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Sticker Shock

All of the doctors and nutritionists say the same thing.  Eat more fruts and veggies.  I agree, we absolutely should.  I usually feel better and have more eneregy when I do, and I can tell the kids and hubby are more agreeable when they have a balanced diet with llimited processed foods and  more fresh foods. 

 So today was grocery day.  We like to go together as a family, it gets us out of the house, (my husband works from home as do I), and so it is an event.  We get all bundled up with all the kids, and I take my list, my coupons, and the flyer for Kroger, and off we go. 

I am so excited because they are having a BIG sale on produce, tons of stuff 10 for 10, and strawberies and blueberries are 4 for 5.  So we get a good amount of fresh foods, I get all of the items I need for dinner, a few snacks, (we are trying to limit this for everyone's sake), all the things for breakfasts and lunches, diapers, baby food, dog food, and a couple of house hold things.  Nothing crazy, nothing out of the ordinary and most of all, NOTHING EXTRA.  

My budget $250

The cost...........$316!!!!!

How is it right, that to feed a family of 6 for a week, healthy, it should be that expensive?  With everyone in the media saying how healthy we should be eating, our kids need to cut out processed foods and sugar, but then to have all of those good things add up to so much, how is it possible for american families to feed themselves as we should?  It is no wonder people are overweight in this country.  It is much cheaper to buy a bag of chips, than it is a bag of oranges.  And trust me, I compared.  Oranges, $3.99, Chips $1.50.  How unreal is that?  Soda, for a 12 pack, was $3.00, and milk for the gallon and a half that we go through just with the twins, $5.00 total. 

So I have a few theories.  The grocery stores sell processed and fattning foods cheaply.  There is less demand for healthy because hey, a doughnut TASTES better than an apple, right?  We all get fat eating the yummy but unhealthy food.  We spend money on the diet industry trying to lose the weight,  the diet industry thrives on fat people who want to lose weight.  The grocery store makes oodles of money on us changing to healthy food.  We then get tired of spending so much money on healthy food becaus it is so stinkin expensive, and doesn't taste as good as.....you guessed it.  The doughnut.  So we buy the doughnut, and the cycle begins again.  

All of that to say this....until the food industry starts making it as cheap and easy to buy healthy, this is a battle that will go on and on.  

That and doughnuts just have to stop tasteing so freaking good!

30 votes + -

31 comments:

stephanielindsey wrote 127 months ago:
I definitely feel your pain there! I've compromised and do one frozen veggie a night and one fresh one. Since I also do one green veggie and one not green veggie (that is also not potato ;), this makes for a fun and interesting challenge of mix and match.
queenabb wrote 127 months ago:
Do you have any local farmer's markets or butchers? That how we save a ton of money. That's really the only way that we can afford to eat healthily because it is so expensive.
hlholleran wrote 127 months ago:
I feel ya. One other option is to try a CSA: http://www.localharvest.org/search-csa.jsp?lat=40.102573&lon=-83.11482&scale=12&ty=6&co=1&nm=

We're going to do this, again. I *think* it comes out to be cheaper in the long run, it just hurts to pay out of pocket up front. :(
jjohnboy2000 wrote 127 months ago:
It's good to know that we are not alone in the UK on that side of things. My food bill has gone up just because I want to be healthy.

The Government is making cutback to our National Health service, but the number of obese people is on the increase. More obesity, more sick people. Make the unhealthy foods more expensive and the healthy cheaper, fitter & healthier population, and less of a burden on the health service.

Simples really!
chantellryksen wrote 127 months ago:
Here in South Africa we have the same problem But food in general is getting expensive I personally am trying to grow my own vegetables and have 2 fruit trees. the health industry is expensive we eat cheap witch means fat and carbs and all unhealthy things it is a bad cycle and I don't think we can stop it, except if we start doing for ourself, grow your own where ever posable
sjv1966 wrote 127 months ago:
Here in Chicago I buy all my produce from my local Mexican-owned grocery store and it is WAY cheaper. I don't know if that is an option for you but after shopping there I am amazed at what a difference it makes over big chain grocery stores. For example, grape tomatoes that cost $2.99 at the chain are $1.29 at my local store. Green peppers that are $0.99 EACH at the chain are $0.69 a pound at my local store.

Not only is the produce cheaper but there is more variety.

Personally I have found farmer's market food to be more expensive but that could just be my local situation.

One final thought -- one reason why junk food is cheaper than vegetables is that the U.S. government subsidizes commodity prices for things like corn and wheat. Here is an article about it

http://www.kens5.com/news/consumer/You-are-what-you-subsidize-Junk-food-getting-plenty-of-taxpayer-help-136398333.html

There are people trying to change and I hope it will change but in the meantime, look for a local produce store. For me it means making two trips since I still have to get some things at the regular store but the price difference is worth it.
jmvh59 wrote 127 months ago:
My wife and I have started buying more fruits and vegetables and we haven't noticed a huge upswing in our grocery bills. We are definitely eating a lot less than we were. I have noticed that with eating natural foods, I feel fuller eating less. I also consume a ton of fiber and try to drink two quarts of water each day, which may help me to feel full.

A banana, cut up into a bowl of greek yogurt and granola usually does me for breakfast. Lunch can be spread out among several snacks or eaten in one sitting: Two apples, two oranges, four string cheeses, and a sandwich bag of cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and mini carrots with some ranch dip home mixed from low fat mayo and sour cream for dipping are typical for me. Dinner is usually 4 oz of chicken, fish or pork, pan seard (and baked if necessary) and served alongside a large serving of veggies. That meal has approx 1 tbs of butter per person, which adds some flavor. 350ish calorie dinner and it hits the spot.

Growing kids eat a LOT, so you've got to come up with things for them to snack on. Raisins, peanuts and m&ms mixed together are pretty inexpensive yet filling. You can control the amount of each ingredient as well. Don't give up hope and good luck!
SheriRuth wrote 127 months ago:
If you have Sprouts there, their produce is wonderful, often much cheaper than Kroger or other grocery stores and on Wednesdays you get to purchase at the prices from the fliers from both the past week and the week coming up.

Wal-Mart will match prices on anything from any other store's flier for the week. It makes it an easy one stop shopping trip if you just take the fliers from all the other stores with you there and get the sale prices all in one place.

mizpaden74 wrote 127 months ago:
"That and doughnuts just have to stop tasteing so freaking good!" Amen!!!! Heh!!!
lily1972 wrote 127 months ago:
Here in Canada the grocery bill has gone up quite a bit too! It IS very expensive to feed a large family but the worst is me with the protein supplements I added to maintain my new lifestyle (I have achieved "maintenance" status and find it quite harder to manage than losing weight- believe it or not). I definitely try to get most of the items on my list on sale and opt for seasonal produce (winter is long here) as much as possible and cook from scratch most of the time to make ends meet. It's indeed quite frustrating! :-/
Colleen268 wrote 127 months ago:
I have seen my bill do that as well. If you can, plan out your meals for the week, and go by a strict list. If you are the type to make spontaneous purchases, use peapod for stop and shop. They deliver your groceries, still use sales, coupons, etc, and they even give you 5 dollars off. Anytime I have used peapod, I didnt make any spontaneous purchases and the bill came out lower.
WANT2BFITATLAST wrote 127 months ago:
It is just the same in the UK, our healthy food is too expensive and the rubbish is cheap, either they want us healthy or they don't.
tonymcgurk1 wrote 127 months ago:
It's all about money. If they wanted us healthy they would change the way they market healthy food & do something about the high prices.
StrongGwen wrote 127 months ago:
partly it is the power of the media--who advertises the most? the big companies who make the processed foods, and since the ingredients include some "real" food and lots of chemicals, processed foods are not as expensive to make. They advertise like crazy, which means more sales, which means more money to create more processed foods! Also blame us, for not paying any attention to portion sizes. I mean really, who opens a bag of microwave popcorn and only eats 1/3? You pretty much eat the whole bag, right? Yummy, yummy and then it's time to make more. Sugar is truly an addictive substance, and just look at how many things it's added to. Try to find bread without added sugar as an ingredient, or canned vegetables, or frozen fruit. It's a plot alright, but not to make us all fat--that's just a byproduct. It's about making money.
lexgem wrote 127 months ago:
To be fair I'm guessing the dog food will last more than a week and the diapers too... Those things are expensive!
1a1a wrote 127 months ago:
And here I thought the junk food was cheap because it is full of heavily subsidised sugar.
1a1a wrote 127 months ago:
But yep, regardless, agree, the not so good for you, hyper-palatable, highly processed foods do tend to be cheaper and less effort to cook. Subsidise fresh food, could be an idea :-)
ARDuBaie wrote 127 months ago:
First, the agricultural industry is subsidized for wheat, corn, and sugar cane, all those things that are used in making processed foods. Thus, those foods cost less. The milk industry is also subsidized.

Many of the foods, like that yogurt in a tube, are made mostly from chemicals and a bit of corn, corn syrup, or wheat. The food industry can make many things with chemical flavorings cheaply.

Since the majority of Americans put a good part of their paycheck down for processed foods, this will not change. It is not that vegetables and fruits are more expensive that keeps people from buying them. It is because processed foods, loaded with sugar, fat, high fructose corn syrup, and salt, are more tasty. Thus, people buy more of these things.

Vegetables and fruits are not subsidized. Since most people don't buy these things, the price has to be inflated to make up for low sales and spoilage loss.

Now, if we can get the government to put their (our) money where their mouth is, they should be subsidizing fruits and vegetables instead of the other things. This would possibly make the cost of processed foods go up and the price of healthy food to go down.

Alas, we can't get the government to come to a decision on even the little things, so how could we get them to make a major decision such as this. Additionally, agricultural and food industry lobbyists have the government twisted around their little fingers, making it difficult to change the status quo.
gatewaycropper wrote 127 months ago:
Yes, if you want to eat healthy you've got to be willing and able to pay the price. I have three boys and let me tell you, if I'm eating a grapefruit, they want one too! I've gotten rid of all the "junk" food in the house except those I really detest (I'm not tempted by those) and it's REALLY expensive to keep the fruit in the house! I just bite the bullet, try to keep my eye open for a good deal, use my local farmers market when possible (which is a 30 minute drive for me) When you take out all the eating out and going out to fast food restaurants, though, there may be a little extra for groceries anyway. Just a thought. If we really want to loose the weight we must stop using the government as as excuse, stop using the junk food, our kids, our bad knees etc. Just go out there and prove we can make with even with all the hardships placed in our way! Read the Twinkie Diet. If you want to loose weight it's really all about the calories, if you want to "get healthy" I would not recommend the Twinkie Diet!
KFuerst27 wrote 127 months ago:
When it comes to fresh fruits and veggies, please keep in mind that farmers are entitled to earn a living wage, especially our local farmers. I have known many farmers through the years, and when your business is direct selling fresh produce, you are at the mercy of the weather. Late freeze? There might go the strawberries. A late summer hail storm? How'd the tree fruit survive? Too much late spring rain? Are they able to plant their crops when they need to? My sister's in-laws in Massachusetts lost their Christmas trees, blueberry bushes and more in a freak tornado that devastated their farm and others. Also keep in mind that even as the price of things like seeds, fuel to power the tractors, insurance, etc. rise, we still expect our food to stay the same and be cheap. If farmers can't pay their bills, they're out of business, and there goes another farm that'll likely be plowed under for another subdivision.

I do feel your pain, because there are not often coupons for produce and the grocery bill does tend to be higher. Good luck with your shopping!
Just1forMe wrote 127 months ago:
I know exactly how you feel! No one is going to convince me that it isn't more (way more) expensive to buy healthy & fresh foods! I buy very little junk food or treats and my kids love fresh berries and fruit, but they eat twice as much when it's fruit over chips...not a bad thing at all, just EXPENSIVE!! I'd love to know in what parts of the country farmers markets are LESS expensive than the grocery stores. They are crazy here. Many of them are people selling out of their own gardens and they want $6 for a watermelon and $1 per tomato??
It's a lot of work and a lot of comparison shopping to keep the food bills down...in the long run it's worth it, if you can afford it!
maycasson wrote 127 months ago:
Same situation here in Australia. I love fruits and went through a stage of buying them everyday and then I became flat broke. I wish it were cheaper to eat healthily just because, I really do prefer fresh foods.
ltaylor9597 wrote 127 months ago:
I hear ya on that one! I have a family of 5 and our grocery bill is easily around $200 - $250. My husband somehow thinks we can feed the family on $150 a week! I have yet to figure out how to pull that off while eating healthy! Things we have done to help - during the spring/summer we grow whatever veggies we can (tomatoes, green beans, carrots, lettuce, herbs) and one of our local farms opens up for people to come in and purchase produce there as well. During the fall/winter I resort to frozen/canned items with limited fresh produce. The fresh stuff is typically lettuce for salads, carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, tomato, fruits and sometimes some squash. I buy the carrots in bulk which helps and buy frozen veggies in bulk. It has definitely gotten bad. Especially bad for those of us having to stay on a budget. I think everyone understands it is the "price you pay" to eat healthy, but, that doesn't make the hit on the pocket book for larger families much easier to swallow!
vjrose wrote 127 months ago:
I live in an area where pretty much everything costs more except in the summer when we can hit the outdoor markets. So, we shop in several stores. Costco has been an amazing help, apples, potatoes, spinach, onions, peppers. All mainstays for us and all way cheaper. You will have to some legwork and realize that shopping is going to a bit longer. We have a Fred Meyer here (Kroger on the West Coast) and often they are higher, especially on Fruits and vegetables which are oh so close to the door, lol.
sdrawkcabynot wrote 127 months ago:
Have you considered starting your own little garden? I know it's not the season now - but seems like something that would be fun for the whole family.

When I was a kid - we lived on 1.2 acres and the very back part of the land was dedicated to gardening. I still hate corn to this day because we had so much of it! But also had green beans, tomatoes, jalapenos, black eyed peas, cucumbers, cantaloupe, squash and we tried water melons. All done in a garden that was maybe 50ft x 30ft.

If you do that however - I suggest you have a stand alone freezer!
cassondraragan wrote 127 months ago:
I have had to start going to Save-a-lot to get all my canned veggies (49 cents a can)cleaning supplies, baking goods, yogurts,toiletries, some cheeses, frozen veggies, and even some of their produce. I usually spend there about $60 to $80. I've cross-compared and what I get at Save-a-lot would cost me $180-$200 easily at Kroger. Then I go to kroger to get the things not available at Save-a-lot (like lean ground meats, whole wheat tortillas, light sour cream, protein bars for the hubby, and milk b/c its cheaper at kroger for some reason!) I end up spending the same amount or More at Kroger for those few items than I did for a whole buggy full of items at Save-a-lot.
beesareyellow wrote 127 months ago:
Another Canadian here. In the winter EVERYTHING has to be imported, which make things very expensive. But, frozen fruit and veg can be just as good or even better nutritionally as it is picked at it's prime and frozen on location.It is way cheaper than fresh in the winter. We get fresh if it is well priced( on sale) and good quality. In the summer, the local farmers markets have amazing deals, so we buy seasonal whenever we can.A few years ago, we discovered that the shops in Chinatown had the most amazing prices on fresh produced we had ever found. As it is downtown and we live in the burbs, we don't often get a chance to go, but when we do we load up. Also, if you have ethnic food stores in your area, you should really give them a try. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern shops are usually brimming with fresh produce at amazing prices. All in all, we try to stay away from the large chains unless there is a sale, they are the least competitively priced in most cases.
cassondraragan wrote 127 months ago:
Not to say in isn't completely exhausting and annoying to haul two kids to two different stores, but you gotta do what ya gotta do to make the budget work :)
Hoppymom wrote 127 months ago:
Sam's Club has great food prices. To me your bill is extremely high no matter where you shop. Farmer's markets around here (central MN)are only May through October and very high in price compared to the stores. I buy fresh fruits and veggies twice a week in the stores. Yes, it is a little more expensive to eat healthy but not as much as the cost of health care if you aren't staying healthy due to poor nutrient intake and obesity related illnesses. Plus healthy fresh foods just taste better.
auroranflash wrote 127 months ago:
Just an FYI, the BF and I have a saying about Kroger. There's a "$40 entrance fee" just for walking through the door. We go in for a few things and end up walking out with no less than $40 almost every time. Even though Kroger is convenient, there is a Food Town on the way home for me. If I remember, I will stop in and load up on produce there, and meat if it looks good, and save the Krogering for convenience purchases since it is closer. I am able to get a whole cart full of groceries at Food Town for what would be twice as much at Kroger.

We live in Texas, and the hispanic stores - Food Town and Fiesta, etc - always seem to have way better prices than Randall's, Kroger, or even HEB. Any time I want to stock up on veggies, Food Town is the place. If you have any alternate stores, I suggest trying them out, and only going to Kroger if you have to. Either that, or take up extreme couponing like those crazy ladies on TLC.... :)
LovinLifeChik wrote 127 months ago:
I feel your pain. It's just my husband and I and my weekly bills run between $100 and $125 a week. It's just sad. But with inflated gas prices, it's no wonder that getting fresh produce ANYWHERE is so expensive. I help run a local farmers' market in the summer in WNY, and I agree that fresh produce and healthier local foods are usually a bit higher in price. But personally, I decided I would rather know where my produce was coming from and who grew it and what they were spraying on it! You will also know that your product is much fresher when you buy from local farmers! I am figuring that as I eat better, and lose weight, I will eat less, and in the end I'll end us paying the same or a little less buying the healthier food. Time will tell!

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