Wish fresh veggies weren't so expensive

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Replies

  • wellthenwhat
    wellthenwhat Posts: 526 Member
    th1nr wrote: »
    I think there is the problem, not necessarily in OP's case but pertaining to eating healthy while under the poverty line, where what people think is affordable is actually extremely far from being affordable. For example, in my search for budget friendly recipes I've come across so many food blogs that consider $10 a day to be cheap, and that's just so lavishly unbelievable for so many people. Not everyone who needs food stamps has them; also the blogs I've seen "demonstrating" that you can eat healthily on a food-stamp budget usually don't make enough food for a person to live on (and for someone not trying to lose weight, 1300 calories is not enough to be healthy long-term). Honestly, when I was struggling, even $4 a day was more than twice of what I had for food. My point is that it's often not even a matter of "desire, time and resources." It's a matter of choosing between starvation and obesity, with nothing in between and malnourishment either way.

    For the record, a sleeve of poptarts is about 400 calories, which is a meal.

    So true. When I was going to college (as an adult student), I was budgeting $35 a month for food. Everything else from my job (part-time, because school) went to rent, electricity, bus pass, school books, etc. I mostly lived off of frozen burritos (8 to a bag, bags were ~$3 apiece, so about $0.38 a meal.) Which aren't the WORST food, but the point is it wasn't even a matter of me choosing food for it's health value, it was "what is cheapest in this store that will fill me up?".
    That's kinda where I am at the moment. Except I have a 6 year old, too. I have a little money, but most is going toward buying a home in the future.

  • th1nr
    th1nr Posts: 42 Member
    th1nr wrote: »
    kenyonhaff wrote: »
    Yeah guys, this can be a real issue with families in poverty at least in the US. Or, even if not in abject poverty, there are "food deserts" where there is a store, but no access to a lot of fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables (think Family Dollar). It's easy to criticise, but if money is tight in the budget food that's expensive, perishable, and the kids whine about eating it anyway are often the first to get cut.
    "Food deserts" is blown out of proportion. Not eating healthy is a lot more about not being able/willing to plan meals, never having learnt how to shop and cook, and fear of trying new things or choosing the path of least resistance. Oh, and constantly being told about food deserts and how expensive healthy food is.

    It's definitely NOT blown out of proportion. Not having a car can make even a couple of miles insurmountable. I currently live in a city and rely on public transport. Technically there are many grocery stores within a five mile radius but all require at least a mile of walking. It's very time consuming so I can't go every week and walking carrying two weeks of groceries is difficult. I mean I can do it because I'm young and energetic but someone older, busier, or who has to shop for more than one person would really struggle.

    We just moved from a college town and it was the norm to see college students pushing carts down the sidewalk with groceries-either the ones you can buy, or they just took them from the store (you'd see carts lined up in front of the apartments, which was kind of funny lol). This is the style that most of them use and I have something similar for when I go to the farmers market in the summer https://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-Deluxe-Rolling-Utility-Shopping/dp/B001DZ4QTC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1489424775&sr=8-3&keywords=grocery+cart.

    Back in the day, when my oldest was a baby, I didn't always have a car so I'd push the stroller to the grocery store and strategically place groceries in it. You do what you got to do :)

    There's a difference between pushing a cart down the street and hiking multiple miles in inclement weather through unsafe neighborhoods (uphill both ways)

    My point is that food deserts are a well documented and studied problem in the US. Just because something's not an issue for you doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
  • crzycatlady1
    crzycatlady1 Posts: 1,930 Member
    th1nr wrote: »
    th1nr wrote: »
    kenyonhaff wrote: »
    Yeah guys, this can be a real issue with families in poverty at least in the US. Or, even if not in abject poverty, there are "food deserts" where there is a store, but no access to a lot of fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables (think Family Dollar). It's easy to criticise, but if money is tight in the budget food that's expensive, perishable, and the kids whine about eating it anyway are often the first to get cut.
    "Food deserts" is blown out of proportion. Not eating healthy is a lot more about not being able/willing to plan meals, never having learnt how to shop and cook, and fear of trying new things or choosing the path of least resistance. Oh, and constantly being told about food deserts and how expensive healthy food is.

    It's definitely NOT blown out of proportion. Not having a car can make even a couple of miles insurmountable. I currently live in a city and rely on public transport. Technically there are many grocery stores within a five mile radius but all require at least a mile of walking. It's very time consuming so I can't go every week and walking carrying two weeks of groceries is difficult. I mean I can do it because I'm young and energetic but someone older, busier, or who has to shop for more than one person would really struggle.

    We just moved from a college town and it was the norm to see college students pushing carts down the sidewalk with groceries-either the ones you can buy, or they just took them from the store (you'd see carts lined up in front of the apartments, which was kind of funny lol). This is the style that most of them use and I have something similar for when I go to the farmers market in the summer https://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-Deluxe-Rolling-Utility-Shopping/dp/B001DZ4QTC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1489424775&sr=8-3&keywords=grocery+cart.

    Back in the day, when my oldest was a baby, I didn't always have a car so I'd push the stroller to the grocery store and strategically place groceries in it. You do what you got to do :)

    There's a difference between pushing a cart down the street and hiking multiple miles in inclement weather through unsafe neighborhoods (uphill both ways)

    My point is that food deserts are a well documented and studied problem in the US. Just because something's not an issue for you doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    I live in Michigan and yes, people drag carts through the snow (a few of the more creative ones actually load their groceries up on sleds during the winter months). And hiking/walking isn't exactly a bad thing, so not sure why that would be considered a negative?

    There's always options/choices, most people just don't want to make the effort though. That goes for all things in life, not just what people are eating.
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,860 Member
    Rosyone wrote: »
    The "economy" grocery store that caters to college students and low-income shoppers in my town is mostly in the business of selling cheap generics and off brand products. They're fairly competitive on potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomatoes, and also milk and eggs, but their green vegetables are usually the highest priced in town - much higher in some cases. Broccoli is usually at least a dollar per pound higher than at either of the other two grocery stores in town and rarely looks good. They don't sell enough of it for it to stay fresh. And I've never seen asparagus or Brussels sprouts in there at any price, or bell peppers in any color other than green. Or fresh spinach, which is one of my staples when I'm restricting calories. They're also relatively expensive on the better known national brands of frozen vegetables, and on name brand products in general. Someone who shops there and only there could be forgiven for thinking that vegetables are expensive locally and that processed foods are cheap. The other two grocery stores in town have fairly decent store brands but don't pack their aisles with trashy off brands, and both of them have much larger selections of fresh and frozen produce. Their vegetables are cheaper almost across the board and even the processed foods are less expensive for the quality you get.

    My usual store (Price Rite) is largely generic/off-brand products (which I happily buy) at a fraction of the price of name brand or generic at the larger local supermarket chains (Tops & Wegmans). (I think the only name brand items I buy there are Cabot 2% greek yogurt-equivalently priced to generic, Smuckers sugar free preserves, and Goya dried beans). Their produce is cheaper than at Tops or Wegmans and decent quality. I usually only stop at Wegmans now for Rotisserie chickens (which are delicious, and I get at least 11 servings out of 1 of those $5 chickens), Clif bars ($11/box of 12 or $1.09/single bar), and paper products. I think the club packs of chicken thighs might be slightly cheaper at Wegmans than Price Rite.
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,576 Member
    edited March 2017
    I made myself a delicious carrot/broccoli/cauliflower cooked veggie combo and had some for breakfast. But for what it cost me I could have bought 3 huge bags of sugar cereal that would last me several months vs a week. It's sad. :D

    If you are going to cook them anyway go with frozen. It's much cheaper and just as nutritious, sometimes more so.

    Edit: You should also consider growing some of your own vegetables. Even in a small apartment you can grow some in containers.
  • bbell1985
    bbell1985 Posts: 4,572 Member
    For the calorie amount fresh fruit and veg ARE more expensive. I hate how people say they aren't. If I buy some junk food donuts 1.69 (for pack of 6 at 320 cal per doughnut) and box of cereal (1.69 with 12 servings) that would easily last me 2 weeks of 500-600 calorie breakfasts. HOWEVER, if I buy 4 fresh bell peppers (4.00), one lb broccoli (2 bucks), one large tomato (2), I could eat ALL of that in ONE day and it wouldn't even amount to the same calorie amount of "fuel". So YES eating fresh fruit and veg is more expensive than eating junk because you have to buy A LOT more to get the same calorie amount of fuel.

    But that is such an unreasonable way to compare foods (far beyond apples vs oranges). It doesn't even make sense, as the main problem with modern diets is too many calories. You don't buy vegetables to get calories, but to get vitamins, minerals and fiber. Normal people don't fill up on fruit and veg.

    I fill up on veg. I actually do spend quite a bit of money on vegetables.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    th1nr wrote: »
    th1nr wrote: »
    kenyonhaff wrote: »
    Yeah guys, this can be a real issue with families in poverty at least in the US. Or, even if not in abject poverty, there are "food deserts" where there is a store, but no access to a lot of fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables (think Family Dollar). It's easy to criticise, but if money is tight in the budget food that's expensive, perishable, and the kids whine about eating it anyway are often the first to get cut.
    "Food deserts" is blown out of proportion. Not eating healthy is a lot more about not being able/willing to plan meals, never having learnt how to shop and cook, and fear of trying new things or choosing the path of least resistance. Oh, and constantly being told about food deserts and how expensive healthy food is.

    It's definitely NOT blown out of proportion. Not having a car can make even a couple of miles insurmountable. I currently live in a city and rely on public transport. Technically there are many grocery stores within a five mile radius but all require at least a mile of walking. It's very time consuming so I can't go every week and walking carrying two weeks of groceries is difficult. I mean I can do it because I'm young and energetic but someone older, busier, or who has to shop for more than one person would really struggle.

    We just moved from a college town and it was the norm to see college students pushing carts down the sidewalk with groceries-either the ones you can buy, or they just took them from the store (you'd see carts lined up in front of the apartments, which was kind of funny lol). This is the style that most of them use and I have something similar for when I go to the farmers market in the summer https://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-Deluxe-Rolling-Utility-Shopping/dp/B001DZ4QTC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1489424775&sr=8-3&keywords=grocery+cart.

    Back in the day, when my oldest was a baby, I didn't always have a car so I'd push the stroller to the grocery store and strategically place groceries in it. You do what you got to do :)

    There's a difference between pushing a cart down the street and hiking multiple miles in inclement weather through unsafe neighborhoods (uphill both ways)

    My point is that food deserts are a well documented and studied problem in the US. Just because something's not an issue for you doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    They are. The numbers are also not that terribly high -- which doesn't mean they aren't a public policy issue (they are, and I am supportive of the various things being done in my city to try and address the issue). And more significantly for this thread, they also aren't the main issue for obesity or nutrition -- most obese people in the US don't live in food deserts, and the US consumption of vegetables is on average ridiculously low (and diet is on average too many calories and not all that healthful), despite the fact that most don't live in food deserts.

    So I agree that food deserts are an issue, but I don't really see it as relevant to the thread.

    I also think a bigger issue (because where I live there are places that would be considered food deserts, but there's also decent public transportation) is probably that people are tired and want what is convenient or see some high cal foods and the like as an easy pleasure or don't know how to cook more complicated foods or maybe have a shortage of cooking space/equipment. Just focusing on stores misses the point (and misses why many don't immediately start buying the whole food options when they become more available).

    I don't think being 1 mile from a good grocery is that big a deal (I usually walk a mile to my preferred grocery and don't think it's a big thing--I also often take public transportation one way and walk home, including in snow, and could take public transportion both ways. I am not in a food desert, but I wanted to address the claim that that in and of itself was some big burden. I am not denying that food deserts can be a problem. On the other hand, I think being in a big city where it's not assumed you will drive everywhere can be a reason why people are more active and therefore good for us.)
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,521 Member
    I made myself a delicious carrot/broccoli/cauliflower cooked veggie combo and had some for breakfast. But for what it cost me I could have bought 3 huge bags of sugar cereal that would last me several months vs a week. It's sad. :D

    Unfortunately, I totally agree. I think the advice about buying frozen off-season is right on. When they go on sale, frozen can be very economical, and I think the nutrition is right there withe fresh. Things like salad greens and tomatoes are always pricy, as are many other great veg., Particularly off season.
  • wellthenwhat
    wellthenwhat Posts: 526 Member
    I made myself a delicious carrot/broccoli/cauliflower cooked veggie combo and had some for breakfast. But for what it cost me I could have bought 3 huge bags of sugar cereal that would last me several months vs a week. It's sad. :D

    If you are going to cook them anyway go with frozen. It's much cheaper and just as nutritious, sometimes more so.

    Edit: You should also consider growing some of your own vegetables. Even in a small apartment you can grow some in containers.
    I do. My apartment is hard to grow in because it's a basement, and pretty cold most of the year, but I do have a garden.
  • lisacf04
    lisacf04 Posts: 4 Member
    It is disheartening when you are trying to eat healthy and it's so much more expensive. Fruit and veggies cost more and spoil faster lol. Have any of you found that farmers markets are cheaper?
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,576 Member
    I made myself a delicious carrot/broccoli/cauliflower cooked veggie combo and had some for breakfast. But for what it cost me I could have bought 3 huge bags of sugar cereal that would last me several months vs a week. It's sad. :D

    If you are going to cook them anyway go with frozen. It's much cheaper and just as nutritious, sometimes more so.

    Edit: You should also consider growing some of your own vegetables. Even in a small apartment you can grow some in containers.
    I do. My apartment is hard to grow in because it's a basement, and pretty cold most of the year, but I do have a garden.

    Cool. Have you considered grow lights? They are fairly inexpensive and don't use much electricity.
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,576 Member
    lisacf04 wrote: »
    It is disheartening when you are trying to eat healthy and it's so much more expensive. Fruit and veggies cost more and spoil faster lol. Have any of you found that farmers markets are cheaper?

    They are where I live, but we don't have a year round growing season so they aren't open all year.
  • wellthenwhat
    wellthenwhat Posts: 526 Member
    I made myself a delicious carrot/broccoli/cauliflower cooked veggie combo and had some for breakfast. But for what it cost me I could have bought 3 huge bags of sugar cereal that would last me several months vs a week. It's sad. :D

    If you are going to cook them anyway go with frozen. It's much cheaper and just as nutritious, sometimes more so.

    Edit: You should also consider growing some of your own vegetables. Even in a small apartment you can grow some in containers.
    I do. My apartment is hard to grow in because it's a basement, and pretty cold most of the year, but I do have a garden.

    Cool. Have you considered grow lights? They are fairly inexpensive and don't use much electricity.
    Oohh, that's a great idea! I've thought about doing sprouts and stuff, but don't have the place for it. I will definitely have to look into that! The plants would make my basement feel a little less basement-y too!

  • MomReborn
    MomReborn Posts: 145 Member
    th1nr wrote: »
    There's a difference between pushing a cart down the street and hiking multiple miles in inclement weather through unsafe neighborhoods (uphill both ways)

    My point is that food deserts are a well documented and studied problem in the US. Just because something's not an issue for you doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    I can relate to being in a poor neighborhood with limited resources. Sadly, a gentleman was murdered on our property (apartment complex) a couple weeks back. I still take the old stroller retrofitted with a Sterilite tote approximately a mile to the nearest grocery store. A quarter of that mile is uphill. It's a poor neighborhood, so we don't get the plows. Strollers with the chunky wheels are wayyy better in the snow and ice than a pull cart. The ARC Thrift sells them for hardly anything, and they're even less on 50% off everything Saturdays. On nice days, I normally take the four kiddos out with me. They are my best fruit-pickers at the market :D

    We can't let fear of crime, or the outdoors stop us from doing basic things, including feeding ourselves and our families. I tried that once, and suffered a decade of being homebound from agoraphobia. It wasn't a great existence. I find it's better to take ownership of the situation instead of letting the situation have power over us.

    We also have to be resourceful. Our community center has regular coupon swaps, and several local organizations come to transport those without a ride to Sprouts. If we ask around, we may be surprised what we find. It can be a challenge, especially if you're not "tech eligible" for benefits. But, isn't it better to work towards that independence and thinking for ourselves over hoping someone is going to care for our needs every month? I think so, even if it means a little bit of a struggle. <3
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    lisacf04 wrote: »
    It is disheartening when you are trying to eat healthy and it's so much more expensive. Fruit and veggies cost more and spoil faster lol. Have any of you found that farmers markets are cheaper?

    During the season they can be.

    Where I live they would not be helpful now, in mid March.
  • try2again
    try2again Posts: 3,562 Member
    MomReborn wrote: »
    th1nr wrote: »
    There's a difference between pushing a cart down the street and hiking multiple miles in inclement weather through unsafe neighborhoods (uphill both ways)

    My point is that food deserts are a well documented and studied problem in the US. Just because something's not an issue for you doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    I can relate to being in a poor neighborhood with limited resources. Sadly, a gentleman was murdered on our property (apartment complex) a couple weeks back. I still take the old stroller retrofitted with a Sterilite tote approximately a mile to the nearest grocery store. A quarter of that mile is uphill. It's a poor neighborhood, so we don't get the plows. Strollers with the chunky wheels are wayyy better in the snow and ice than a pull cart. The ARC Thrift sells them for hardly anything, and they're even less on 50% off everything Saturdays. On nice days, I normally take the four kiddos out with me. They are my best fruit-pickers at the market :D

    We can't let fear of crime, or the outdoors stop us from doing basic things, including feeding ourselves and our families. I tried that once, and suffered a decade of being homebound from agoraphobia. It wasn't a great existence. I find it's better to take ownership of the situation instead of letting the situation have power over us.

    We also have to be resourceful. Our community center has regular coupon swaps, and several local organizations come to transport those without a ride to Sprouts. If we ask around, we may be surprised what we find. It can be a challenge, especially if you're not "tech eligible" for benefits. But, isn't it better to work towards that independence and thinking for ourselves over hoping someone is going to care for our needs every month? I think so, even if it means a little bit of a struggle. <3

    Having just read this post and your profile, I now aspire to be like you when I grow up (oops... I'm 48). ;)
  • BlueSkyShoal
    BlueSkyShoal Posts: 325 Member
    lisacf04 wrote: »
    It is disheartening when you are trying to eat healthy and it's so much more expensive. Fruit and veggies cost more and spoil faster lol. Have any of you found that farmers markets are cheaper?

    I get almost all my produce from the farmers market now (going to college did get me out of that dead-end minimum wage job, yay), but I think it's actually more expensive? I'll compare prices next time. The meat and eggs are DEFINITELY more expensive, but I don't care.
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,639 Member
    AFGP11 wrote: »
    For the calorie amount fresh fruit and veg ARE more expensive. I hate how people say they aren't. If I buy some junk food donuts 1.69 (for pack of 6 at 320 cal per doughnut) and box of cereal (1.69 with 12 servings) that would easily last me 2 weeks of 500-600 calorie breakfasts. HOWEVER, if I buy 4 fresh bell peppers (4.00), one lb broccoli (2 bucks), one large tomato (2), I could eat ALL of that in ONE day and it wouldn't even amount to the same calorie amount of "fuel". So YES eating fresh fruit and veg is more expensive than eating junk because you have to buy A LOT more to get the same calorie amount of fuel.

    No way. A few vegetables, some protein and a starch and you can feed yourself for a few days cooking one meal. Even if you buy the cheapest junk food out there you will not get the same nutritional bang for your buck. I wish the myth of "it's cheap to get fat" would die. Some things are very expensive, but seasonal vegetables or frozen vegetables are cheap almost everywhere. Canned vegetables are also an option. All of these are cheaper than a pop tart or hot pocket. I think it's an excuse people use either because they don't know how to cook or they want to keep eating junk and don't want to just admit that.

    All of these are not cheaper. A box of poptarts run 1.67 at my local store and that would last a WEEK. For that amount I could get ONE tomato or one head of broccoli, which would just be a small component of ONE meal. I think it depends on location. I am picky about my veg and I don't like canned vegetables or cheap starches such as rice/beans/potatoes so when I make a meal, it is all veg and protein. I buy lettuce which is 2.99 and it lasts me only two salads worth. To eat a salad every day for lunch is quite expensive. I have to buy the lettuce, tomato (2), onions (1), cucumber (99c), radishes (2), green pepper (1), etc it all adds up to about 5 per salad when I figured it out, which is 25 bucks per week. Alternately I could have a hot pocket each day for lunch for the same calories and it would only cost me 7.50 for the whole week.

    Just an example, so I don't think you can say it IS just as cheap to eat healthy. It CAN be, but many people such as myself are picky and do not want to eat plain rice and canned vegetables. I also dislike the taste of frozen vegetables. They aren't the same as fresh. So unfortunately with my preferences it is more expensive, although that is my fault LOL. I don't use it as an excuse because my grocery bill is quite high. I do choose to eat mostly vegetables because it's what I enjoy, I just am not happy about it.

    It is indeed a regrettable quandary to have a palette that accepts Hot Pockets and cheap doughnuts that last 6 days, but rejects frozen and canned vegetables along with rice, beans and potatoes. I am dealing with this with my 10 year old daughter, who will eat only the most exquisite of perfectly-ripe, unblemished fruits, but will also gladly eat a Totino's pizza. wat.

    I am hoping that my love for Creole and French cooking will rub off on her so if money is tight for her she can do amazing things with potatoes, beans n' rice, and the Creole Trinity (celery/onions/green peppers) or French mirepoix (celery/onions/carrots) combined with the miracle of bacon-grease roux or saute (everybody is thriftily saving back their bacon grease in a tin can under the sink, right? RIGHT???)
  • 3rdof7sisters
    3rdof7sisters Posts: 486 Member
    OP, or you could spend less and buy bulk oatmeal and have enough for many, many, many breakfasts.
    Frozen berries don't go bad, neither do frozen veggies (you can even freeze fresh veggies and berries for later use). Eggs are pretty inexpensive as well. There are options, if you look for them, that are affordable and nutritious. Big bags of cereal that are not sugary are available as well. We have choices.
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,860 Member
    lisacf04 wrote: »
    It is disheartening when you are trying to eat healthy and it's so much more expensive. Fruit and veggies cost more and spoil faster lol. Have any of you found that farmers markets are cheaper?

    Alas, I think it'll be a while before we see fresh produce at Farmer's Markets around here again...

    i2kth9ilzok1.jpg

    Also, so glad it's a gym day and not a running day.