Affording the food for a healthier

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Joined: May 13
Posts: 2

Posted: 25 Jun 2013, 11:36
I need some serious advice on grocery shopping.If I buy food for just me, there's no money left for the rest of my family to eat on. I'm on food stamps and on a limited income.. Unfortunately the unhealthy food is more affordable and i can buy enough to last a month. I find myself eating things high in calories and eating less because I've reached my limit after a few small meals and finding myself starving. I coupon clip and shop for things on sale, but I'm just not able to afford it with my 2 boys {5 and 8 ) and the hubby. They don't like what I like unfortunately. Anyone have any suggestions???

Joined: Jun 12
Posts: 16

Posted: 25 Jun 2013, 19:47
I'm not familiar with food stamps, so I really have no idea what you can spend a week. Unhealthy food is troublingly vague. Based on my experience, however, I would recommend stocking up on veggies. Carrots are inexpensive and can be enjoyed so many different ways including tasty 'chips' that kids usually enjoy.

I don't have children so my next suggestions may seem laughable and/or offensive to you, I apologize in advance but I'm giving them anyway.

Since you're the one shopping and cooking it's your menu to create. If your kids are anything like my dog (again, apologies for this comparison) then they won't let themselves starve.

Fruit snacks, puddings, sugary cereals, pop, fruit drinks are all processed things most kids love but they're also expensive and unhealthy options. Again, I have no idea what you or your family are eating that is so expensive but making your kids drink water instead of juice will save you a few bucks. As will replacing processed snack foods with apples and other cheap veggies.

Joined: Apr 13
Posts: 41

Posted: 25 Jun 2013, 21:30
I'm on assistance and I find it's actually cheaper for me to buy fresh fruits and vegetables than it is processed junk food. It might not seem like it, but when you think about it you're getting more food out of a bag of carrots or potatoes than you are a box of mac n cheese.

Buying things frozen or canned can sometimes be cheaper. If you have access to a food bank that can be very helpful. I also shop at discount stores, farmer markets (some take food stamps), and grocery liquidators.

As for the kids, I think it's tough love. I don't like telling people what to do with their kids but they should be eating healthy as well. You can find plenty of healthy recipes that are kid friendly or "hide" the veggies.

Joined: Jun 13
Posts: 9

Posted: 26 Jun 2013, 20:56
I totally agree with the two posting above me, it sounds like you are ultimately in charge of what your family is eating, and if you start to make changes, they will change along with you (like amandawl said, they're not gonna starve on account of you bought a head of lettuce instead of mac n' cheese) might take some time, but they WILL come around, set the example, they'll follow it. They won't really have a choice, it'll be you picking the stuff out (leave the kids at home while you shop so they're not nagging you for sugary snacks). The best advice I can give to you is this, it's really all about just being conscious and aware of what you're doing. That's it. I stop and think before I start tossing stuff into my cart. I truly believe that the notion of the healthier stuff being more expensive is just not true. I'm sure you've seen what those sugary boxes of cereal, gummy snacks, sugary drinks cost, they're definitely not cheap! I think the main problem with healthy food is that it's a pain, you know? You gotta do more preparation, in my opinion. I'll tell you the truth about what I do. First off, I don't kid myself. I love processed foods, the cheesier and saltier the better. That's just me. Everyone will tell you it's wrong to eat that way, I'm sure it is. The truth is that if I try to totally overload myself with super healthy food, I'm going to fall off my diet quicker than you can snap your fingers. I still enjoy my frozen pizzas and such, just in extreme moderation. When I eat pizza now, I have a slice, instead of the whole pizza. I also eat a salad with it. Sounds dumb, but that's light years ahead of how I used to eat. And my boyfriend caught on, and believe me, if there's a giant kid in the house, it's him, lol, but he adopted my eating habits because I set the example and I prepare the food. If you need a word of encouragement, feel free to message me. Smile

Joined: May 13
Posts: 2

Posted: 27 Jun 2013, 01:08
Those are all great ideas, my biggest problem is the hubby. If he don't like it he wont eat it. And then i have a crabby man that complains. I can tackle the food problem with the kids and me. how do I convince the hubby? I cant afford to feed him something completely different then what me n the kids eat. I meal plan and make only one meal, I'm not a diner... I love him but hes stuck in his ways, Id pay to see him eat a salad let me tell you.. Its more of a money issue then anything along with mr. man and his just wanting a steak n potato diet if ya get my drift.

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 184

Posted: 27 Jun 2013, 06:01
You can handle your husband the same way I handled my household. I do most of the evening and weekend cooking in my house . I also do most of the grocery shopping. So I plan the meals, cook the meals, and present the meals. The wife and kiddo can eat what I cook, prepare their own (with what I have purchased), or go hungry. Sure they complain sometimes, but neither has starved yet.

As for the cost of buying healthier foods, if you are doing it correctly, as stated above, it will cost less. Shop the perimeter of the store and stay out of the aisles except for staples. Produce, meat, and dairy sections make up the majority of my grocery bill.

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 1,223

Posted: 27 Jun 2013, 07:41
I agree 100% - just worry about yourself and feeding your kids healthy foods. They need to learn the healthy way to eat as early as possible, that way they don't grow up avoiding vegetables and eating junk. Your husband, sorry to say, needs to get over it. He is an adult and can fend for himself if he chooses to eat unhealthy foods. I would NEVER cook 2 meals just to accomodate a grown adult. Unless of course, they were sick or a guest in my house. He can make a PB&J sandwich or grilled cheese if he thinks he is being starved.

Joined: Mar 13
Posts: 5

Posted: 27 Jun 2013, 10:34
Its a sad reality that food that is junk for our bodies and causes all sorts of diseases is not only cheaper but is also flavoured in a way that makes us crave it. Our family doesn't have a lot of money for groceries for food either but we still manage to keep it healthy. Do you like beans and lentils? Thats what we usually do we buy them in plastic bags not cans and they are cheap and you can make sooo many servings out of one bag and eat it in so many different and healthy ways. Heres one recipe that I really enjoy. Its for spicy lentil soup I hope this helps!

Joined: Mar 11
Posts: 1,533

Posted: 27 Jun 2013, 16:22
I agree with the above posts that the kids and your hubby need to be healthy too, but I know how picky eaters are, I have 3 myself. Buy veggies you know they will eat and fix them with dinner every night. Also, buy some fruit for you and the kids. If my hubby got cranky with me for not buying him what he wanted, he'd be doing his own grocery shopping, but I know we can't all just make them do that. What I do every week (I'm not on assistance but try to live on a budget) is make a list of meals that we all want, then list the ingredients on another sheet for the store, then I go on-line and see what's on sale where and on some sites you can even look up everything to get an idea of how much all of your groceries will be. If you do that then after a while you'll be able to somewhat estimate what you'll be spending. Coupon clipping is good too. We still have mac'n'cheese here and there, but now we use less butter and skim milk, so it's still not great for us, but better than before. So, there are options for making your meals healthier and still make your family feel like they're winning. Look up some recipes too, there are lots of websites for healthy, budget friendly dinners. Good luck!!
Goals for 2018:
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Joined: Nov 12
Posts: 19

Posted: 28 Jun 2013, 00:24
There are numerous websites that detail how you can eat healthy by spending less then you would on processed foods. When in a bind I googled "stretching the dollar for the food budget" and other such phrases and a plethora of websites that give tips on cheap healthy recipes the family can enjoy for less money. I would consider doing more research that way. I have cut my budget in half by buying non processed foods and shopping on the outside isles of the grocery stores. The problem is finding food that isnt prepared and preparing it sometimes.

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 3

Posted: 28 Jun 2013, 09:49
I can totally understand your dilemma. My best friend has a husband that refuses to eat her healthy meals. It's not as easy as some people think and can create a real rift in the home if you're not agreeing on what should go on the table. There might be ways to eat healthy and satisfy the husband? What about buying lean meats and serving them with vegetables and a sweet potato? You can limit your portion of the meat and fill up on veggies and he gets his "steak and potatoes" but with a slightly healthier twist. I had to train my husband on eating healthy foods. First I would put butter and seasonings on his vegetables. After some time of him acclimating, I would switch the butter to things like flax oil and sea salt. He hardly notices. Hee. Smile And I definitely don't agree that healthy eating is cheaper. I've found the opposite to be true. ESPECIALLY if you're going for organic produce and hormone-free eggs and meat. The cheapest groceries I've found include chicken, lean pork tenderloins, sweet potatoes, frozen vegetables, large containers of yogurt, and you can find cheap nuts and seeds from the bulk section in stores like Hy-Vee, Whole Foods, etc. Good luck! I know it's tough. Hopefully when your husband sees the positive changes in YOU, he'll come around.

Joined: May 12
Posts: 117

Posted: 28 Jun 2013, 10:21
I used to live on a budget of 300.00 per month for the 4 of us, after we paid the mortgage and utilities and the like. Our clothes, food and gas had to come out of it. We did it, and saved enough for a 2 week vacation every year, although some of that was our income tax refund.
A good book is The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. You can probably get it at the library. The way we used to do it was, have a limit of how much you can spend on what. For example, we never paid more than 2.00 a pound for cheese, .10 an ounce for cereal. Also, our menu was dictated by what was on sale. You just figure the least you can pay for stuff and stick to it.
Limit for breakfast was .35 each, and that included milk. Dinners had to cost no more than 2.00 for the four of us, sans drinks and condiments. A pound pasta could not cost more than .30, quite doable then, now probably a 1.00. So you can do perhaps 3.00- 3.50 a dinner.

We bought ground turkey chubbs( it was .69 a lb then, it's about 2-2.50 now) and made most everything with it, (tacos, chili, casseroles, burgers)and chicken leg quarters in the big bags. We did use coupons but only on those things we would buy anyway, like cereal( never sugared!) or oatmeal. Sometimes the store would have buy one get one free, we would have a coupon and get boxes of it for 1.00 each, because they doubled the coupon. Buy cottage cheese/yogurt in the mark down when you see it. Store it upside down in the fridge, it lasts nearly forever. Why I don't know but it does. You can use it to make a lasagne in place of ricotta for example. Make your own noodles, you just have to roll it out, nothing fancy. Make sauce(or buy it on sale). A whole (giant)pan can cost as little as 3.00, and last 2 meals. Make a couple and freeze it. You can stick veggies in it if you like. A serving will be about 400 cals., not bad for a dinner on say a 1700 cal diet. you can throw in a salad and skip the bread.
Now we buy 6 lb bags of boneless skinless Chicken thighs and pork sirloins at Costco, and milk/cheese/eggs there too. Fresh veggies are expensive, unless you can buy them on sale, frozen are your best bet. Roast them in the oven with good fat, and garlic salt, I like a little sprinkle of chili flakes on broccoli and green beans. Learn how to season, it makes a big difference.
Another frugal lesson that works out calorie wise is measure everything. Weigh your portions. You know you don't need more than 4 oz of meat for a meal,(my hubby gets 6, he's a big guy) and perhaps 3 oz for some things. 4 oz of veggies. Try really hard skip seconds. It's surprising what an hour will do.

Measure your oils and butter, they will go farther. A half tsp too much will be a tablespoon with just 6 uses. It adds up. Use a scraper spatula too, to get the last little bit out of the bowl/jar. It can be as much as a half a muffin, another serving.
Grill, every loves it and it's low cal. Make some rubs, cheap and tasty.
I hope this gives some you ideas, good luck.
The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.- Arthur C Clarke

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Joined: May 13
Posts: 254

Posted: 28 Jun 2013, 11:39
I went Low carb and I lose better. But the best part is I find it a ton cheaper. Eggs, Ground beef or what ever meat is on sale. Cheese and fresh veggies. I spend a lot less money. Low fat foods are costly!
Plus my man is happy. What man doesn't love meat?

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 4

Posted: 08 Jul 2013, 08:24
I found it very helpful to buy ONLY what is on sale and to download internet coupons. I have been able to keep my grocery budget to about $60 per week. That's for me and 3 kids. And that $60 includes fresh fish sometimes. Some things that help me stretch my budget are brown rice, pasta (whole grain is better but my kids don't like that) frozen veggies which I can often get buy one get one free, and eggs. One thing most men understand is dollars and sense. Maybe he would be more open if he helped you with the grocery budget every week, looking through the circulars, etc. Also, if you don't already have one, consider a George Foreman grill. You might be able to score one at goodwill or a yard sale. It has been great for me because it cooks everything quickly. It also drains the fat away so even hamburgers are healthier. And speaking of burgers, you can try ground turkey and see what your husband things. I do a really fine dice on red peppers and mushrooms and add it to the ground turkey. Sometime I also add a packet of brown gravy seasoning to give it a browner look. The mushrooms make the turkey feel "meatier" if you know what I mean.

Joined: Aug 12
Posts: 16

Posted: 13 Jul 2013, 10:40
My hubby isn't a picky eater by any means, but he sometimes gives me issues about buying healthier foods. He's trying to mentally prepare himself to lose weight with me. I understand that you have to be at a place and believe that 'enough is enough.' So in the meantime, we compromise.

We didn't like whole grain pasta (tastes like cardboard to us lol), so we switched to the ones made from spinach and tomato; additionally it gives you a half serving of pasta per portion. Costs the same as a regular box of pasta anyways! If you buy fresh fruits and veggies, especially from a farmer's market, it's way cheaper than supermarkets. I know if we ever have babies, I will be pureeing the majority of their baby food.

Oh and people LOVE my turkey burgers- most can't even tell it's not beef.

Also when I prepare my homemade mac and cheese, I put some cauliflower in it now. It's SO good! There is a cookbook from Jessica Seinfeld called Deceptively Delicious. Most of the recipes are AMAZING! Her chicken strips are to DIE FOR!!! I now crave that chicken more than fried chicken! However that is not the cheapest route to go.

Joined: Aug 12
Posts: 16

Posted: 13 Jul 2013, 10:46
Gamer_Wife2008 wrote:
My hubby isn't a picky eater by any means, but he sometimes gives me issues about buying healthier foods. He's trying to mentally prepare himself to lose weight with me. I understand that you have to be at a place and believe that 'enough is enough.' So in the meantime, we compromise.

We didn't like whole grain pasta (tastes like cardboard to us lol), so we switched to the ones made from spinach and tomato; additionally it gives you a half serving of pasta per portion. Costs the same as a regular box of pasta anyways! If you buy fresh fruits and veggies, especially from a farmer's market, it's way cheaper than supermarkets. I know if we ever have babies, I will be pureeing the majority of their baby food.

Oh and people LOVE my turkey burgers- most can't even tell it's not beef.

Also when I prepare my homemade mac and cheese, I put some cauliflower in it now. It's SO good! There is a cookbook from Jessica Seinfeld called Deceptively Delicious. Most of the recipes are AMAZING! Her chicken strips are to DIE FOR!!! I now crave that chicken more than fried chicken! However that is not the cheapest route to go.

Oh as far as adding more vegetables into your diet, you can buy baby food purees and add them to many dishes! And it saves time, cleaning, prep, dishes, etc. I will be doing this on our next shopping trip!

Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 4

Posted: 13 Jul 2013, 14:48
Buy meat on sale, reduced, clearence, cook it so it doesn't go bad it'll store 5-6 days like that. cut it into smaller pieces and you'll find it goes further. Buy veggies and fruits on sale in season. Don't buy a watermelon in November it's too expensive, pears or apples are cheap in the fall. Use healthy tricks no oil cook with cooking spray, hubby won't know. Choose leaner meats, grill, use low fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, put cauliflower in mashed potatoes. Whole grain pasta or brown rice won't cost extra, and he might not notice the difference. Coupons are helpful too, if you have the will to do the clipping.

Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 959

Posted: 14 Jul 2013, 00:12
Mandapanda2285 wrote:
his just wanting a steak n potato diet if ya get my drift.

I didn't think I had anything helpful to say but maybe I do have something that will help you out with your husband.

There is a way to make the inexpensive cuts of steak as tender as the expensive cuts.

What you do is salt the steak and let it sit for a while then rinse it off well, pat dry and cook it. This site describes what to do and why it works:

I use this method on all my steaks, both choice and select. You have to experiment a little because the thickness of the steak does change how long to leave it salted.

It can give the steak a bit of a salty flavor. Particularly if you misjudge how long to leave it salted.

Beef labeling is intentionally confusing but it goes like this (in America anyway) for solid cuts of meat:

Select - this is usually a tough cut of meat but it is also the least expensive.

Choice - this is usually a more tender cut of meat but it is expensive.

Prime - only sold in specialty stores because it is very expensive.

So if you are looking at a T-Bone and it says 'Select' somewhere on the package it is a Select cut of meat.

If it says 'Choice' somewhere on the package it is a choice cut of meat.

If it doesn't say anything then it is select or it should be equivalent.

There are other, worse, grades of meat but I don't think salting can save them even if you could find them in a store which you probably can't.

Here is a blurb from the wiki on grades of beef:
U.S. Prime – Highest in quality and intramuscular fat, limited supply. Currently, about 2.9% of carcasses grade as Prime.[14]
U.S. Choice – High quality, widely available in foodservice industry and retail markets. Choice carcasses are 53.7% of the fed cattle total. The difference between Choice and Prime is largely due to the fat content in the beef. Prime typically has a higher fat content (more and well distributed intramuscular "marbling"Wink than Choice.
U.S. Select (formerly Good) – lowest grade commonly sold at retail, acceptable quality, but is less juicy and tender due to leanness.
U.S. Standard – Lower quality, yet economical, lacking marbling.
U.S. Commercial – Low quality, lacking tenderness, produced from older animals.
U.S. Utility
U.S. Cutter
U.S. Canner


Joined: Jun 13
Posts: 10

Posted: 15 Jul 2013, 06:36
My son is 15 years old and a bottomless pit when it comes to food. He calls himself the human garbage disposal. However, he is a picky eater, too. He simply does not like veggies with the exception of a few token items (frozen peas, corn, onions, potatoes, candied carrots, and sometimes sweet red peppers).

When he was younger, I would make dishes like jambalaya, spaghetti, or something similar to a hamburger helper type thing and I would mince or puree the veggies just to get him to ingest something healthy. Minced mushrooms mixed with ground beef in a spaghetti dish are almost undetectable. Squash and zucchini almost disappear when you puree them.

Now that he's old enough to cook his own food, he does that more often. I see that when he cooks, now he puts onions into his spaghetti and peas into his hamburger helper on his own! Plus, because I'm not cooking rice, pasta, or potatoes like I used to, he has lost 10 pounds while I've been on my diet! Bonus!! Also, there are some things that I simply refuse to bring in to the house because he would consume it in a single sitting. I will not buy chips, cookies, candy or even ice cream for the house. He doesn't need the temptation or the calories.

Commercially packaged stuff generally is more expensive and with less quantity if you truly measure things honestly. The health benefits of fresh whole foods is so much better for us, too. Ultimately they won't let themselves starve and yes, they will complain. If you can make subtle changes over time, buy less of the macaroni and cheese and just make it not available to them regularly, then they will see it as a treat when you do bring it home rather than something that belongs on the table. Part of their attitudes is our fault because since we're the ones who generally buy and prepare the food, we didn't make different choices way back when the relationship started -- and, which is why we're here dieting today.

My son complains every day that there's nothing to eat in the house and yet every day he finds something. The real issue is the the stuff that he really wants isn't there and he's forced to make other choices. It's not easy to make this type of change for other people -- YOU are ready to eat healthier and to lose weight, but THEY aren't ready to make the change and since you chose to do it, you kind of inflicted your diet on to them. Ultimately your choice is healthier... it's just they weren't ready to change.

Stay strong and don't cave in to their pressures. Compromise with them... buy some healthy stuff for you and some of the stuff that they want and slowly wean them away from those unhealthy choices and you will all benefit. Eat a lot of eggs!

Joined: Jun 13
Posts: 18

Posted: 16 Jul 2013, 02:46
try doing some of your shopping at 99 cent only stores if there is one in your area. they have fresh vegetables and fruits, basics such as bread, pasta, beans, rice, seasonings, milk, eggs, lunch meats, cereals, etc. Everything is just one dollar or less. You will be able to cut your shopping bill quite a lot if you use that resource.

You can also find a lot of recipes online that will help you make a meal from the ingredients you find on sale or at lower costs.

The Safeway stores all have a section in the meat and in the poultry section with reduced price items by 30% - 50%. I found a 10 oz package of seasoned boneless pork ribs there yesterday for $8.63 with 30% off. And a package of lean ground beef for 50% off. They also have a reduced price section where everything is 50% off and you will find all kinds of stuff that you can make a meal from.

You can also volunteer at your local food bank and they will give you a box of food that will stretch your foods for the week/month.

There should be weekly/bi-weekly food giveaways through churches and other sources in your area. You can usually find those by calling your local councilperson or the person who is the representative for your neighborhood.

There is no reason for you to not be able to eat you need for your weight loss/lifestyle. Though I don't have the financial constraints you do, I am dealing with a situation where my elderly mother lives with me and I prepare the meals for her. She is a sugar/carb addict and it is very difficult for me to have that kinds of thing in the house. I made the decision today to refrain from having any of these kinds of foods. I have to. I cannot keep on eating the quality and quantities I have been or I will die. So I have to change. Not expect her to because she won't / doesn't have to. It isn't about her. It is about me and I have to learn to live in a world with foods that I cannot eat the same way I had to learn to live in a world with alcohol and drugs I cannot have. It really takes vigilance and a dedication to putting yourself first. It is a hard thing to do. It is a really hard thing to do when you are responsible for taking care of others. But you have to. Or you die. good luck.

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