3 Fat Chicks on a Diet Weight Loss Community  

Go Back   3 Fat Chicks on a Diet Weight Loss Community > Food > Food Talk And Fabulous Finds > Shoestring Meals

Shoestring Meals Budget friendly ideas for healthy eating

I KNEW eating healthy foods was costing me more!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 12-08-2009, 12:13 PM   #31
Senior Member
 
JulieJ08's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: California
Posts: 7,097

S/C/G: 197/135/?

Height: 5'7"

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by misskimothy View Post
I dunno - Public Health researchers over 370 grocery stores for a peer-reviewed article? For the University of Washington? Sounds pretty believable to me.
It's helpful not to ignore the end results. You can't possibly be saying that $36 a day sounds like reasonable estimate of what it costs to eat healthy. Therefore, something somewhere is very flawed in their process or reasoning, or at least in the way the NY Times spun the story.

I found the entire original report here:

The Rising Cost of Low-Energy-Density Foods
__________________
Started 4/14/08 LINK TO PROGRESS PICS 1/1/2009
"It is impossible to live pleasurably without living wisely, well, and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely, well, and justly without living pleasurably" Epicurus

Last edited by JulieJ08 : 12-08-2009 at 12:14 PM.
JulieJ08 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 12:20 PM   #32
Moderating Mama
 
mandalinn82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Woodland, CA
Posts: 13,112

S/C/G: 295/191/175

Height: 5' 8"

Default

Quote:
And I find it weird that there really isn't much acknowldegment of the realities that alot of us face. Instead, it is "well you don't know how to shop" or "well, the study is flawed" or "well, out here in freaking California I can get cheap stuff year round" or "well, I find it easy". The sad reality is that alot of us face obstacles every single day. Alot of us live in areas without cheap produce. Alot of us have bills to pay and can't afford to eat the way others can. Alot of us are time pinched. Sometimes it would be nice to hear "jeez, I had no idea. I feel pretty lucky that my situation is different" instead of "eat beans and lentils every day. I don't have this problem (and neither should you so you just aren't trying hard enough)."
Gosh, I'm really sorry you felt unsupported - that sucks and wasn't my intention, though I can see how my response would land that way if you were looking for a response along the lines of "yeah, this is so hard on a budget". The issue is, for many people, "healthy food costs too much" is an excuse used to give up on healthy eating. I can't speak for anyone else on the thread, but my goal wasn't to dismiss the challenges that those with tight budgets face (because it IS a lot harder to cook healthy foods inexpensively, and that's just one of the multitude of additional challenges that individuals here may face in weight loss...others include obstacles like PCOS, family situations, depression, thyroid disorders, injuries that prevent exercise, etc)...it was to respond to a study that felt somewhat discouraging to me about whether good nutrition is possible on a budget (I know very few people who could afford to pay $36 a day for healthy food, though again, I do think that estimate is high) with my own experiences and knowledge about how one can make healthier choices than corn chips or mac and cheese with the same grocery bill.

None of that, though, was meant to dismiss the challenges associated with having a tight grocery bill and trying to eat a healthy diet...only to provide my insight and knowledge about ways that, though challenging, it can still be possible.
__________________
Goal Met - 10/28/07 - My Progress Picture Collage - My Goal Story

No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch!

Maintained Oct 2007-Sept 2011, then got pregnant. Our baby boy was born in May, 2012...now to lose the baby weight!!
mandalinn82 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 12:46 PM   #33
Senior Member
 
JulieJ08's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: California
Posts: 7,097

S/C/G: 197/135/?

Height: 5'7"

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by misskimothy View Post
The sad reality is that alot of us face obstacles every single day. Alot of us live in areas without cheap produce. Alot of us have bills to pay and can't afford to eat the way others can. Alot of us are time pinched. Sometimes it would be nice to hear "jeez, I had no idea. I feel pretty lucky that my situation is different" instead of "eat beans and lentils every day. I don't have this problem (and neither should you so you just aren't trying hard enough)."
Hmm, I fully agree that there are great challenges, and I *love* threads that address them helpfully. I just think it's strange to expect any other response than you got when posting an article that claims $36 a day is what it costs to eat healthily. Perhaps leaving out the hyperbole would get you the response you were looking for? I don't mean that with sarcasm - I genuinely think you'll get a better response.
__________________
Started 4/14/08 LINK TO PROGRESS PICS 1/1/2009
"It is impossible to live pleasurably without living wisely, well, and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely, well, and justly without living pleasurably" Epicurus
JulieJ08 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 01:26 PM   #34
Soul Cyster
 
beerab's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: California
Posts: 4,480

S/C/G: 235/seeticker/135

Height: 5'3"

Default

I agree with manda- I hope my post didn't upset anyone either. I know not everyone has the same access to healthy foods- but definitely IMO eating healthier takes a person being more involved in planning and preparing your food regardless.

I have a friend who grows a lot of her own produce, you know, just enough for her and her family, and usually a lot more- could that be a feasible option for anyone? Definitely gardening takes a lot of work but IMO it's good exercise and eating foods from your own yard rocks! We have different fruit trees at home and I love that I can just walk outside and pick from them I don't have time now but we used to grow all sorts of stuff, green beans, radishes, tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, etc.
__________________

Last edited by beerab : 12-08-2009 at 01:26 PM.
beerab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 01:54 PM   #35
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 131

Default

I believe general interest articles sometimes word things in a way that gets confusing, but the article doesn't say it costs 36 dollars a day (2000 calorie diet) to eat healthy, it says that it costs $18 dollars for 1000 calories of low energy density food. As the low energy density foods are fruits and vegetables, and are the foods people are usually missing from their diets to make them healthy, that is the relevance of this calculation. The foods that make our diets healthy (balanced and complete) are too expensive for many to buy.

As to if it really can cost 18 dollars for 1000 calories of vegetables, it is EXTREMELY possible.

I'm going to use frozen broccoli as an example, because I remember the approximate price and calories. And this is a CHEAP vegetable.

1 pound of frozen broccoli costs ~ 1.29 at my local cheap grocery chain, for the store brand.

85 grams , 30 calories per serving

454gm/pound divided by 85 grams = 5.3 servings

5.3 servings times 30 calories is 160 calories

divide 1000 calories by 165 (calories per pound) , multiply by 1.29 (cost per pound) you get $8

$8. For a cheap vegetable, at a cheap grocery chain, for the store brand. That price increases steeply from there if you get something more exotic, like bell peppers, or don't have a cheap local chain, etc.


How much is that if you ate 1 serving of broccoli a day in a week?

7 servings times 30 calories/serving * 8 dollars /1000 calories is $1.70 per week.

Doesn't seem like much, but thats just 1 serving of vegetables a day, right? And it's recommended we eat 5 servings of veggies a day. You can see the cost start to spiral.


I would also like to say that I live in a Boston suburb, and I don't know where our produce comes from, but it ain't local farms. And farmers markets around here cost MORE than the grocery store. I shop at a chain called market basket, which is local and "inexpensive". Stop&shop is more expensive, shaws/star market costs about 50% more, and whole foods charges in gold bullion. At least Trader Joe's has made a comfortable home around here, as it is only moderately more expensive than market basket for certain basics.
__________________
I'm on the "Eat-as-much-as-possible-while-still-losing-weight" diet. It's working.




Last edited by Tarisaande : 12-08-2009 at 02:00 PM.
Tarisaande is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 02:06 PM   #36
Senior Member
 
JulieJ08's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: California
Posts: 7,097

S/C/G: 197/135/?

Height: 5'7"

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarisaande View Post
I believe general interest articles sometimes word things in a way that gets confusing, but the article doesn't say it costs 36 dollars a day (2000 calorie diet) to eat healthy, it says that it costs $18 dollars for 1000 calories of low energy density food.
I agree! But it made no mention about what it costs to eat healthy, and strongly gave the impression that eating healthy costs that much.
__________________
Started 4/14/08 LINK TO PROGRESS PICS 1/1/2009
"It is impossible to live pleasurably without living wisely, well, and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely, well, and justly without living pleasurably" Epicurus
JulieJ08 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 02:16 PM   #37
Jessica, Becoming Me
 
garnetrising's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Fields of Glass
Posts: 487

S/C/G: 260 / 203 / 150

Height: 5' 6" | MG: 200

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieJ08 View Post
I agree! But it made no mention about what it costs to eat healthy, and strongly gave the impression that eating healthy costs that much.
I read it the same way Tarisaande, actually. That it was only addressing fruits and vegetables.
__________________
garnetrising is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 02:21 PM   #38
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 131

Default

Quote:
I agree! But it made no mention about what it costs to eat healthy, and strongly gave the impression that eating healthy costs that much.

That's what I'm referring to, how general interest articles reword things to make them sound like something they aren't. However the article does make this assertion, right at the beginning

quote: Calorie for calorie, junk foods not only cost less than fruits and vegetables

Being a general interest article, there is the spin that poor people eat more junk because it's cheaper, yadda yadda yadda.

The following quote includes both fact, from the survey, and general interest twisty-talk

quote: higher-calorie, energy-dense foods are the better bargain for cash-strapped shoppers. Energy-dense munchies cost on average $1.76 per 1,000 calories, compared with $18.16 per 1,000 calories for low-energy but nutritious foods

They combine the fact, that low energy density food is more expensive, with a throw-away "common knowledge" (but incorrect) statement that claims that the rest of the food out there that is cheaper is also junk food ("munchies"). When an individual reads such an article, their personal knowledge of food and nutrition will determine whether they take it at face value, or realize that they are mixing fact and fantasy in the same breath.
__________________
I'm on the "Eat-as-much-as-possible-while-still-losing-weight" diet. It's working.




Last edited by Tarisaande : 12-08-2009 at 02:23 PM.
Tarisaande is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 02:25 PM   #39
Just Me
 
nelie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 16,738

S/C/G: 364/202/182

Height: 5'6"

Default

What is also interesting about that study is the top 5 items in the cheap high energy density/'unhealthy' category are all fats including lard and olive oil. Of course olive oil is high energy density but I wouldn't lump it in the same category as lard.
__________________
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
nelie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 04:04 PM   #40
Senior Member
 
kaplods's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Wausau, WI
Posts: 13,282

S/C/G: SW:394/310/180

Height: 5'6"

Default

When it comes to eating healthier on a tight budget, it's not about being able to do everything that someone else is able to. It's finding a way to do better than you're doing now. Maybe you'll only save $1 a week. That's $1 you can spend on something else (and if you save it, it's $52 you get to spend every year). Maybe that $1 will inspire you to find another way to save another dollar. Maybe you can't save $1, but can save 25 cents.

When talking about food budget, it's about pennies before it's about dimes, before it's about dollars. But it's hard to look at the pennies, because even when you have very little money, it can seem like too much effort to put into saving so little. But truly, as the saying goes - if you watch your pennies, your dollars will take care of themselves.

I've eaten healthfully, weight-consciously (and not) on crazy-small budgets, and I've eaten poorly (as well as healthfully, weight-consciously) on a very generous budget - and probably every combination in between. I started collecting resources on eating and living cheaply (not always healthfully) when I was in college. I kept those books, even when I didn't need them - and when I needed them, I'd pull them out.

Eating without regard to health on a very generous budget, was the easiest. Hubby and I had good jobs. We worked hard, often long hours, and we ate in restaurants almost every day, because it was easiest and we could afford it (and we loved the hedonistic, "gourmet" lifestyle). Hubby can be a bit veggie-phobic so I'll only speak for myself. I wasn't getting short-changed on nutrition. I was eating mostly high-quality - even "healthy" foods, but too much of a good thing, isn't healthy. I ate a lot of veggies and fruits, but fat, sugar, and starch levels more than counteracted the healthfulness of the produce.

Eating healthfully on the crazy-small budget, was by far the most difficult. So difficult, it would have seemed impossible if I hadn't put a great deal of effort into studying the subject. It started with a book called "The Tightwad Gazette," that I bought at a garage sale. Then I began reading everything I could get my hands (er, eyes?) on - books, magazine articles, online articles... I searched on amazon.com -reading all the reviews and suggested reading lists and made a list of books I wanted to read. I checked them out from the library, ordering those that weren't there through interlibrary loan.

I found a way to own those that were the best resources. I'd put the books on my "wish list" at amazon and I printed out the list and took it with me to garage sales, thrift stores... or bought from amazon when I had the money (I never spent more than $5 for any of the books I bought - including shipping).

I tore articles and recipes out of magazines (if the magazine was mine) and copied them, if they weren't. I printed stuff I'd found online. During some of this time, I didn't have a computer of my own, but my sister would let me use her computer. I'd buy reams of paper for her (about $4) to offset the cost of the ink, and as a thank you (It was cheaper than paying 10 cents per page at the library, though sometimes I did that too).


If I hadn't collected all the eat-and-live-cheaply resources (over a span of about 25 years), I also would have said that losing weight on a healthy diet was impossible to do cheaply. I now believe it's possible to do almost anywhere IF you have the knowledge, the desire and the determination (and aren't picky or squeamish).

Some resources weren't very useful to me in terms of their specific tips - but did help me see that my situation was a lot better and easier than I'd imagined. Luckily, I've never had to resort to the advice in books such as

The Art & Science of Dumpster Diving by John Hoffman
or

How to Survive Without a Salary: Learning How to Live the Conserver Lifestyle by Charles Long


I believe it was the latter that advised even apartment dwellers to raise their own animals for food (pigeons on a rooftop, rabbits or guinea pigs in the basement or in an extra bedroom). Feeding them scavenged food from grocery store dumpsters.

I'm not willing to raise rodents in my home for food - but reading about it (and other equally strange ideas) did help me learn to think outside the box.

I do re-use ziplock bags (but don't wash them in the dishwasher - but maybe I should).

I try to always buy the cheapest option that is feasible (quality and preferences have to go into this equation - because an item that falls apart the day after you buy it, isn't the cheapest. If an object is useful, but you find it hideous, and hate it every time you see it, it's also not a bargain).

I save money on non-food items, to free up more food budget. I shop thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales, discount stores...

Do you have to read the thousands and thousands of pages of money-saving
ideas to live better, more cheaply (including diet-wise)?

Absolutely not. You start with one tip that sounds doable, and you do that. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference, because it's only one tip, but then you try another, and maybe another... and soon you're saving money (or you're getting more for your money).

Is it doable for everyone? Absolutely not! But, by reading all this stuff, there's not a person who couldn't come away with something useful.
__________________
My Etsy shop (currently closed for the summer)

http://www.dreamstormdesigns.etsy.com
etsy link by permission from 3fc! Want to add yours? Ask them!

Last edited by kaplods : 12-08-2009 at 04:07 PM.
kaplods is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 04:07 PM   #41
Senior Member
 
jendiet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: SC
Posts: 3,467

S/C/G: 211/see ticker/140

Height: 5'5"

Default

Paris, here's how to make a good pot of lentils.....

all you need is a bag of lentils
chicken broth or bouillon
rice (optional).

boil 8 cups of water to 1 bag lentils. 1 lb bag
when boiling add lentils, turn heat down
add chicken broth/bouillon or granules to taste.
cook lentils until tender. can vary. just after 10 min..keep testing.

when done, add to rice. brown rice is better but more expensive. Lentils are a good source of fiber and protein. If you make a lot ahead of time, it cuts down on your cooking time for your busy week. Lentils are kind of chewy when cooked "al dente".
__________________
My Weight Chart:
>
jendiet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 04:18 PM   #42
Senior Member
 
kaplods's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Wausau, WI
Posts: 13,282

S/C/G: SW:394/310/180

Height: 5'6"

Default

There are also a lot of threads here on saving money while dieting. Usually the Aldi discount grocery chain gets mentioned in them - so if you put Aldi in the search box, you'll find them (that doesn't mean you have to use the store, it just helps you find the threads that discuss saving money).
__________________
My Etsy shop (currently closed for the summer)

http://www.dreamstormdesigns.etsy.com
etsy link by permission from 3fc! Want to add yours? Ask them!
kaplods is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2009, 08:15 PM   #43
Senior Member
 
bacilli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 577

Height: 5'6"

Default

Of course there are differences in where you are and what you have available.

That being said, since we don't buy any meat products or dairy, our situation is a bit different than most people's. However here in Indiana, the closest Whole Foods/TJ's is an hour away, so we mostly shop at Kroger. I plan our meals around what is in season and what is on sale, and I freeze everything I can when I can find a good price. I blanched asparagus this spring, froze peppers from my garden for cooking, etc. And my "garden" was a 6ft by 2ft plot of dirt and several containers, we don't have a huge amount of land anymore. Our coat closet doubles as a pantry for when we make the trip to WF/TJ's and stock up on shelf stable items.

Eating healthy can be more expensive, but it doesn't have to be as expensive as that study shows - if you're able to eat in-season.

We probably spend less than $100/week to feed both of us and our dogs, including toiletries and the occasional meal out. We used to spend a LOT more than that when we bought Mt Dew, Doritos, pizza, etc.
bacilli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 05:23 AM   #44
Really maintaining now!
 
catherinef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 479

S/C/G: 375.6/low 160s maintaining

Height: 6'

Default

I was thinking about this thread while making dinner last night. I made an Indian stir-fried cabbage dish, and looking at my main ingredients, for produce, I had a head of cabbage (dead cheap) a large onion (again, pretty cheap) and three cloves of garlic (yup, cheap). The other ingredients were olive oil and spices.

I'm getting maybe three meals out of this dish, and looking at it, guess where the bulk of my calories are coming from? The olive oil. This is not an unusual kind of meal for me, and I do eat a huge amount of produce (vegetarian that I am), but I'm by no means consuming 1000+ calories worth of produce every day. I'm consuming the bulk of my calories in the stuff that accompanies the vegetables (grains and pulses and a bit of dairy, mainly), or the stuff I am using to prepare the vegetables (that would be the olive oil, at least in this case.) So, in my own particular case, a straight cash-for-calories comparison just doesn't hold. I'm actually eating pretty cheaply. No, good olive oil isn't cheap, but a bottle lasts me forever. A quid's worth of dried pulses or grains is a couple of meals. So, yes, produce is pretty darned expensive -- although frozen veggies can be pretty cheap -- but by buying in season and eating them with other, cheaper, more calorie-dense things, healthy eating isn't any more expensive for me than the alternative, and in a lot of ways, it's a fair bit cheaper.
__________________
Began 14 August 2008
Initial goal of 175 reached 5 July 2010
Goal reset to 160
Maintaining 160-165 since November 2010
catherinef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 07:58 AM   #45
I need more coffee.
 
DixieAmazon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Red Stick, LA
Posts: 135

S/C/G: 280/259/170

Height: 5'9"

Default

I love lenitl and spinach soup. You can skip the lemon (pricey sometimes) or use Real Lemon and skip the zest. I have used other veggies too.

Lentil Spinach Soup Recipe

2 med. onions
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 T. vegetable or olive oil
3 cups water
1 tsp. salt
8 ounces dried lentils (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 tsp. lemon juice
10 oz. spinach, chopped (about 4 cups) [or] 1 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Cook and stir onions and garlic in oil in 3 qt. saucepan over med. heat until onions are tender. Stir in water, salt and lentils. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice and spinach. Cover and simmer until spinach is tender, about 5 minutes. 4 servings (about 1 1/4 cups each. 260 calories per serving.)
__________________
Dennise with 2 n's


DixieAmazon is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice
and no guarantee is made against accuracy.


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:57 AM.






Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2