Get Fit and Save Money

frugal food and fitness

The “experts” say that low income families have higher levels of obesity because “healthy” food is too expensive.

I say….B.S.

You can eat healthy on a small budget.

  • This free ebook from Kerry Taylor shows you how to eat healthy and save money.
  • This post from Mark’s Daily Apple shows you how to eat a paleo-style diet on the cheap.
  • The Eat Well guide helps you find healthy and affordable foods in your neighborhood (Thanks to the Healthy Irishman for putting me onto this resource)
  • Fitness magazine has a ton of money-saving, healthy dinner recipes – Buddha Stir-Fry $3.04

stir fry recipe

  • McDonalds does not – Big Mac combo $5.29

big mac combo

  • Kathy’s Healthy Food on a Budget blog is another fine resource
  • Jimmy Moore shows you how to eat low carb on a budget (sorry about the singing)

And what about the government’s involvement in the cost of healthy food?

government food subsidies

Billions of your tax dollars being spent on farm subsidies, and with less than 1% goes to America’s fruit & vegetable farmers…is it any wonder that a salad costs more than a Big Mac?

But, there is hope.

image: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
image: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

New York City is planning to “offer zoning and tax incentives to spur the development of full-service grocery stores that devote a certain amount of space to fresh produce, meats, dairy and other perishables”.

The plan — which has broad support among food policy experts, supermarket executives and City Council members, whose approval is needed — would permit developers to construct larger buildings than existing zoning would ordinarily allow, and give tax abatements and exemptions for approved stores in large swaths of northern Manhattan, central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, as well as downtown Jamaica in Queens….read more

So, there you go…no more excuses.

  • You can eat healthy while on a budget.
  • And if you want to save even more money, tell the senior levels of government how you would like to see your tax dollars spent (or not spent) on farm subsidies.
  • And then tell your municipal governments to create bylaws like NYC.


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  1. Thanks for all the links! I’ll definitely check those out.

    A serving of the Buddha stir fry may be cheaper than a Big Mac combo, but that’s not the entire story. You can’t just buy half a bell pepper, a quarter of a brick of tofu, a few teaspoons of chili sauce, etc., to make the stir fry–you have to buy all of the ingredients to make however many servings the recipe makes. So while a serving may only cost about $3, what you actually have to pay might be closer to $20 or so. And if you only have $5 and change in your pocket, you are going to get the Big Mac, because that’s what you can afford at the moment.

    That’s what we need to work on fixing, but I have no idea how. :-/

  2. Just yesterday my wife and I were talking about how expensive salad fixings are. For example, here in the U.S., you can go to Wendy’s and get a grilled chicken (3 oz.) Ceasar salad for about $4.60. Or get a basic burger and fries for probably $3.25. The latter has more energy (calories) in it.

    Thanks for the graph on farm subsidies. It explains a lot. (But take anything from PCRM with a grain of salt.)

    I’m on the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet now, so I guess I benefit from the meat subsidies. But the diet also requires about 14 oz (400 g) of low-carb veggies a day. You can also get a 5-ounce can of tuna for about $1.00 if you shop carefully. Great source of protein and omega-3 fats.


  3. Brit,

    Your $5 scenario is a perfect example of why short term thinking is a much bigger problem than the actual cost of healthy food.

    I agree that you will need to spend more than $3 at the supermarket to get your ingredients for the stir-fry.

    Down-side: You have to drop $20 (short-term pain)
    Up-side: You have ingredients for 7 stir-frys (long-term gain)

    Conversely, if you choose to go the Big Mac route:

    Up-side: You only need $5 to get your burger fix(short term gain?)
    Down-side: 7 Big Macs costs $35 (long term pain)

    $35 vs $20

    Healthy food wins!!!!

    Cheaper and better for you

  4. DR,

    Oh, no, I understand that and agree with you, but that’s not the type of scenario I meant.

    Whenever I talk to other people online about the high price of health food, they bring up the people who are living day to day, and may not have that $20 on them. So while the stir fry may be cheaper in the long run, if you don’t have $20 at one time, you still can’t do it.

    What if the person hasn’t cooked before? They might need to buy pots, pans, knives, and everything that we already have, which might be cost prohibitive for them. And then there are others who might not have access to a working stove or fridge. And we can’t forget that time is money. If someone’s coming back from working two jobs, and they barely have enough time to sleep, are they really going to want to take the time to go shopping and then cook?

    Sorry for going on and on. People can be passionate about this issue, and I guess it’s rubbing off on me.

  5. Are we talking about homeless people who beg on the street?

    If that’s who you’re talking about, I agree 100%.

    If not, then I still say that the price of healthy food isn’t the problem…short term thinking is the problem.

    Even people on welfare get a check from the gov’t every 2 weeks. It’s at that point, that people need to look at their budget and decide how to divide their income – rent, food, utilities, etc…

    If you don’t know how to cook, go online and learn. Libraries across the nation offer free internet.
    Who doesn’t have a working stove or fridge? other than the homeless, who doesn’t have a stove or at least a microwave or a hotplate?

    And time? come on. I have a hard time believing that there are people in North America who can’t find 30 minutes a day for meal prep. You said that if someone is working two jobs and they barely have time enough to sleep, are they really going to want to take time to go shopping and then cook?

    Probably not, but are they going to want to be even poorer because they spend a higher percentage of their meager earnings on fast food…or get fact and sick because they eat fast food instead of healthy food…or pass these lessons onto their kids and perpetuate the poverty and obesity and illness?

    Our ancestors who lived through the Great Depression have been called the Greatest Generation. They lived on a lot less than today’s poor does.

    It all comes back to long term thinking vs short term thinking.

    However, it isn’t only “the people” who are engaged in short term thinking. The current agricultural and healthcare policies at work in Canada and the U.S. are perfect example of short term thinking. Food policies focus on cheap production instead of health. Healthcare focuses on disease and profit instead health.

  6. Hi Douglas! Thank you so much for the mention and the link! I’ve long been a fan of eating real foods to keep physically and financially fit. It’s a pleasure to find another Canuck who blogs about the costs of eating junk. That Big Mac combo for $5.29 just makes me so sad.

  7. “If not, then I still say that the price of healthy food isn’t the problem…short term thinking is the problem.”

    I don’t know…I’m just going off the discussions I’ve heard. I can’t remember where I got all that the last time, but a new one is starting up, so if you want to follow along:

  8. I loved this page so much I bookmarked it! I really think your website is so informative and so useful to people actually realizing health is important now days and they don’t know where to start. Im in college, so trying to be healthy and keeping my wallet heavy are always a priority. Thanks again!!

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