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It's Expensive to be Healthy

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
Usually when I go to the grocery store (which is rarely...I eat out most of the time unfortunately) I end up paying only $20-30 and that'll last me a week or so. Bagels, cream cheese, canned soup, deli meat, pop, frozen foods, etc. I want to eat healthier now but seriously, it is SOO expensive. This time I bought mostly from the fresh produce and meats sections and bought real juice and whole grain bread and it cost me $52, even though most of the stuff I bought was their flyer specials!!! To me, that's a LOT, more than twice what I usually spend. It's so much cheaper to just get a burger from Mickey D's.

I just think it's sad and kind of ironic that it costs more to be healthy here. Salads are usually the same price if not more than entries when you eat out, vegetarian entries are just as much if not more than meat. It's expensive to produce organic food here. Yet when I go back to China, I can get organic food for several times cheaper than in the grocery stores from independent farmers.

It's frustrating. :/
post #2 of 81
i agree! everyone says its so much cheaper to cook at home but i dunno.. i think they're really talking about feeding a family, where you can buy large amounts of things and in the end it'll be cheaper. if i buy everything i want in the smallest package available then i'll still spend around 40$ in one trip. but i don't have the time to always cook so i waste a lot of fresh stuff because it goes bad. i've found some alternatives to eating decent food and not spending too much.. pastas, asian foods (rice is cheap!), there are frozen salmon fillets that are about 2.50/2fillets. i dunno the nutritional content but its good with some steamed veggies and rice (easy to pack for lunch too). if you buy milk but never finish it on time, organic milk is a good investment. its more expensive than regular milk but lasts at least a month (as opposed to 1-2 weeks normally?)
for drinks (i don't buy soda.. mainly cause i don't like it that much) i love fresh minute maid lemonade (1.50/carton) and the dole orange juice mixes (2/carton).
post #3 of 81
Yeah, I dropped $120 at the store yesterday...I only buy for myself. That should last me about two weeks, but even still! That's a shitload of money.
post #4 of 81
I agree it is expensive to eat healthy. I always try to get the stuff that's on sale and plan my menus around that rather than plan the meals then get the stuff. With meat I try to stock up on stuff when it is on really good sale, even if it seems like you're getting too much food for 1-2 people it's cheaper in the long run. For me and my bf we spend about $65/week on groceries.

Also, I find it's better to go to the same store every week, you figure out how to get the good deals that way.
post #5 of 81
It is...but if you are serious about being healthy you get that money back tenfold in health care. Less trips to the Doc means more money in your pocket. The cheap foods have no nutritional value. They damage your body. Most people spend hundreds of dollars a month on Medical expenses and they have the diets to prove it. My step daughter's acne medications are like $300 a month. If she would stop eaitng crap she could cut at least half of them out, that would pay for her food.

Shopping at produce markets can save you lots on your veggies and fruits and meat markets are usually cheaper as well. Sam's always has good deals on fresh meats and their fruits are chepaer too.
post #6 of 81
I think if you can afford $200 jeans, you should be able to fit it somewhere in your budget.
post #7 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorPOOHbaby View Post
It is...but if you are serious about being healthy you get that money back tenfold in health care. Less trips to the Doc means more money in your pocket. The cheap foods have no nutritional value. They damage your body. Most people spend hundreds of dollars a month on Medical expenses and they have the diets to prove it. My step daughter's acne medications are like $300 a month. If she would stop eaitng crap she could cut at least half of them out, that would pay for her food.

Shopping at produce markets can save you lots on your veggies and fruits and meat markets are usually cheaper as well. Sam's always has good deals on fresh meats and their fruits are chepaer too.
quoted for emphasis
post #8 of 81
Seriously, when I was living alone and cooking for myself, I always ended up throwing so much stuff away because it goes bad so quickly. I gave up and just started eating lean cuisine for lunch, cooking pasta & some steamed broccoli for dinner...I swear I probably ate pasta like 3 times a week. I'm looking forward to living with a roommate and hopefully sharing food so that at least it doesn't go to waste.
post #9 of 81
amen poorpooh and mizta!

lemonade and minute maid, and other processed foods: not good for your body.

not saying that i am a saint, but it was my new year's resolution to cut down on processed foods. they just weren't meant to be eaten.
post #10 of 81
Thread Starter 
Guys, I understand that. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but I'm not trying to blame someone else for making unhealthy choices for my body and I would appreciate if you guys don't make comments or agree to comments about how I'm irresponsible for buying jeans. It's irrelevant. I wasn't complaining about not being able to afford food while buying a ton of jeans so don't try to imply that I'm irresponsible that way.

What I am saying is that it's sad and frustrating that PRICE-wise, "healthy" and natural food is more expensive than unhealthy processed foods. Things that are produced in a factory that require all these machines to make are cheaper than hand-grown vegetables, etc.
post #11 of 81
I find that I save more money when I eat healthy but that is just my situation. Sometimes you can really save money cooking from scratch but you need time and storage space for that. I freeze a lot of things after cooking.
post #12 of 81
Eating processed foods actually costs more than eating organic foods. The American government subsidizes corn and soy (which is used to make high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soy bean oil) and so basically, you're already paying for it with your tax dollars. I'm not sure how it is in Canada ... but I'm pretty sure it's similar.
post #13 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by azia View Post
What I am saying is that it's sad and frustrating that PRICE-wise, "healthy" and natural food is more expensive than unhealthy processed foods. Things that are produced in a factory that require all these machines to make are cheaper than hand-grown vegetables, etc.
Produce has always been more expensive because it is not ceap to grow things. The land is expensive, the people are expensive, the alternative pest controls, for organic, are expensive and the middle man stores take a chunk. To avoid that you can grow your own or shop at produce markets. You pay alot to the middle man, the grocery stores. Skip that part and save a bit. But you will save money on your health expenses in the long run.

It is frustrating when it comes time to pay the grocery bill, but by looking at the bigger picture and what you save in other areas because you buy good food it helps swallow the lump paying the grocery bill. I hope you didn't think I was blaming you for anything, I was just trying to give you alternatives and rationalization for the expense.
post #14 of 81
I try my best for my family to eat healthy and stay away from processed foods. That being said when I do the grocery shopping the cost can be absurd- produce, lean meats, organic, vegan etc. I undertand where you are coming from Azia. I will keep on paying the price for healthier choices because it has such an impact in the long run.
post #15 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorPOOHbaby View Post
Produce has always been more expensive because it is not ceap to grow things. The land is expensive, the people are expensive, the alternative pest controls, for organic, are expensive and the middle man stores take a chunk. To avoid that you can grow your own or shop at produce markets. You pay alot to the middle man, the grocery stores. Skip that part and save a bit. But you will save money on your health expenses in the long run.

It is frustrating when it comes time to pay the grocery bill, but by looking at the bigger picture and what you save in other areas because you buy good food it helps swallow the lump paying the grocery bill. I hope you didn't think I was blaming you for anything, I was just trying to give you alternatives and rationalization for the expense.
No, I wasn't offended by your comment at all. Just at the comment regarding jeans, I think that's completely irrelevant and rude.

This post is more so a commentary on the unfortunate reality of things. I guess that wasn't very clear.
post #16 of 81
Ahhhh, very good. Glad I didn't offend.

I agree with you, it is expensive. I've got 5 children, 2 full time, so I feel the pain as well.
post #17 of 81
^^Goodness. How do you do it!
post #18 of 81
I am very lucky to have been blessed with a brilliant husband. Plus they are girls and don't eat as much as boys would.
post #19 of 81
I only feed my cat organic food with no filler or protein. At $9 a bag it is far more expensive than grocery store cat food. However, because it is not filled with undigestable filler, he needs far less of it. In addition to that, he doesn't shit as much, because his body isn't having to process things it can't even use. If there is any extra fat on my kitty it must be under his toenails, cause I can't see it. You would be hard pressed to find a prettier, healthier seeming cat.

I see my cat as a great lesson in organics. When you eat something that is the best possible thing, you don't need to eat as much crap. One basket of "good" groceries may actually have the nutritional value of a cart full of standard.

I totally hear the wanting to vent about the prices though. It does just suck that a hand basket of groceries at whole foods can top $100 easily.
post #20 of 81
I have been saying this for years. I need to put my cats on organic. They are fat, lazy and they crap a LOT! They say that eating random brand dry cat food is like us eating nothing but potato chips all day. It's no wonder one of the little buggers weighs 18 lbs, he's a glutton but still....... Sad thing is I know better.
post #21 of 81
Just to tell the whole story, my cat does have genetics on his side, which is probably part of why his weight is so good. He is a $1000 pedigreed Singapura.

I also don't free feed. I give him food 3-5 times a day (more if he keeps biting me). I think the myth of free feeding is one of the worst things cat owners have ever been told.

I use a brand called "next to nature" for his dry food. Whole foods used to have their own brand of wet food that he loved, but they don't carry it any more. We alternate different kinds of wet food.

Oh...and I didn't really believe it about the shitting until I had to have him on grocery store food for a few days because I couldn't get to whole foods. Good grief...he ate twice as much and shit twice as much.
post #22 of 81
Agreed, and you also have a lovely little kitty!

My cats are like people, in that they are so different in regards to eating habits. One weighs 8 pounds, eats only when she needs it, one is 15 lbs and bulemic and the fatty bombatty is a lovable free feeder. LOL I feed them fish once every other day instead of wet food, which can cause teeth problems, if abused. And they get fish juice everyday becasue my husband eats salmon or tuna everyday. They are old and healthy, I just know I need to fix the food situation. We feed them IAMS so it's probably cheaper to go organic, I'm just stupid on this point.
post #23 of 81
Casey is right. My cats are persians/ himalayans, I feed Royal Canin and they are obese with hair, but underneath they are lean and fit! No fish ever b/c smelly poo!
As for people food, I eat a lot. 4/5,000 calories a day. I think once you get used to shopping for unprocessed food, it seems like it evens out. Just like anything, it's a pain in the ass until you get in a routine! So azia, don't give up...
post #24 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorPOOHbaby View Post
We feed them IAMS so it's probably cheaper to go organic, I'm just stupid on this point.
Ugh! IAMS gave my kitty crystals and serious urinary tract issues. You don't necessarily need to go organic. There are good brands out there made with higher quality ingredients. Some examples are Felidae (made with human grade ingredients), Wysong, Wellness.
post #25 of 81
To get back to the original question, I don't think it is much more expensive. We feed 2 adults and a baby (eats solids 3xday) for 350/month including a few bottles of wine. The key is seriously meal planning. We buy poultry and fish when it is on deep sale, divide it up into portions and freeze it individually in labelled ziplocks. Produce, frozen is just fine, much better than canned. We do frozen for things that are too expensive to buy fresh. We also shop a variety of places--I get our all natural pb at trader joe's, our fresh produce at the farmer's market, our spices at costco, etc...

I think some meal planning and some cooking experience can help you really stretch your budget. We also don't go crazy with the organic items, as I'm still in school. Once I have my M.D., we'll buy more organic items, as our income will increase.
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