Eating Healthy and Organic on $7 a Day


We’ve all heard the joke: Whole Foods, whole paycheck. The humor seems exaggerated, until you shop there or at some other natural foods market. Before you know it you’ve spent $70 or more when all you were after was Fair Trade coffee, a fresh baguette and a few excellent cheeses

Sound familiar? One man recently admitted it costs him $800 a month to purchase his groceries from Whole Foods, and he’s only buying for himself, his girlfriend and an average-sized dog that he feeds like a human. That’s $200 a week—between $28 and $29 a day for a man, a woman and one satisfied pet. Who can afford that?

Well, plenty of people are trying to. According to recent statistics from The Hartman Group, a Bellevue, Wash.-based market research firm,  73 percent of the U.S. population consumes organic food and beverages at least some of the time. What’s more, the Hartman research shows that it’s not just the stereotypical highly-educated, high-income, Caucasian female who buys organic. African Americans, Asian Americans and Latino Americans are a fast-growing segment of organic consumers, according to Blaine Becker, the firm’s director of marketing and communications.

In fact, almost as many households with an annual income of less than $50,000 are buying organic foods, as are households with incomes higher than $50,000. This means that people who earn less are still choosing more expensive organic products.

But that leaves a fundamental problem: How can you eat healthy without going broke?

To find out, MSN Health & Fitness sought help from nutritionist Lynn Smith, a registered dietitian and owner of Source Nutrition services in Boulder, Colo. Our mission: To see if a single person can eat a healthy and predominantly organic foods diet on $7 a day. That’s $50 a week, $200 a month.

When I met Smith at a Whole Foods store, she immediately brought me down to earth with a sobering assessment: “This means you have $2 for breakfast, $2 for lunch, $2 for dinner, and $1 for a snack.” With that reality check, we hit the aisles.

Work the Healthy Combinations

Before pricing produce, Smith outlines several healthy combinations of food that help when on a tight budget.

“The first is balance,” she says. “About a quarter of your plate should be protein, one-third veggies, and a quarter to a third starchy carbs.” For the rest, fill it out with any of the three, along with a smaller amount of healthy fats.

Combining certain foods helps complete a meal, says Smith. One mainstay combination for this Healthy Eating on $7 a Day mission is beans and a grain.

“Beans have protein and good, complex, starchy carbs,” says Smith. “Rice alone is not going to last you as long as it will when paired with beans.”

The next combination is a grain and vegetables, topped off with a plant-based protein like almonds or tofu. The third meal combination is a salad with adequate protein and fat, and some type of carbohydrate.

“In this case you would use nuts or eggs on the salad, and then on the side you would either have whole grain bread, or a cup of bean soup, or hummus.”

Smith’s fifth combination for healthy eating—pairing vegetables with fish or meat—is out, at least on a regular budgetary basis, for the $7-a-day shopper. Most meats and seafood are too expensive. Which brings us back to the produce aisle.

Link to Eating Healthy and Organic on $7 a Day – MSN Health & Fitness – Diet & Fitness


About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
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One Response to Eating Healthy and Organic on $7 a Day

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