Whole Foods Lifestyle - Is eating this clean expensive?

View Full Version : Is eating this clean expensive?

09-13-2012, 11:47 PM
I've never explored this part of the forum before but I'm intrigued. I have to cook for 3 adults and a 18 month old.

We're terrible at buying in bulk ._. Our fridge doesn't always keep things cold, and our freezer rarely freezes. So we find ourselves making trips to the store very often :/

So. Those of you who went from eating lots of processed foods and whatnot to eating this way, did your shopping bill go up a lot?

09-14-2012, 01:56 AM
I have recently shifted from being vegetarian to a whole food, vegan, gluten free diet. I go to the store about every other day. While my grocery bills are about the same, I am saving a lot of money by not eating out! There simply aren't many good restaurant options in my area. So while I am spending about the same with non processed, fresh foods, the savings comes in other ways. Good luck to you and your family. I only wish I had made the switch sooner!

09-14-2012, 02:54 AM
Ooh :D That's good to hear. I'm glad there's someone else that goes as often as I do x3 I think I might try doing this, without telling anyone XD It means a lot more cooking though

09-14-2012, 08:47 AM
Not really. I'm not completely eating whole foods, but I do quite a bit, and I save a lot. And I'm also at the grocery store every other day.

For example, a baked potato with some light butter is about 300 calories, and costs about 30 cents. A small serving of rice is about 200 calories, and costs about 15-20 cents (I buy a 5lb bag). Buying premade foods, I can easily spend $10 a day (on the low end), whereas if I make my own foods form whole ingredients, I can easily spend $2 a day on my food.

09-14-2012, 11:05 AM
Also, lentils, dried beans and the like can be purchased in bulk, and do not require freezing or the fridge. They also do well in big batch cooking for meals that are great in the winter: soups and stews and chilis, or can be cooked in bulk and then divided for other recipes to make week-day cooking easier.

Like sweet potatoes, rice, and so many other things, they are definitely less expensive than canned or processed foods as well. Also: if you focus on seasonal foods and shop regularly at a farmer's market you can save on produce. For the most part, the only dried beans and lentils here are the supergeneric ones in the grocery store. I can get red lentils and fava beans at a specialty market, but you can order dried organic beans in bulk on Amazon. Which is why I now have 5 lbs of de puy lentils and 5 lbs of organic chick peas in my cabinets. Mind, since you are in Washington State I expect you are less likely to have that problem than me, out here in the wilderness.

Buy what's in season at the farmer's market (will be so much less expensive than the grocery store, usually) and what's on sale at the supermarket and be adaptable to the markets and you can make up for some of the more expensive things you need. Maybe you even have room for a little kitchen garden. Lettuce and spinach grow quickly and do not require much space. A few pots of fresh herbs in a sunny windowsill require even less space and give you more return for your money with fresh flavor even in winter.

09-14-2012, 02:04 PM
Amazing tips. Thanks :D I think I'm going to start to sort of slowly ease into eating better. I stay within calorie limits I set for myself but I still don't eat good food. I realized my body deserves to run on good fuel :3

09-14-2012, 04:14 PM
Bulk is the key to whole foods! Big bags of lentils, rice, and potatoes last months, and you can save a ton of money that way. Also some veggies stay good long enough for you to buy them in bulk- like roots, for example.

Also, farmer's markets are often priced comparatively to supermarkets!

10-05-2012, 11:50 PM
I am spending a bit more money eating clean the way I do. But I don't spend money on other stuff. I do buy wild-caught Pacific salmon and grass-fed meat, free-range soy-free eggs, all organic produce. I buy local when I can. I grow what I can. I don't eat any processed foods and rarely go out. I don't keep much of a pantry. I have food-intollerance issues and other health problems that I need to contend with. But eating really clean means I don't have to manage my health issues with medication, so there's definitely a savings there!

10-20-2012, 02:00 AM
I find eating whole foods a lot cheaper. I just bought 10 pounds of carrots and 10 pounds of potatoes for $1.77 each so between my youngest son and those will make a lot of inexpensive meals for us when added to other whole foods or eaten on thier own with a bit of butter.

10-20-2012, 12:51 PM
It really depends on whether you're a careful shopper and whether you reach for the "whole food" equivalent of convenience foods (salads in a bag and other washed and pre-cut veggies...).

When my husband and I were working (we're now both on disability) eating better was more expensive - because we chose what we wanted (because we had the money to do that). So we didn't necessarily buy the produce that was cheapest, or the cheapest cuts of meat. We'd choose canned beans over dry more often than not, because we didn't have the time to cook (and hadn't planned ahead enough to use the crock pot).

If your food budget is rock-bottom (as ours was for a short period of time) it can be virtually impossible to eat healthfully. We had a time where our MONTHLY food budget was only about $25 for the both of us (we didn't qualify for food stamps because our income was about $15 too high - qualifications take rent into account, but not medical expenses). And we had to be very creative to eat relatively healthfully, and we still had to eat quite a lot of pasta and rice (whole grain was out of the question unless we found a tremendous sale). Our diet was mostly eggs, chicken thighs, cheap hamburger stretched with dry tvp (soy protein), rice, pasta, beans (dry), potatoes (bought in bulk), oatmeal, cereal, celery, onion, cabbage, bananas, apples, oranges, and whatever we could find on sale. We shopped at ALdis and went to salvage grocery stores (sort of like Big Lots in principle - they buy scratch and dent and bankruptcy stocks and then sell them - it all has to be shelf-stable stuff, nothing perishable).

Now that our budget is much less tight, we still use most of those same strategies, but we have a much larger choice of foods. Only now, our "super saver" strategies allow us to splurge occasionally.

Unless your budget is super tight, or you're living in an area where fresh food is exorbitantly priced (and there are many such areas), you can usually eat healthfully on that budget. You may have to make some drastic changes in how you shop, cook, and eat, but it can be done.

The biggest adjustment in eating more whole foods has been in how much time has to be spent planning the shopping and preparing the meals. To stay on budget, we have to do a lot more of the work ourselves. Whole ready-to-eat foods are much more expensive than ready-to-eat junk. So if you are used to eating foods that require very little cooking/cleaning/preparing, you'll find the whole good equivalents more expensive.

Shopping the flyers can be a huge budget-saver. Even if you only take the flyer you can pick up at the store and take five minutes to read the flyer before shopping that store.

12-30-2012, 03:13 PM
I know this is an older thread, but found it interesting. We have four teenage sons and have been on a whole foods plan for about seven years due to food allergies they all have. About a month ago we switched to whole foods vegan. We had been spending about $2 per person per day and now spend about $2.50 (American). But we live in a very rural area where hamburger costs less per pounds than leafy greens. This year we're going to garden as nuch as possible. I would suggest that if you buy beans, rice, etc in bulk that you store it in glass jars to protect from vermin and insects. I learned that living in the city!