a batch one week, you can freeze half and have it again the following week.

I also look for sales on pantry items (soup, rice, etc.) so I can stock up on things with a longer shelf life.

Not sure if this is the kind of advice you're looking for...but hopefully it's somewhat helpful!

10-09-2010, 02:11 AM
Is there anyone close by such as a neighbor who would be willing to take you on a weekly trip or so? That is rough, I can't drive currently and while I do have someone I live with that drives, sometimes I have a hard time when I want to go to the store but can't.

10-09-2010, 03:09 PM
Northernexposure, that is definitely the advice I am looking for! I am a takeout junkie and have no idea what freezes and what doesn't besides the obvious (meat, veggies, etc). And that's a great idea... just taking a taxi for a big trip every few weeks.

lunameower, I vaguely know my neighbors, but I may have to hit them up for rides in exchange for a six pack or something (this is a college town). It's definitely a challenge living in a place like this, but it's so much cheaper and healthier than the meal plan.

Today I went to the health food store and got some eggs and a few bulk items, she doesn't price those too outreagously. There's also a small farmer's market that will end in a few weeks due to the weather, so I stopped there today to get a few things as well. Once November hits...things will get "interesting."

Thanks for the replies!

10-10-2010, 02:09 AM
In addition to biweekly big trips, I would look on craigslist for a free bike and good quality backpack.

10-10-2010, 02:26 AM
How expensive is the meal plan?

When I was in college I had really good luck finding good options in the caf. but we had a salad and sandwich bar as well.