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Can You Diet and Eat Healthy on a Budget?

Posted May 31 2010 3:24am

Subway Giftcard winners are: ‘Drea , Gloria Roberts, and Mamajuliana! ! Congratulations to the three of you!! I’ll email you today so we can get your $10 gift cards on their way. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Is it possible to save money on food while cutting back on calories?  Absolutely.  I am always concerned with the cost of food, services and miscellaneous items.  I am the keeper of the budget and our whole family works hard to keep our expenses down.  With a family of nine, you can be sure that food is a large part of our monthly expenses.  Especially considering that John and I are blessed with five growing boys.  People often complain to me that it costs more money to buy healthy food than junk food.  I can’t quote statistics on whether or not that’s actually true, but I can share my experiences with you. 

I think it’s important to focus on foods you can buy every week at the grocery store, not restaurant meals.  No matter what weight loss program you are following, you were probably initially told to get rid of the “bad” food in your pantry, and replace it with healthy alternatives.  However, once you got to the grocery store you probably couldn’t believe that apples were $1.39 a pound and a little bag of baby carrots costs $1.99.  Those chicken breasts were $1.97 a pound!   You can’t afford that!  Or can you?  Look at this list:

  • Cost of 11 ounces of  Potato Chips – $3.21
  • 14.5 ounce Oreo cookie package – $2.75 (on sale!)
  • 16 oz. Powdered Sugar Donuts – $2.19
  • 12 oz. box Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal – $3.39
  • 48 oz Canola oil (Kroger brand) – $3.99
  • 12 pack can Coke – $3.33 (on sale)
  • 1 package Nestle Toll House dough – $2.50 (on sale)
  • 1 pound sirloin steak $4.99

Okay, now what’s expensive?  Prepackaged food that has very little nutritional value, or wholesome fruits and vegetables?  Expensive steaks, or chicken breast on sale?  Why is it that when I was overweight I thought nothing of spending $2 – 3 dollars on a bag of chips, but balked at spending the same amount of money on a bag of apples?  Why was it okay to buy the $2.50 one pound bag of M&M’s that I would eat in an afternoon, but refused to spend the same amount of money on fresh veggies?

For me, I didn’t value the fruits and vegetables as much as I did the junk.  The junk was fast, available and made me feel good when I ate it.  The fruit was fruit.  Salad was salad.  It had no pizzazz and I gained no emotional comfort from eating healthy food.  I wanted junk and junk I got.  As I gained more and more weight over the years, I ate less and less healthy foods.  I was careful with the kids diets – they ate good foods, but I didn’t.  I thought I couldn’t afford to buy enough apples and grapes for all of us, so I’d just eat cookies. :)

I used money to justify my bad choices, when in reality I was spending much more than I needed to buy purchasing foods that weren’t healthy.  Do you do the same thing and occasionally try to blame your food purchases on budget restraints? I’d encourage you to look closely at how much you are spending each week on food that doesn’t fill you up, and next time you are at the grocery story, do a little comparing of your own.  

What are your thoughts about the cost of healthy foods?   Diane

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