Wish fresh veggies weren't so expensive

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  • crzycatlady1
    crzycatlady1 Posts: 1,930 Member
    edited March 2017
    bbell1985 wrote: »
    I kept thinking of this thread as I got groceries today and when I got home I had to take a quick picture of my trip. For a little under $127 I filled 2 carts at Meijer and then a basket at Family Fare (Spartan). My grocery budget is $100 so I went a bit over, but Meijer was running their 11/$10 deal, so I got a few extra things. Next week I'll probably spend around $50, so it all evens out :) I made my menu plan/grocery list based off of what I already had in the house.

    grocery%20trip_zpszehh9toi.jpg

    Produce wise I got-

    3lbs yellow onions
    1 bag of fresh spinach
    2 bags of shredded lettuce (I'm weird about lettuce and this is the only way I'll eat it :p )
    2.5lbs bananas
    1 cantaloupe
    1 pkg mushrooms
    1 red and 1 orange bell pepper
    12lbs apples (mostly for baking)
    1 bag baby carrots
    2 cans of peaches
    2lbs tomatoes
    2 bags frozen corn
    2 bags frozen winter blend veggies
    2 small broccoli crowns

    It was a fun, but exhausting trip (3 kids/2 grocery carts at Meijer does not equal relaxing!)

    eta: you can't see from the picture but behind the cat ltter bags (which I normally don't put on my counter lol), there's several boxes of cookie mix, boxed potatoes and yes, a box of Hamburger Helper (and I'm not even sorry :D ).

    This is interesting to me because when it comes to vegetables, I would eat one of the peppers per day. I eat a bag of lettuce each day, a whole tomato, a whole cucumber. I can eat a half bag of broccoli per day too. If I eat zucchini or squash I eat about 400 grams which turns out to be about two large. I don't eat fruit but still, the way I go through vegetables...it gets pricey.

    Exactly I eat a whole head of broccoli at once a whole bag of lettuce for one salad 2 zucchini at once etc. I guess price is so subjective to each individuals eating style. Sure it's not that bad if you don't eat large portions of veg.... but I do like you a whole cucumber is part of one snack one day etc.

    With what I bought, and what I already had on hand, is enough for me to get in the new requirements of 800g of veg/fruit a day, as well as enough for my kids to have veg/fruit. 800g already exceeds the current recommendations of '5 a Day/500g', and I don't know if there's any health benefits to eating more than the 800g? Some of us doing the 800g challenge are also struggling with our protein intake because of the high volume of veg/fruit, so it's actually been a bit of a negative because it's messing up our macro ratios. I definitely think there's such a thing as too much veg/fruit intake and 800g a day is pretty close to it for me lol.

    edit: grammar
  • woodywoodster
    woodywoodster Posts: 6 Member
    Aldi & lidl, cheap as chips :)
  • KayCeeRein
    KayCeeRein Posts: 44 Member
    That is crazy. I'm from Canada, and unless you shop the reduced racks this time of year, you are paying $2.99 a lb for fresh broccoli, $1.99 for head lettuce, $2.99 for leaf lettuce or romane, $4.99/lb for asparagus, $1.99 per lb for tomatoes, $3.49/lb for coloured bell peppers, $2.49/lb for green peppers, $3.99 for a pint of raspberries, $3.99 for a quart of strawberries..... On the reduced rack I still pay $1.25 for two peppers. I would be literally doing cartwheels if I could get two peppers for $0.79.

    And that is why I say vegetables are expensive. Even a bag of frozen green giant broccoli is $2.99.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,521 Member
    TheRambler wrote: »
    There's always a 10 for $10 on streamable bags of veggies at the supermarket. It's great for a quick fix, when you can't buy "fresh"

    When the in-laws from Wisconsin visit Massachusetts, they always remark on the increased cost of food here. Careful shopping still makes a difference, but it is a factor.
  • KayCeeRein
    KayCeeRein Posts: 44 Member
    alexib wrote: »
    I spend about $50 on food for myself every 2 weeks and most of that is comprised of yogurt (i cant live without chobani, fage, and noosa) i regulary spend over $10 on chobani alone, and then I'm a pescatarian and usually buy a leasy 3 types of different seafood, calamari @ $5, shrimp @ $5, some type of fish $5 usually x2, silk coconut milk ~$4(sometimes and it hurts my heart!), maybe sweet potato fries @ $2.50, and the rest on veggies zucchini, mushrooms (huge portabellas @$3 & button mushrooms @ ~$1.25), and my most expensive veggie, brussel sprouts because i like them fresh can sometimes be ~$3, (which I hate but they are so good and im pretty sure this isn't their season, frozen @ $1.99) & frozen green beans $1, frozen broccoli $1, frozen broccoli cauliflower mix $1.50. I pretty much get everything from walmart but I can get this down cheaper if I stop buying so much yogurt at once! I really feel like veggies are cheaper and last me a good while, except the brussel sprouts because when I have them I pretty much eat them every day and 1 bag of fresh ones lasts me 4 meals! I also occassionally pick up aspargas spears from dollar tree @ $1. I live in south carolina and pretty much buy these veggies year round. I have a car now and no longer rely on my city'sfrustrating public transport and plan to start going to a food market or head over to the local growers on the island. Food deserts are real and the answer to the problem or the reason for it is not because of what you think at the surface level.
    Also, I stopped eating cereal years ago around the same time I started on mfp when I realized the servings size of it and that it just made me hungrier.

    I find it astounding that your dollar store stocks vegetables. I so wish that were a thing here. Canadian walmart prices (just outside of Toronto), the frozen veggies alone are $3 each.
  • KayCeeRein
    KayCeeRein Posts: 44 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Do that many people really have access to farmer's markets? I live in a smaller metro area (around 200k pop) in the middle of farm country and there are a couple a week in my community.

    I can't see the logistics of a farmer's market near the downtown area of a large city. The fact the farmer has to drive 40-50 miles (in traffic) to get there plus the set-up logistics would seem to make it a curiosity/novelty at best as opposed to a sustainable source of food. The farmer sure isn't going to set up in the questionable areas of the community.

    We pay more at a farmers' market in my town than at the grocery store....
  • lisacf04
    lisacf04 Posts: 4 Member
    ritzvin wrote: »
    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.

  • lisacf04
    lisacf04 Posts: 4 Member
    well....I'm in Georgia so i know nothing of snow lol. Our farmers market normally open in April so I can't wait!
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Do that many people really have access to farmer's markets? I live in a smaller metro area (around 200k pop) in the middle of farm country and there are a couple a week in my community.

    I can't see the logistics of a farmer's market near the downtown area of a large city. The fact the farmer has to drive 40-50 miles (in traffic) to get there plus the set-up logistics would seem to make it a curiosity/novelty at best as opposed to a sustainable source of food. The farmer sure isn't going to set up in the questionable areas of the community.

    There are a huge number where I live (Chicago), during growing season (usually weekly but different ones are on different days, so you could hit them almost every day if willing to take public transportation -- they are early, of course). There's one on the South Side (so not far from some lower income areas, although also near Hyde Park) that is monthly during this time of year: https://experimentalstation.org/events/. I go to Hyde Park often on Saturdays (it's a nice bike ride, I have a book club that meets for lunch and discussion then), so keep meaning to check that one out, although where I am there are others.

    Glad you have access.

    I am a bit familiar with the area. I can't imagine anywhere within 30 miles of Hyde Park there would be enough land to make it worthwhile to grow crops, and be able to get them to the city to sell profitably.

    I think the farmers markets are great, but not really a mass solution to fruit and veggie availability in our urban society.
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,860 Member
    edited March 2017
    With what I bought, and what I already had on hand, is enough for me to get in the new requirements of 800g of veg/fruit a day, as well as enough for my kids to have veg/fruit. 800g already exceeds the current recommendations of '5 a Day/500g', and I don't know if there's any health benefits to eating more than the 800g? Some of us doing the 800g challenge are also struggling with our protein intake because of the high volume of veg/fruit, so it's actually been a bit of a negative because it's messing up our macro ratios. I definitely think there's such a thing as too much veg/fruit intake and 800g a day is pretty close to it for me lol.

    edit: grammar

    Other than vitamins, I would say that fiber is the main benefit of getting more fruits & vegetables (and is numerically trackable on MFP)..so depending on where that number lies.

    Getting more veg works out well for me on macros, but I also have Fiber as one of my main tracked quantities and get most of my vegetables in soup form (where I add a handful of meat). (I'm still often a bit under the desired 25g of fiber, but I'm a lot closer than if I didn't make a point to have veggies in my diet). I don't often have fruit though except for the occasional apple - the amount of sugar calories (especially in bananas) does mess up my macros a bit and make it harder to meet the amount of protein I like to get (which is higher than MFP's default).

    Edit to add: Note- I don't actually know how many grams of fruit/veg I'm getting. I generally have a large veggie side in my lunch meals (traditional dinner-type entree), and have soup in the late evening.
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,860 Member
    KayCeeRein wrote: »
    That is crazy. I'm from Canada, and unless you shop the reduced racks this time of year, you are paying $2.99 a lb for fresh broccoli, $1.99 for head lettuce, $2.99 for leaf lettuce or romane, $4.99/lb for asparagus, $1.99 per lb for tomatoes, $3.49/lb for coloured bell peppers, $2.49/lb for green peppers, $3.99 for a pint of raspberries, $3.99 for a quart of strawberries..... On the reduced rack I still pay $1.25 for two peppers. I would be literally doing cartwheels if I could get two peppers for $0.79.

    And that is why I say vegetables are expensive. Even a bag of frozen green giant broccoli is $2.99.

    I'm not sure what those items cost fresh where I am...I know that every single one of them are always pricy enough that I am too cheap to buy any of them fresh (which is why I can't remember actual prices)(with the occasional exception of strawberries when in season locally)(and I generally never want lettuce).
  • caroldavison332
    caroldavison332 Posts: 864 Member
    In the long run, investing in your health is cheaper than medication, immobility and death. Eat food, not junk.
  • YoshiZelda
    YoshiZelda Posts: 340 Member
    Aldi is actually pretty damn cheap. Especially compared to places like giant eagle.
  • AgidGirl
    AgidGirl Posts: 138 Member
    Does anyone have a Winco nearby? I live in Washington and Winco has by far the best prices on fresh produce. Just this week I picked up the following:

    5 lbs bag Gala apples $3.48
    5 lbs bag red apples $2.98
    5 lbs bag grapefruit $3.48
    5 lbs bag of oranges $3.48
    25 lbs bag of carrots $9.98
    Roma tomatoes $.78/pound
    Small Avocado $.78 each
    Asparagus $.88/lbs
    Lime $.33 each
    Lemon $.25 each

    I have 3 boys so we go through a LOT of produce! A few weeks back our Fred Meyer had seedless grapes for $.68/lb...I stocked up and froze about 6 lbs. Frozen grapes are awesome in the summer and make a yummy dessert :-)
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    KayCeeRein wrote: »
    That is crazy. I'm from Canada, and unless you shop the reduced racks this time of year, you are paying $2.99 a lb for fresh broccoli, $1.99 for head lettuce, $2.99 for leaf lettuce or romane, $4.99/lb for asparagus, $1.99 per lb for tomatoes, $3.49/lb for coloured bell peppers, $2.49/lb for green peppers, $3.99 for a pint of raspberries, $3.99 for a quart of strawberries..... On the reduced rack I still pay $1.25 for two peppers. I would be literally doing cartwheels if I could get two peppers for $0.79.

    And that is why I say vegetables are expensive. Even a bag of frozen green giant broccoli is $2.99.

    As a gardener, I find it helps to add some extra context around these particular vegetables. Those are the high-maintenance luxury vegetables, difficult to pack, ship, store, and immediately thrown out if they become the least bit soft or blemished. They are also entirely out of season, which is why they are so expensive. When people say to eat in season, they are referring to the storeable, durable "keepers" for the winter: apples, potatoes, carrots, onions, squash, cabbage. Have you priced those out? They often seem to be left out of pricing discussions for some reason.

    I still have bags of leeks, carrots, and beets in my basement fridge that I harvested last fall, and just cooked up my last two red cabbages last week. I keep hoping the beets will spoil so I don't have to eat them, but so far they are not cooperating. I also have several pumpkins and squashes that were originally fall decorations still in a cool part of the basement and a grocery bag of potatoes in the root cellar. It is amazing how well some of these vegetables keep!

    This is such an important point. For most of us, it's going to be much more expensive to eat out of season. There is a reason why food traditions have some types of dishes associated with different seasons -- traditionally people didn't have certain foods available year-round.

    I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with having asparagus, tomatoes, and berries in early March (assuming you can find some that taste good), but they're never going to be the most economical choice.

    But all winter I find that I can eat apples, potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, parsnips, turnips, squash, and cabbage daily (sometimes in huge quantities) and keep my grocery budget very low.

    I think sometimes when people talk about the cost of produce, it's based on this assumption that leafy greens, berries, melon, asparagus, tomatoes, etc should be cheap all year.
  • crzycatlady1
    crzycatlady1 Posts: 1,930 Member
    edited March 2017
    KayCeeRein wrote: »
    That is crazy. I'm from Canada, and unless you shop the reduced racks this time of year, you are paying $2.99 a lb for fresh broccoli, $1.99 for head lettuce, $2.99 for leaf lettuce or romane, $4.99/lb for asparagus, $1.99 per lb for tomatoes, $3.49/lb for coloured bell peppers, $2.49/lb for green peppers, $3.99 for a pint of raspberries, $3.99 for a quart of strawberries..... On the reduced rack I still pay $1.25 for two peppers. I would be literally doing cartwheels if I could get two peppers for $0.79.

    And that is why I say vegetables are expensive. Even a bag of frozen green giant broccoli is $2.99.

    As a gardener, I find it helps to add some extra context around these particular vegetables. Those are the high-maintenance luxury vegetables, difficult to pack, ship, store, and immediately thrown out if they become the least bit soft or blemished. They are also entirely out of season, which is why they are so expensive. When people say to eat in season, they are referring to the storeable, durable "keepers" for the winter: apples, potatoes, carrots, onions, squash, cabbage. Have you priced those out? They often seem to be left out of pricing discussions for some reason.

    I still have bags of leeks, carrots, and beets in my basement fridge that I harvested last fall, and just cooked up my last two red cabbages last week. I keep hoping the beets will spoil so I don't have to eat them, but so far they are not cooperating. I also have several pumpkins and squashes that were originally fall decorations still in a cool part of the basement and a grocery bag of potatoes in the root cellar. It is amazing how well some of these vegetables keep!

    This is such an important point. For most of us, it's going to be much more expensive to eat out of season. There is a reason why food traditions have some types of dishes associated with different seasons -- traditionally people didn't have certain foods available year-round.

    I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with having asparagus, tomatoes, and berries in early March (assuming you can find some that taste good), but they're never going to be the most economical choice.

    But all winter I find that I can eat apples, potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, parsnips, turnips, squash, and cabbage daily (sometimes in huge quantities) and keep my grocery budget very low.

    I think sometimes when people talk about the cost of produce, it's based on this assumption that leafy greens, berries, melon, asparagus, tomatoes, etc should be cheap all year.

    Yep, we're an apple growing state and I can get apples cheap during the winter. 3lb bags of Macintosh and Johnathan apples for $1 this week at Meijer, (and with the 11/$10 deal it works out to .90), and they're from my state. Apples are cold stored and are then available during the winter months. Now, come August you won't even be able to find them in the stores usually, but at that point there's all sorts of local things available (blueberries woot!).

    edit: added to post
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    stealthq wrote: »
    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.

    Certainly you can, and it is true. You can compose a cheap healthy diet easily enough. You can compose an expensive 'junk' diet easily as well.

    What you may not be able to do is compose a cheap diet of any kind for someone who values their personal tastes above their checkbook. You have to be willing to selectively use what is cheaply available at the time and either get creative about preparing items that aren't your first preference or just accept that you're going to eat those things because it saves you money.

    ETA: And that is fine. I buy expensive stuff just because I prefer the taste. But I'm not going to complain that I can't put together a healthy diet because I choose to buy smoked salmon that is many times more expensive than the canned pink salmon I could buy instead.

    Thanks -- this is the point I was trying to make, and you did so much more clearly.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited March 2017
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Do that many people really have access to farmer's markets? I live in a smaller metro area (around 200k pop) in the middle of farm country and there are a couple a week in my community.

    I can't see the logistics of a farmer's market near the downtown area of a large city. The fact the farmer has to drive 40-50 miles (in traffic) to get there plus the set-up logistics would seem to make it a curiosity/novelty at best as opposed to a sustainable source of food. The farmer sure isn't going to set up in the questionable areas of the community.

    There are a huge number where I live (Chicago), during growing season (usually weekly but different ones are on different days, so you could hit them almost every day if willing to take public transportation -- they are early, of course). There's one on the South Side (so not far from some lower income areas, although also near Hyde Park) that is monthly during this time of year: https://experimentalstation.org/events/. I go to Hyde Park often on Saturdays (it's a nice bike ride, I have a book club that meets for lunch and discussion then), so keep meaning to check that one out, although where I am there are others.

    Glad you have access.

    I am a bit familiar with the area. I can't imagine anywhere within 30 miles of Hyde Park there would be enough land to make it worthwhile to grow crops, and be able to get them to the city to sell profitably.

    I think the farmers markets are great, but not really a mass solution to fruit and veggie availability in our urban society.

    They mostly don't grow them locally (although there are some growing projects on the South Side that I think are excellent and important, in large part because of how they affect understanding of where food comes from, attitude toward vegetables, provide job options and personal growth for kids, understanding of how much we can grow ourselves, etc. -- the sorts of things that French Peasant talks of). The farmers come in from elsewhere in IL and WI and IN (and in some cases even MI). It's an interesting mix of people, and the various markets have different personalities, which is one reason I wanted to check out the 61th Street one.

    I'm not offering them as a mass solution to fruit and vegetable availability in the inner city, though -- not sure where that came from.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    AgidGirl wrote: »
    Does anyone have a Winco nearby? I live in Washington and Winco has by far the best prices on fresh produce.

    My parents live in WA (just over the border from OR), and say the same about Winco.