Eating Healthy Without Breaking the Bank – a (non-scientific) CAFB experiment.
February 27, 2009 § 15 Comments
We’re excited to see so much blogging about food stamp challenges around the country. From our friend Ed Nicholson from Tyson Foods to CNN news anchor Sean Callebs, to our own President & CEO, David Davenport who did the challenge for almost a month, bloggers are changing people’s perceptions about living on a food stamp budget and exposing the emotional toll of living on the cusp of food insecurity.
One theme emerging from food stamp challenge participants is how difficult it is to eat healthy on a limited budget. Low-income families often must balance the need for nutritious foods and the need to feel satiated at the end of a meal. That in part, is the inspiration for our legislative agenda to provide healthy foods to low income children. It also inspired us to do our own (non-scientific) experiment. Is it possible to choose healthier foods without breaking the bank? Is it true that choosing healthier options is prohibitively expensive for low-income families? Our AmeriCorps VISTA, Carrie Gibson, volunteered to gather data. To make this as true-to-life as possible, we followed a few simple rules:
1. The shopping must be done at a grocery store in a low-income neighborhood, easily accessible to public transportation.
2. We chose foods that had both a low-nutrition/quality version and a high-nutrition quality version.
3. For the high-nutrition/quality foods, we did not choose organic options, even if they were available, since most low-income neighborhoods do not offer organic products.
Here’s our list:
|16 oz bag of white rice: $0.64||16 oz bag of brown rice: $0.86|
|16 oz bag of ground beef: $2.79||16 oz bag of ground turkey: $1.49|
|14.5 oz can of tomatoes: $0.69 ($0.04/oz)||Fresh roma tomatoes: $0.98/lb; ($0.06/oz)|
|15 oz Can of peaches in syrup: $0.92 ($.06/oz)||3 fresh peaches= 15 oz @ $1.49/lb = $1.39|
|Can of spinach: $0.59||Bag of fresh spinach: $3.49|
|12 oz Imitation maple syrup: $1.09 ($.09/oz)||8.5 oz real maple syrup: $5.45 ($0.64/oz)|
|64 oz. 10% fruit juice: $1.89||64 oz. 100% apple juice: $2.19|
|Box of generic sugar cereal loops: $1.89||Box of whole grain Cheerios: $2.52|
|Packets of oatmeal with artificial fruit flavors: $1.99 ($0.15/oz)||Box of plain oatmeal with no additional packaging: $1.49 (bigger size; $0.08/oz)|
|Bag of shredded iceberg lettuce: $1.69||Bag of shredded romaine lettuce: $2.89|
|Boxed frozen fish with breading: $3.39/lb of fish sticks||Fresh cut tilapia filets: $6.99/lb|
|32 oz sweetened Yoplait yogurt: $2.15||32 oz unsweetened yogurt with acidophilous: $4.09|
|12 oz white spaghetti: $1.04 ($0.08/oz)||13.25 oz whole wheat spaghetti: $1.29 ($0.09/oz)|
|7 oz canned jalapenos: $0.62 ($0.09/oz)||Fresh jalapenos $0.84/pound = $.05/oz|
|Loaf of white bread: $0.69||Loaf of 100% whole wheat bread with no high frutcose corn syrup $1.93|
|17 oz vegetable oil: $1.00||17 oz olive oil: $4.19|
|.5 gallon of orange juice from concentrate: $1.79||.5 gallon of orange juice not from concentrate: $2.99|
The total for low-nutrition foods: $26.75
The total for high-nutrition foods $45.97
The difference: $19.22, or a little less than three hours extra work for Texans earning the minimum wage($6.55 per hour).
What do you think?
Have you compromised on making healthier choices in your shopping list? Please comment, and pass it on.