Monday, March 29, 2010

Food for Thought

When I go to the grocery store, I buy groceries – produce; staples like flour, sugar, spices; deli meats, etc.. I am not being sarcastic, I am saying that because I buy laundry & cleaning supplies and most paper goods at a warehouse club. I actually don’t even buy that much meat at the grocery store – only really good bargains because the warehouse club has better prices on that as well.

These days that means I shop at 1-3 stores each weekend. I have an application on my iPhone that is my grocery list so I sit down with the flyers and input what I need to buy, separating it by store, buying wherever the best bargains are. In other words, I work at keeping our costs down. You know why? Because it’s freaking expensive to eat healthy.

We are empty nesters so it’s just the two of us that I plan and cook for. This week, between the two stores, my groceries cost $148.45! Almost $150 to have fresh produce and non-processed foods for the week. This week, the only “meat” I bought was fresh Cod for $4.99 a pound.

Living healthfully is also time consuming. Between the shopping at the 2 stores yesterday and the time I spent on prep so that meals would be quick and easy during our busy week, I used up 6 hours of my day yesterday.

I honestly don’t know how larger families manage. And, I’m never surprised when it’s said that a lot of money is spent on frozen, ready made meals. They’re cheaper and faster than buying fresh food! Is it any wonder we are an obese nation?

Food for thought, indeed.

Here’s the recipe I’m making tonight with the fresh cod – it’s fast and delicious!

Baked Cod Mediterranean

1 ½ lbs. cod filet (try to get 1 “ thick)
1 (14 ½ oz.) can of Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 T drained capers
¼ cup sliced black and/or green pimiento stuffed olives
2 T grated Parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse fish and pat dry. Arrange fish in a baking dish. If your filet has thin ends, fold them under to make pieces uniform thickness.

Pour the tomates and juice over the fish then sprinkle with capers, olives, and Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 25 minutes.

The pan juices from this dish are delicious served over rice or couscous.

227 calories; 3.6g fat; 95 mg cholesterol; 516 mg sodium; 6.6g carbs; 1g fiber; 15.2g protein


  1. I have 4 kids and when they were all at home our food bill was astronomical if we ate stuff that was good for you. I admit we ate way too much processed stuff but sometimes that's all the budge would allow. Now only two are at home and the bill is still high, but I've gotten better about sniffing our bargains, finding coupons and the like. When we have to trim corners and cut back, it's not on the grocery bill because I am not going back to eating junk.

    You're right, it is time consuming, but in the end it's worth it.

  2. I'm getting ready to go food shopping, and I'm going to make that cod tonight! Thanks for the recipe.

    We're in the same boat - empty nesters - and it IS expensive to eat healthy. If you get a chance, watch Food, Inc. You get a sense about how the mass industrialization of the country's food sources makes eating poor quality the cheapest way to go. You're right - trying to feel a large family a truly healthy diet is probably twice as expensive, or more, than choosing highly processed food that is loaded with chemicals and additives.

  3. I plan menus and grocery shopping too. I have found that it saves money because there is less running to the store to grab something cause it's already in the house. I use everything I buy, there is little that goes to waste anymore. I think food in general has gone up in price. I used to be able to feed our family when there was 3 (and 1 was an infant) for $30 a week and that included dog food for a big dog.
    30 years ago but still makes me think hard about my grocery dollars.


  4. I want to start a family someday but I also want everyone to be healthy eaters. It's easy to eat healthy when it's just ME! I guess I will have to figure out something someday! What is the Iphone app you are using for your grocery list??

  5. Another reason to wish I had an i-phone!! It is so expensive to eat really well and now that my employment situation has changed I've really looked hard at our food bill. Now I make soup out of just about ANYTHING leftover to try to get a few more meals out of what we buy. Good news is that farmers markets are starting back up again and there are some good deals to be had on yummy fresh food!

  6. I spend 800 dollars a month on groceries...This includes toiletries and everything.
    I buy a lot of fresh produce and frozen veggies.
    I have two kids and a husband, a dog and a cat.
    I also use some of that for food storage.
    I eat hamburger. But the 93 percent kind.
    I eat chicken..breasts, but roasting is a cheap way to get chicken.
    I think people get a little too caught up in the term organic or whole grain.
    The funniest thing I saw was 'whole grain' taco, duh...they are made out of corn.
    My second favorite.
    Organic peanut butter.
    They come in shells.

  7. I guess I haven't sat down to do the math. But, I do know that I am saving money on not buying the treats and processed crap. It really IS cheaper to make my own pasta sauce and buy a box of whole wheat pasta than to buy those fresh single serving packs.

    I choose to live in denial about it. :) It makes me happy. But I love that recipe.

  8. What a great post Helen. It IS expensive to eat healthy food. And fast food drive in food is cheap, that's for certain.

    I know for certain that I feel better when I eat better. I'm sure that you feel the same way too.

    Thank goodness it's time to plant and soon the garden will be overflowing again with fresh, delicious produce :)

    By the way, I keep thinking about that quote from the tv show you posted on your blog - about needing to write a new story for ourselves. I need to write a new story, a new chapter. Instead of 'I'm the overweight athlete who can't seem to lose weight' I want to be the 'I'm the healthy weight athlete who is still working at becoming a better athlete' or something like that.


  9. I am a grocery store guru - for my family of 3 my weekly budget is $125 per week, but I rarely reach that - this week I spent $90 and I got chicken wings, chicken thighs, ground sirloin, ground chick, ground pork (I made potstickers!) and a pork roast.

    It helps though that my store I shop at has cheap fresh produce (.99 English cucumbers, .49 cents per pound for red peppers) and an awesome deli - a pound of hard salami was $1.99!

    I watched a show on t.v. where this family sustained themselves on the $1 menus of fast food restaurants because it was cheaper than buying groceries - so sad!

  10. I'm glad someone else admits that eating healthy is more expensive! I've heard a million places that eating healthy is cheaper and I always want to ask them how they do it! I get online coupons, shop based on sales, stock up on meat when its cheap, go to the farmer's market and the produce coop, generally don't eat organic, and still spend $70 for a week and a half of food for two people. That might not sound like much, but I live in a very low cost of living area! I used to be able to do 2 weeks for $50.

  11. I agree that it's pretty expensive to eat healthy, but for us, the cost is offset by the fact that we don't eat out very often anymore, as opposed to twice a day (lunch and dinner) most of the time. It does take more prep work, but the benefits are worth it.

  12. We're doing well to just avoid fast food. Can't beat the preparation time, and that dollar menu is alluring.

    I know, bad bad bad.

    Most everything else we get is pre-packaged.

  13. It sure is frustrating Helen, but it is true. Eating and living healthy is an inconvenience. Like you said, it is no wonder so much quick junk food is purchased and eaten.