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MANU11 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 3
10/9/11 2:50 A

oh Gosh tell me about the pocket pain in the store when u buy healthy foods. for the price of 1 bottle of milk u get 4 bottles of Coke here. n so on. Junk is dirt cheap, healthy is costing u a leg or a arm. But still, I try my best in feeding my fam of 6 the best way posb. We went to a slauter house, got a whole lot of beef (whole cow) n I went to a chicken farm, got LOTS of chicken and all that for very little cost. I cut my bill is half by doing this. I make my own garden, everything from tomatos, melon, watermelon, pumpkins, pickels, english cucumbers, reddish, broccolie, coliflower, cabbage, corn, potatos, etc. Tomatos, cabbage, pumpkins, corn, coliflowers, broccolie I cut up, n cook a little with little bit of salt, then I put them in containers (everything seperate) and freeze them for soups, or corn for salats etc. n then watermelon n melon I cut up, put a little little bit of sugar in it n freeze it too. I make juice out of it later. I save my self alot of money, n I know what I feed my 4 small kids. They dont know the difrents, but one day they sure will. We just NEVER buy junk like chips, coke, puddings, etc. They only eat them when they get them from grandma or aunti, but I have fruits n veggie lovers, so it is not hard to make meals to please them. They are small, but they do know what they like n dislike. I do buy farmers eggs, get them for a good price, but I have to go pick them up a few miles away. I also buy bananas n other fruits on sale, make a fruit salat later, or make smoothies from it. Kids n husband love it. I dislike most sweets anyways. I come from a country where it is, u plant it n have it or u just dream of having it. Cause there u can NOT affort to buy fruits or veggies if u have a few kids that love fruits or veggies. I live in Canada, n feel like I'm close to heaven, even if everyone complains that u can't afford healthy foods here. I have n always will as long as my body lets me have a garden. My mom is 50 now n has made her own garden from age 21 (when I was born) so she could feed her fam well. I dont like to fallow recepies, I make my own. But it always has meat, and lots of veggies in it. Then sometimes rice, or every now n then pasta/perogies with cottage cheese. This year I went to a few farmers markets too, cause I wanted to freeze more then just for 3-4 month now. Have 2 freezers full of GOOD stuff now. Good luck everyone, hope u all find a way to buy healthy foods for your fam.

MCOGIRL Posts: 102
10/8/11 7:31 A

use farmers markets - you are supporting local farmers and better prices...... Cook more vegetarian meals - meats are the most expensive things at the grocery. If you buy what is in season for fruits and veggies........ better tasting and cheaper.... And yes - freeze leftovers or plan on one prepared meal to have enough to last a couple days - less cooking and less waste. You have to be careful when buying fresh that you don't over buy - cause it doesn't last as long. Good luck. It will get easier. In the end processed foods are bad for your health which costs you more money in healthcare. Also try eating out less meals and use that money toward your grocery bill instead.

EJSTYLISH SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 15
10/7/11 11:05 P

In New Zealand healthy food costs soooo much more than the easy quick rubbish that we tend to put in front of our families coz its easier than having to think about what we are cooking.
Meat well don't get me started on Meat your looking at an average of $20(NZ Dollars ) a kg for a fairly good cut but even plain old ground beef & not the the good stuff is $12 a kg so your left either spending half your food bill on it coz your husband is a meat 7 nights a week type or you buy the cheapiest stuff you can buy which you know is not good for your family.
As for vegies tomatos got up to $16 a kg over winter which is daylight robbery.
So we have put in a vegie garden & a glass house so we can have fresh veg summer & winter & we get meat when its on special & buy more than what is needed for 1 meal so we can put the rest in the freezer & I look for recipes & other ways to make out meat go further.

Edited by: EJSTYLISH at: 10/7/2011 (23:31)
LEXGRACE SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 4
10/7/11 2:29 A

It does seem that healthy foods are expensive, but remember how much time and energy you're going to put into losing weight that cheap food full of empty calories put on you! It really isn't so expensive once you work into it. My youngest went vegetarian a couple of years ago and I've learned so much!

10/6/11 2:57 P

Clipping coupons doesn't seem to help much when you look at healthier foods. There just aren't any for produce and very few for lean meats. I've never seen a BOGO deal on tomatoes or fruits.

TBRANTNER3 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (10,505)
Posts: 606
10/4/11 3:20 P

Using the list from spark people was tragically expensive and time consuming. Only used it once. have found that buying lettuce(s) at the farmers market is so cheap, basically about $1.25 per head instead of $4.99 a pound at the grocery store.

SABLENESS Posts: 7,610
10/3/11 1:56 P

Paying more for quality food is better than co-pays on medical issues. You get lots more for your money buying healthy produce and meats than buying junk and fast food.

PATSYGIRL4 Posts: 37
10/2/11 3:26 P

Eating healthy can be expensive. I shop the local farmers market for what's in season and watch the grocery circulars for what's on sale. Frozen if I have to, but I prefer fresh. It helps to plan your meals in advance to keep the cost down, but that doesn't always work for me. Making extra and freezing half of it helps also down the road.

10/1/11 5:45 P

Yes, healthy food can be pricey. I buy bananas and berries on sale and freeze them for smoothies or to put in oatmeal. Many veggies can also be bought on sale then frozen. i learned to give my meals a makeover by using less expensive ground beef , pan frying, placeing in colander and rinsing with Hot water rinsing off most of the fat. I use for cassaroles, tacos, or any other recipe using chopped ground beef. Chicken breast can be bought on sale then frozen. Be careful of "diet" foods, some have added salt and sugar for flavor. Since equal, splenda. and stevia is a lot sweeter than sugar, it can increase sugar cravings since your body becomes used to the sweetness then foods containing sugar seems not so sweet causing someone to want to eat more.

Edited by: THIN-BY-SPRING at: 10/1/2011 (17:46)
FIREOPAL2 Posts: 121
10/1/11 5:17 P

Use a list. I do one main "shop" per week and that's always with a list. I made a standard list on my computer, print and post it on the refrigerator, and everybody circles what we need. Staying with a list helps keep costs down.

GRACIESMOM70 Posts: 1,345
10/1/11 10:23 A

It always surprises me when someone wants to lose weight but says buying healthy is to expensive especially the produce. Yes certain things are BUT, if you take the money you would spend on drive-ins or on candy, cookies, soda, chips and all the things that made you fat- you would have more money for the produce. Try it- it works

LAETU5 Posts: 1,405
9/30/11 11:31 P

I've noticed that almost every planned diet creates an outrageously high grocery bill because it has way too much it will want you to buy bread but then you only use two slices a week and the rest of the bread goes bad.

You can eat healthy just getting frozen meats and frozen veggies and it won't cost that much...not to mention that beans and oatmeal are cheap. Plus then all you have to know how to do is bake the meat (seasoning suggested) and steam veggies. Then all you have to do is figure out snacks...which might be things like greek yogurt (not that expensive if bought by the tub), string cheese, or apples.

JULIE3231 Posts: 13
9/29/11 1:01 P

My husband and I spend 2 hours shopping- the first hour is us shopping and the second one is me putting back all the crap he threw in the cart!

It definitely adds up. I clip coupons for the brand items i know we actually use and try to get things on sale. I buy produce in the summer from a local farmstand but in the winter I tend to buy more frozen vegetables. Also I buy extra onions and peppers when they are on sale and then just slice them and freeze them. Super handy for stir fries, fajitas, pizza.

To save more money (and calories), I bring my own lunches to work instead of buying them. I limit my use of frozen dinners and instead buy a large package of chicken breasts on sale (there is usually some "managers special" on chicken that is close to the sell by date) as well as the boxes of frozen veggies. Then when I get home I just season and bake the chicken and put it in a plastic container with the frozen veggies and freeze them.

Typically we will have one week where we buy and make a bunch of recipes and then the following week is eating the frozen leftovers or using the remaining ingredients (like pasta, sauce, meat, rolls, etc). For ex, this week we had chicken sausage subs one night but didnt eat the full package of sausage so next week I will throw the sausage in a crock pot with sauce, onion and peppers to have over pasta.

ANDREADAV SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (9,140)
Posts: 151
9/26/11 6:05 A

I fully understand how expensive it can be to eat healthy especially when my boys and I all have allergies guten/wheat and dairy plus I have severe allergy to soy. What I do is whenever possible I buy items that we use frequently buy it in bulk from the Coop we are members at.

AREEJ_R SparkPoints: (27,942)
Fitness Minutes: (24,346)
Posts: 2,384
9/25/11 3:37 P

Actually some times i considered that as my motivation
healthy foods are very expensive in our region
weekly i spent a lot of money
if i want to crave in junk food i remained myself with the bill looool

GNOCCHIBEAR SparkPoints: (11,441)
Fitness Minutes: (7,802)
Posts: 378
9/22/11 8:50 P

I sit down with all my circulars and make my menu by what's on sale. If salmon is on sale, then I search for low fat/calorie salmon recipes. It's time consuming at first but once you start putting together a tried and true cookbook for yourself, it will get easier.

Also, don't worry about making the switch over immediately. Use what you already have in the house and little by little you'll be able to rotate out the unhealthy stuff for healthier options. Food is too expensive to throw away!

See if you can join a CSA or see if you can get a group of ppl to go in with you and purchase a cow or chicken and split the meat up (and cost) between everyone.

Freezer veges are better than canned any day because they don't have the sodium in it that cans need for preserving. If you do buy canned, make sure you rinse the veges off with water.

I found that most coupons in the papers are for junk I would never buy so I call the manufactures directly. Tell them you like their product and ask them to send you a few coupons. They will!

Hope this helps!

1HOTTIEBODY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,076)
Posts: 390
9/20/11 9:09 A

I couldn't of found this post at a more reasonable time!
I just week grocery shopping I must admit I did pretty well, spent about what we normally spend, however I know there could of been better purchases, relating to Price.

I do plan on using up my current pantry items, deep freezer etc...
Its ridiculous how much healthier foods tend to cost. Its like we are setup to fail in eating and being healthy children & adults in life.

However, we can do what we can with what we have. I love fruits and veggies so that saves alot in snacks that are junk! The idea to eating healthier is still being to enjoy food without having to be 100% Fat-Free, No Calories, etc... Eat what you enjoy; cooking with different Oil, eat a portion size and add a fruit to the mix to feel full.

9/20/11 7:37 A

I buy whats onsale and I also buy alot of chicken and frozen veggies.

JENMAGS SparkPoints: (13,857)
Fitness Minutes: (8,118)
Posts: 493
9/19/11 7:58 P

I clip coupons, and only buy what is on sale. I will rarely buy something at full price since I know it will eventually be on sale. Don't be afraid of store brands. After cooking awhile, you will notice you may have most of the ingredients in your home already. A lot of the stuff is just spices.

I use and today I am trying a Gluten free recipe from here as we have juvenile diabetes in the home.

Remember...portion control is a big deal. Try not to over obsess on buying everything that has a healthy label on it. It doesn't work that way. Take your time. Cooking at home is already an enormous step to healthy eating.

Good Luck! emoticon

TAMMYC1970 Posts: 31
9/17/11 9:03 P

I too spend at least 2 hours in the grocery store, drives my better half insane lol.
I started a garden, but I have gotten very little from it thanks to the raccoon.
I go thru HyVee's weekly sale add, I make my meal plan for the week 3 meals a day for 7 days. I buy only what I need, and only whats on my list. I usually have 2 alternative meals, just in case something comes up and I run short on time.
But you really don't have to spend alot of money to eat healthy, you have to tweak the expensive, for moderate.

NOREENBX Posts: 761
9/13/11 8:18 A

Produce is expensive where I live. I look for sales and sometimes hit four stores (time consuing) to get everything I need. We also planted a huge vegetable garden which has helped a lot for some fresh tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, etc.

ADGIRL618 SparkPoints: (16,375)
Fitness Minutes: (2,617)
Posts: 602
9/7/11 11:52 A

Like many others, I don't really stick with my spark meal plan - I look at it and use it as a guide occasionally to make sure I'm staying on the right track nutritionally. Things to keep in mind when on a budget - don't waste anything!
Example: chicken is almost always on sale - sometimes its the breast, sometimes the thighs, sometimes the whole chicken. Most times, try to get the chicken that is still on the bone and use the bones to make your own stock. When you get fresh veggies, automatically save a little and chop them up to use in soups or to make vegetable stock which can actually be very tasty. While it may take a little more time, you did save money on the dried beans and I agree with the other person who said to take them and freeze them or use them in another recipe.
Your freezer can be your best friend. Almost anything can be tossed into a soup and frozen in individual containers. Fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro are very inexpensive and can be used to change the flavors of lots of things. For example, take a cup of your black beans, add a can of rotel tomatoes (the kroger brand works well) and toss in a few tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro to eat warm. You can also add a little onion (red, white or green for color and taste) along with a squeeze of lime juice and make it into a salsa. Or add some cooked brown rice and make stuffed peppers with a little zip. The possibilities are endless :-)

ABLEWASI Posts: 15
9/7/11 11:24 A

I'm glad I stopped in to review this topic. Loads of great ideas. I enjoy cooking but I'm usually fixing meals off the cuff with very little preplanning. It's something I'd like to work on. I read some very useful tips in here . Thank you!!

LOVEH01 Posts: 5
8/27/11 5:16 A

If you aren't used to cooking, it can be a bit intimidating at first but with a few basic techniques and an internet connection; you'll be a pro in no time!

Here are some suggestions for getting started:
This site has a good breakdown of basic culinary techniques that will help you add variety to your cooking (ex.: Instead of roasting chicken you can learn to braise it for a completely different flavor, or instead of pan frying you can try poaching, etc.).
This site has a recipe search engine that helps you find recipes based on the ingredients that you type in (i.e., what you already have in your pantry/fridge).

So if you have some leftover ingredients from your last recipe and you don't know what else to do with them, that site will help find some new recipes for you. And if the recipes call for a technique you aren't familiar with, check it out on the other site and see what you find.

Finally, this site will help you to sort out your leftovers!

Knowing which foods freeze well can mean the difference between saving or wasting time & food. I am not a fan of immediate leftovers but most recipes yield at least 4 servings so I store the remaining servings for later by freezing them (when possible), which saves me cooking time at a later date.

Having a decently stocked freezer can be a lifesaver on those days when you come home exhausted from work and just don't have the energy to "try something new" in the kitchen and it keeps you from ordering up delivery and throwing your weight-loss efforts off-track.

Hope this helps.

DEE_0213 SparkPoints: (4,594)
Fitness Minutes: (4,775)
Posts: 26
8/25/11 10:44 P

For veggies and produce, I try to grow my own and can or freeze it and buy from the farmer's market when in season. I live in the city now and I can even grow a good portion of the veggies and fruits we eat here.

I found a butcher where I can get good local beef that is very lean. This beef is so lean that some people don't like it because burgers can be a bit dry. And it is reasonably priced too.

ERAUSER329 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (10)
Posts: 37
8/25/11 8:18 P

I know. That is why it is so hard to stay on a diet.

8/25/11 3:34 P

Good tips on planning. Here is another one. Instead of trying to replace everything in your pantry with only healthy foods, try using what you already have and making it "healthier" till it's gone. For example; if a recipe calls for brown rice and you still have white at home, go ahead and use it. Yes the brown rice is better for you but if everything else about the recipie is healthy, you are on the right track. Next time you "need" to buy rice get the brown. Also many produce items can be used mix-match. Green peppers for red & vice verse. A bag of fresh spinach can be used in a salad, wilted with some onion and bacon bits for a side dish or stirred into pasta and even put on pizza. Still don't know what to do with a leftover item? Try typing it into the Spark Recipe site, you're sure to find something you like.

NASHGAL Posts: 11
8/24/11 7:04 P

I too love to cook healthy once a week and then freeze the rest. Works wonderfully and even makes my budget healthier!

DOTTYCOMM SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 5
8/24/11 6:50 P

Can you start a small garden? Maybe just a tomato plant or a pepper plant.. or even one of those nifty herb gardens... I started gardening last year and have cut my grocery bill to something almost negligible... I also have the ability to raise chickens and goats and whatnot so that helps too... Another alternative is to go to some of these websites that allow you to input what you already have in your pantry and they generate recipes based on that info... here's one i like.. or this one...

at any rate, if you are still feeling froggy with the spark recipes... you can always google swiss chard emoticon good luck!

UMESHKMISHRA SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,352)
Posts: 8
8/24/11 8:40 A

I don't think so. There are so many options there.

ELLEN0407 Posts: 2,037
8/23/11 6:23 P

buy on sale and farms to save. also ethnic grocers can be cost effective too.

GINLU55 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (315)
Posts: 8
8/23/11 6:22 P

I also feel the pain at the grocery store! I do not use the Sparks meal plans. I have a Taste of Home Diet cook book that have some great receipes in it that list the calories for each portion. I can make several meals with these receipes that use up any "extra" items I may have bought. I try to shop for as many "store brand" products as possible to save money. I started at 214 pounds in April and am down to 186 now. I hope to loose another 27 or more by the end of the year. Then I will set another small goal until I reach my final goal.

Fitness Minutes: (20,400)
Posts: 2,704
8/23/11 4:09 P

I could never follow Spark's meal plans. I search the internet for healthy recipes (see my Spark Blog a few days ago for a list of my favourite sites) and then look for crossover- if I need cilantro in this recipe, what else can I cook that week to use it up? I've got half a cup of dry red lentils in the pantry, and half a cup of brown basmati rice... how can I cook those things to make the base for a good meal? If I'm going to roast up a bunch of veggies, what can I do on the stove top while they're roasting? I plan out what I want to eat in ways that minimize waste and save money, and then I make my own grocery shopping list, divided into sections. I put all the produce together, all the dairy together, things from the bakery together and anything from a middle aisle together. I even put the sections in order of when I'll pass them in the supermarket! I also buy a lot of ingredients in the bulk food section of my local health food store. I'm a single girl and I don't need a whole bag of farro... a cup from the bulk bin is all I need- and it's cheap!

8/23/11 2:20 A

Yeah, the cost has been a major hurdle for my wife and I. One thing I wish I could do with Spark is put in a basic inventory of what I have so it will attempt to use those ingredients before they go bad or rather than having to buy all new stuff the next week when I hav plenty of stuff. For example, I buy a large bag of rice, and it knows what I've made and how much I have left, so I can tell it to try to incorporate 2 rice meals a week. Or maybe that is possible and I don't know it.

DS41980 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (782)
Posts: 86
8/22/11 9:46 P

I can relate. Its just me I have to feed and it seems expensive. In order to curb costs I am going to find out which grocery store is the least expensive. The good thing is that I have hardly any waste. I use the meal plan as a guide for counting calories and I have been trying 1 or 2 new recipes per week out of the Hungry Girl cookbooks and website. If you want you can see my nutrition tracker on my sparkpage. When I first started it was more expensive per week because of all the stock items I bought (such as wheat flour). Its getting less expensive now. The hints about using up leftovers is great and I try to use up all my leftovers before I go shopping again. Good job on sticking with it!

DIANAB-IN-OR Posts: 139
8/22/11 7:57 P

Chili sounds good! You saved money by buying the dried black beans, but it does take more time. If you are soaking and cooking the entire bag, you are going to end up with a lot more than a can's worth. So pull out what you need of the cooked beans (one can is 1.5 C of beans, drained) and then you can put the rest in the freezer (either in plastic containers or ziplock bags). Measure them into 1.5 C amounts and you'll have them ready to go the next time you want beans. Then you just have to thaw!

When writing out your grocery list, put items by type. All the produce together, all the meat together, all the cans together, etc. That way when you are in the produce section you can easily see everything you have. The next time you go to the store, write down the aisle # and what is on each one. Then when you are making your list you can know exactly what will be next to each other. Just make a plan. :)


WKRUBLE Posts: 3
8/22/11 5:31 P

Thanks for the great tips everyone!! It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one who spends that much time at the grocery. Next time I will just plan to be there for a long time so I won't get stressed. I think you guys have some great ideas and I'm going to follow your advice. Using leftovers and eating the same thing more than one time a week is going to have to be my strategy so that food doesn't go bad and I can spend less money.

For a while I was just finding recipes on the SparkRecipes app and I'd cook ones that seemed easy and that I knew my boyfriend would actually eat, haha. When I started the meal plan, the goal was to eat those healthy recipes for all three meals and to incorporate more fruit etc. I think I can make it work, but I definitely need to take more control over the options and pick recipes that are more on my level. Tonight I'm supposed to make vegetable chili, which would not be hard except I panicked at the grocery and accidentally bought dry black beans instead of the precooked cans of beans (I told you I panic at the grocery and make rash, terrible decisions right?). So now I have googled how to make dry black beans and have begun the 2.5 plus hour process of letting them soak etc. Sometimes I get over zealous in my goals ;) I will try to calm down and pay more attention next time because I really want to lose weight and make this plan work!!!

DIANAB-IN-OR Posts: 139
8/22/11 5:15 P

Dropcone had a lot of great ideas.

Spending a couple hours shopping can be normal. If you plan your menus for two weeks out, you can spend two hours shopping for two weeks instead of one. And you will get to know your store better. :)

One thing that really starts to add up is the processed food. If you are eating Lean Cuisine every lunch, that'll add up quick. When you make dinner, make enough to have some for leftovers for lunch.

A way to save on veggies is to buy what's on sale. This time of year, there is still a lot of seasonal fruits and veggies available for inexpensive. Not only is it cheaper, but it's probably local and much more fresh. If you don't know what to do with it, search for those specific ingredients when looking for recipes.

I understand that you are new to cooking in general, but try to stick to learning some basics first. Take a look at the list of ingredients. If you are unfamiliar with 1/2 of your shopping list, chances are they are going to get expensive. Pick just one or two new recipes to try each week. Don't make it overly complicated. (If you are having to put too much work into cooking you will be less likely to keep it up as well!)

Now that you've bought some stuff, figure out what you still have left when planning next week's menu. Still have half a box of couscous? Make the same recipe or something else using couscous. Often times things in bigger boxes are less expensive per pound. So buying the bigger bag of rice will be a better deal in the long run. (But this only works if you know you'll eat the product. Don't buy so much that it goes to waste!)

There are lots of ways to eat healthy and not break the bank. Let yourself figure out what you are doing before you stress too much. Let me know if you want more ideas. I'm quite the frugal shopper. :)

DROPCONE Posts: 1,592
8/22/11 3:12 P

Good for you on starting the meal plan! I love couscous, I'm so glad your first experiment with cooking healthier went all right. You will get better the more you do it, I promise.

I completely sympathize with your experience! I had similar experiences when first grocery shopping with healthier eating in mind, although I didn't (and still don't) follow the meal plan strictly. I was used to shopping one way, and it was a real big learning curve to shop for more healthy things, and learn to cook them. I use the meal plan more as a guide, a source of ideas for healthy foods that may not otherwise occur to me.

Your comment about "who spends 2 hours in a grocery" really made me chuckle, because I do! And I'm shopping for only two. I bet a lot of people do. I spend a lot of that time reading food labels on the packaged products I still purchase to make sure they fit into my plan. You can cut that time down by always shopping at the same grocery, because you will learn where that grocery has everything over time.

The other thing I recommend is to look at the meal plan's units. What one needs for the meal plan might not be that much of a particular thing, but the grocery will have it in a large bundle that might be a waste of money if one can't finish it before it goes bad. So I might skip that thing. For instance, if I were following the meal plan, I would need one beet. My grocery sells bundles of beets, not single beets. So, I would skip the beet. (No pun intended!)

Also, many things will last more than a week. If the meal plan had you buying brown rice and wild rice, depending on how much you bought, you may not have to buy those things next week.

Learning to shop healthier is not easy! But you can do it!

edited to add: It is OK to change things around on the meal plan if what is listed is not working for you. There are lots of ways to make healthy substitutions that might cut your expenses. Good luck!

Edited by: DROPCONE at: 8/22/2011 (15:17)
SNOOPY1960 Posts: 1,687
8/22/11 3:05 P

I agree, eating healthy is outrageously expensive !!

I typically buy products that are on sale, other than that , I can't afford it.

Not sure what your meal plan is, maybe you can substitute some veggies for other lower cost ones or ones that are on sale.

Edited by: SNOOPY1960 at: 8/23/2011 (16:15)
WKRUBLE Posts: 3
8/22/11 12:10 P

I am on week two now of following the meal plan and using spark recipes. My first big adventure to the grocery store to buy everything on the grocery list they provide was quite difficult for me. I am new to the cooking world and don't know much about "healthy" foods or how to shop for them. I think I spent like 45 minutes in the produce section just staring at everything trying to figure out what the hell leaf was swiss chard. Then I rushed through the rest of the store going back and forth and back and forth because I didn't know where anything was and I didn't want to be at the grocery for 2 hours (who spends 2 hours at a grocery?!?) When I finally checked out I was shocked at the bill, sweating profusely from being nervous and pushing the heavy cart, and I had a bad feeling that I was going to get home and not be able to cook any of this s***. Last night I cooked couscous for the first time and it actually turned out ok, which made me feel a little bit better about how much money I spent. I also know though that I can't spend that much for a week's worth of groceries. Any suggestions on how to alter the meal plans or recipes for a girl who lives on a graduate student stipend??

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