Friday, July 8, 2011

Who Said Healthy Food Costs Too Much?

I always read articles that say our obesity problem is linked to low socio-economic status.  These poor people with little money just can't afford to eat decent food.  Um, B.S.  Is it expensive to buy organic, or processed all natural products?  Yes.  Is it expensive to eat steak, many types of fish, and chicken breasts?  Yes, for the most part.  It is not expensive to buy fresh meats and produce.  If people buy in season, and buy less expensive cuts that may need more prep work or cooking time, there is no added expense.

The truth: People are lazy.  They can't be bothered to deal with a whole chicken, or trimming the fat of a cut of beef.  I went to the store last night with the goal of refilling our produce drawer.  Our neighbor has brought us several boxes and bags of produce recently from the food bank, but with 4 kids, it's gone in a very short time.  So for proof that buying produce in season isn't expensive, you can see what I purchased last night in the above photo. 
Here is the cost breakdown:
2 Jalapenos $.012
Romaine Lettuuce $0.88
2 Red Bell Peppers $1.00
1.4 lbs Roma Tomatoes $1.09
2 Nectarines (purchased because a twin grabbed and started eating one) $1.12
1 Cucumber $0.44
3 Ears of Corn $0.90
.54 lbs Green Beans $0.75
1.95 lbs Green Grapes $2.50
Grand Total: $9.24

Not even $10 for all of that.  And none of that is in season here yet, we had a late growing season, so this is all up from California.  I expect prices to drop further once we have local produce available.  How do you eat healthy on a budget?


Liz said...

I buy a lot of frozen veggies, and I'll buy in bulk and cut up what I don't plan on using right away and freeze it (stuff like carrots, etc.) I also buy a LOT of stuff in bulk--flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, etc. Most of those items have a markup based on the packaging and it is cheaper just to buy in bulk. I plan my meals a week (or two--I'm aiming for a month!) ahead of time so I know EXACTLY what I need, what snacks to have around, etc.

Danielle said...

I've never seen prices like that around here! wow!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I agree with you, it's not hard to eat healthy on a budget. Laziness is certainly a factor (I do find myself reaching for more convenient foods sometimes to save time), but I think think there is more. I think a huge factor is knowledge. I'm sure many of the poor are great cooks, but I know there are many people who don't know the first thing about cooking. Taking that one step further, do they realize that you can substitute ingredients in recipes; do they know how to cook dry beans; do they know how to make bread; do they know how to use their slow cooker? I think another factor is what we want. A $2 hamburger is tasty and easy. It's usually going to be more appealing than beans and rice—it really takes a huge shift in mindset for the simple, healthy, cheap foods to become more appealing.

Great topic!

Katrina said...

Wow it's obviously a lot cheaper there than here in Oz (mind you if I lived in the city near the markets it might be a different thing as I have friends that buy stuff real cheap) It would cost me a huge amount more than that to buy here at my only option which is my local supermarket