It's expensive to raise healthy kids!

Canada
December 28, 2006 4:33pm CST
I have a real problem with the fact that, where I live, I can buy a 2-liter bottle of soda for maybe 87 cents on sale but it costs between $2.50 and $3.00 for a 2-liter of skim milk! We hear in the news, on a regular basis, that we are raising a generation of overweight or obese children but it costs so much to maintain a healthy diet. We buy all of our fresh produce at the local farmers' market and usually get better quality and prices than in the supermarket. But, truth be told, I often pass up drinking milk (when I too need the calcium) to leave more of it available to my kids. I try to supplement my calcium intake with other dairy products, broccoli, etc. because I don't think that pill-form supplements should be the ONLY fall-back. I'm not bringing up these points to start a discussion of the economics of supply and demand or the differences in production costs between a dairy farm and a soda factory. We all know about such things to varying degrees. So, here are my questions for all of you here: Do you have healthy eating habits? Are you feeding a family, a couple or are you a single person? What are your best tips for eating well on a REASONABLE budget? I'm always looking for great suggestions :)
6 people like this
55 responses
• United States
29 Dec 06
My feelings on eating healthy are that when I have tried to eat healthy, it can drive you broke. When you compare the costs of all that organic, wheat, whole grain foods, they are usually more expensive to buy and come in less quantities than regular food. If you do have problems eating healthy and have trouble supporting yourselves, there is always the WIC programs, if you qualify. I personally have never been on it, but they do give you some money for food and milk, things that are nutritious. I don't know too much about the program, but it is available to you if you qualify. They give you nutritious meal plans and some money for the nutritious meals also!
1 person likes this
• Canada
29 Dec 06
I really think those are good plans for people that need them! There is one in our area that helps pregnant women ... it's called something like "O-L-O" (it's french and stands for Oeuf, Lait, Orange -- or Egg, Milk, Orange). It helps them to have protein, dairy, fruit, etc., so they have the best chance at a healthy pregnancy. Our family is lucky in that we do just fine... but I also spend a lot of time being careful about the budget. It takes a bit of extra time to check up on things but it really helps to keep on top of it.
@tammytwo (4304)
• United States
29 Dec 06
Sorry, don't have many tips other than I use coupons a lot. But yes it is expensive to raise healthy children. Those snack cakes cost about 98 cents when some good fresh fruit is like $3 per pound. We have five of us to feed and spend about $125 per week just getting enough for one meal per day.
1 person likes this
• Canada
29 Dec 06
EXACTLY tammytwo! And the worst part is that the $3 per pound fruit doesn't last very long when you're dividing it between that many people. I try to alternate fresh fruit in their lunchbags with things like applesauce and that seems to help some.
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
29 Dec 06
in our household we have to buy a gallon of milk a day and the store in front of where we live charges $3.85 a gallon. In town it is cheaper but by the time you add gas cost to get there it equals out to cost more. Yes I agree totally with you becuase it is cheaper to buy a pop and a bag of chips hten it is to buy something healthy. But they can't lower the prices of the fresh foods becuase it would hurt the farmers in there wallets and If they raised the price of junk foods alot of kids would go hungry because that is all they will eat. I am going to try to make my home a lower fat home this coming new year I will probably have a food strike going on though lol. I usually only buy it weekly because you can geet some good deals sometimes the fruit goes on sale grapes are 3.69 pound now where I live. shame.
1 person likes this
• Canada
29 Dec 06
"I will probably have a food strike going on..." LOL! That's so cute. It's definitely hard to change habits (and it's even harder when they are bad habits! LOL) but it's a really great goal to have for the new year. I agree on the price of fresh fruit in the winter... yikes! I did take the time to freeze some fruit as it came into season over the summer... I did lots of blueberries, for example, and I'm really enjoying having those on hand. Not enjoying the current high price of salad greens though :( We love salads too much to skip them.
• India
29 Dec 06
its not that expensive..
1 person likes this
@JC1969 (1226)
• United States
29 Dec 06
I know what you mean about the cost of encouraging healthy eating habits. We are a family of 5, and we spend to eat healthy. Because we feel it is important, we tend to cut back on other things to help offset the cost of eating better--eating healthy. We also never go out to eat fast food. No one in our family likes or eats red meats, and there is even a vegetarian amongst us. I find that poultry is cheaper than beef products at the commissary where we shop, which is helpful to us because we don't eat beef. I shop for veggies and if something is on sale, I buy extra and freeze. I also go food shopping with a clear cut list of what I need and I do my best not to stray from what is on the list--and rule of thumb is do not take the kids food shopping with you so you can avoid buying the extras they tend to stick in the cart. I also use coupons, in fact last week I saved over $30.00 by using coupons. Another good tip is to look at your portion servings of food. More often than not, people tend to eat more of a portion than is really needed. If you could learn to portion properly, you could also cut back on how much you buy, or benefit from leftovers you will have.
• Canada
29 Dec 06
Oh, great point! NEVER take the kids shopping with you, if you can avoid it (I try to leave the husband home, too... he is too impulsive around food and snacks LOL) ... the CEREAL AISLE alone is like a budget minefield!
• United States
29 Dec 06
you said it. i will do as you said.
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
29 Dec 06
yea we dont take our kids with us either cause they drive me NUTS...and we also dont eat fast food other than Sat morning my husband and I go for coffee together at Tim Hortons and sometimes we'll have a sausage biscut but thats our time so it doesnt count LOL
@srhelmer (6933)
• Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
28 Dec 06
I generally try to make healthy meals that will give us a lot of leftovers. For example, whenever I make spaghetti, I make enough to last us for at least lunch and dinner the next day. So, for about $5, I'm making 3 meals. In terms of meat, I have an uncle who is a farmer and, whenever he slaughters a cow, I buy a quarter. I can usually get a couple hundred pounds of steaks, hamburger, etc. for about $100-120.
@srhelmer (6933)
• Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
28 Dec 06
Oh, and don't overlook the benefit of a vegetable garden. Both for saving money and for knowing what pesticides, etc were used on the vegetables.
• Canada
28 Dec 06
Great tip! Pasta is a great budget stretcher, don't you find? I try to do the same as you... if I cook a ham, I make sure that we're going to get a hot meal one night and enough leftovers for sandwiches for a few days (since deli meats are pricey and not always good quality). No one buys lunch either... I make "brown bag" lunches for both kids and my husband. That way, I know they get fruit, veggies, cheese, yogurt, etc., rather than the french fries I know they'd buy if they had the money LOL
@srhelmer (6933)
• Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
28 Dec 06
One thing that is common in Wisconsin that was passed down from immigrants with lots of children, is making a pot of chili and adding macaroni to it. The macaroni fills you up faster and the chili will last longer.
@taruha (560)
• United States
29 Dec 06
To have best eating in the specified limited budget, one has to start cooking at home daily.once a while, hotel is ok but otherwise,cook all things at home by bringing all the items needed from the stores.yes.the expence like milk etc cannot be reduced by this but reduction of other expences can help you to spend more on children.
• United States
29 Dec 06
sure it can, if your kids like skim milk buy whole and add water, they wont know the difference if you use it on the cereal : )
• Canada
29 Dec 06
Skim milk is the cheapest milk choice where I live and, fortunately, we all like it. Some people have recommended buying powdered milk but I just don't know about that... it REALLY doesn't appeal to me. Can anyone tell me about it and how good or bad it would be? LOL
@Rapture (84)
• United States
29 Dec 06
Technically it is more expensive to raise unhealthy kids, doctors vists, surgary... its all far more expensive than a lifetime supply of healty food and exersise You can live without milk, its actually healthyier to live without milk... so thats really not an excuse to give the kids sugary drinks, not for anyone, milk is really only good if you need to fatten up You can join a local cooperative to help raise fresh foods for your family, and trade with family owned farms for things like babysitting, milking the cows so a family can go on vacation, and lots of other things
• Canada
29 Dec 06
Great points, Rapture :) You're right -- it IS expensive to be unhealthy. I'm really trying to push water as a preferred beverage, as I was mentioning, because I already managed to limit their intake of juices (that just aren't as good as some people think they are) and now I just need to further curb the sodas. Thanks for your suggestions too!
• United States
29 Dec 06
try making your own juices at home, with veggies and fruits together, that way you get the good taste of the fruits, and the good nutrition of the veggies, and none of the garbage they put in it at the supermarket these days, the kids will love it too
@bryelee (452)
• United States
29 Dec 06
I am trying to have healthier eating habbits but you are right, it is expensive to buy healthy foods. I have 3 young children and I have 3 young children and I have a terrible tiem getting them to eat veggies and fruits. I'm sorry I don't ahve any advice. If you learn anything on thsi can ya let me know. I am very interested in this topic. I do find it funny how you hear about all the obese in thsi country yet you wont hear about the prices for healthier foods going down so you can reg afford to feed a family well.
• Canada
29 Dec 06
Hi bryelee :) It's a real struggle with some kids to get them to eat well, isn't it? I'm sure a lot of people relate to your trouble. Do your children like ANY fruits or veggies at this time? If so, can you tell us what they are? I'm sure there are a lot of people here that can help and offer some great suggestions, based on things you already know they will eat. I know I'm ready to give it a try! :)
• United States
29 Dec 06
Yes healthy food is more expensive than junk. Ever heard you get what you pay for? I would never suggest lowering the price of milk since I live in Wisconsin and some of my good friends are dairy farmers. They work very hard to get that milk for us and when milk prices drop they scramble to keep everything going. ANd believe me, when milkl prices raise, they still need to watch their money. I pay $2.69 for a gallon of milk
• Canada
29 Dec 06
I agree majora... you do get what you pay for. I would never suggest that dairy farmers should be denied what is rightfully theirs. They are hard working folks that serve a vital function (as do all of those in the farming industry). So, my quest is NOT at all about punishing the good people of the dairy industry. It's about finding the best possible solutions so that we can live a healthier lifestyle. Many of the suggestions being offered in this discussion are great ways to help balance (and stretch!) the food budget so that it's not so hard for people with limited incomes or many mouths to feed to be able to keep incorporating the more expensive items (like the dairy products)... that's a win-win situation, in my opinion :) and thanks for your thoughts!
@jal1948 (1360)
• India
29 Dec 06
Talk about the cost of living in propotion to your income, what are you trying to do just stash your money for a rainy day or blow it up on a holiday by trying to do away with basic essentials like milk ,at $7 minimum wages per hour u r paying 20 minutes labour on a weeks quota of milk
• Canada
29 Dec 06
Thanks for your concern, jal1948 :) But no, I don't stash my money away so I can blow it on a holiday or anything of that sort. In fact, I save for things like my children's college education. I do not deny them milk or anything else that they want or need in their diet... I am simply cautious about what we consume and how much I'm willing to pay for it. It's all about balance and maintaining EXACTLY what you've said -- a cost of living that is in entire proportion to our income.
@irisheyes (4373)
• United States
29 Dec 06
You make some really good points. I've noticed that the really great sales at the grocery store are always on things like TV dinners. They don't have half price sales on fresh veggies in season....They do sometimes have sales for pasta which I always stock up on. It's a good budget stretcher that is really delicious. Also, in the summer, I've started planting a vegetable garden. I love gardening and for at lease three or four months we have wonderful fresh things. I expand it a little each year. Next spring I'm putting in cantalope which will be the first fruit I've planted.(One of my neighbors has had good luck with melons.) Also, am thinking about canning some stuff. I haven't done that yet.
• Canada
29 Dec 06
I love to garden too, irisheyes... and I've kind of gotten too attached to growing flowers. I need to give some of my planting beds over to vegetables... it would be much better for us in the long run! I always plant cherry tomatoes (one of my kids and I eat those like candy LOL) and beefsteak tomatoes. This year, I'm definitely going back to growing green and yellow beans. They taste so good when fresh-picked and they're one of the easiest things to grow (well, if you grow bush beans rather than the climbers... I don't have the right growing space for those). If people have the space, zucchini is good to grow because you can do so much baking with it (muffins, quick breads, etc., that are great lunch box items... not too sweet and nicely filling). I hope you'll have good luck with the melons too!! They're delicious! I imagine they take quite a bit of growing room, too? I'd like to try growing fruit (esp. raspberries, which cost a fortune to buy in the store) but you have to plan ahead on those since the bushes don't bear fruit right away. Now, I'm thinking about my garden and there's still snow on the ground for a good long time yet LOL! :)
• United States
29 Dec 06
Ut-oh, putting us on the spot eh? I honestly think we don't have healthy eating habits. My daughter, she loves fruits and veggies so she likes to make sure she has plenty to eat, and she is only 11. I make them drink milk and lots of water daily, but I admit that they probably drink more soda. Since I split my time with the kids with their dad, I can't say they eat healthy there. He likes McDonald's--a lot because he hates to cook, so I know they do not eat all that healthy over there. We feed both a family and a couple. When it is just the two of us, we eat pretty good. I have been making him drink Cranberry juice lately--for his kidneys. Best tips on a budget-- nothing is wring with canned fruits and veggies. In fact, it is probably wise to have some stocked somewhere, just in case. Never waste a meal. Eat leftovers! I've always hated seeing people throwing away food they never finished or never even ate.
• Canada
29 Dec 06
LOL KJ! I *hope* I'm not putting anyone on the spot ;) I can certainly appreciate what you're saying about the different eating habits in different households. I used to have the same thing when my ex would take the kids on alternate weekends, many years ago. He didn't quite understand "fruits and vegetables"... he fed them a lot of cereal and things like corn dogs and frozen fries :\ He would throw in some raw baby carrots now and again and, fortunately, the house was was out in the country so there were no fast food restaurants out there... whatever they ate, they did eat at home. I always keep canned fruit in the house too... canned in juice, not heavy syrup... and those applesauce cups (unsweetened). I use them in their lunches when I have no fresh fruit (especially through the winter!) or if they don't want what's available. Yogurt too. I so agree with you on the wasted food! Maybe people should cut down their portions (try using a smaller plate instead of the dinner plate) ... it can really help. But I am SO guilty of throwing out produce that has gone bad in the crisper drawers... then I get really upset with myself for wasting the money.
@katprice (807)
• United States
29 Dec 06
Let me start off by saying that milk is bad because it's filled with hormones and antibiotics. Either get organic milk or soy milk. Soda is bad because of the dangerous high fructose corn syrup in it. In fact, everything with high fructose corn syrup should be avoided. I have healthy eating habits. It's just my husband and I and I don't mind paying more for organic because it's a lot cheaper than medical bills that come from eating all these bad, processed foods on the store shelves.
• Canada
29 Dec 06
Hi katprice! Thanks for the information! I've never had soy milk and haven't seen it where I shop but I imagine I'd have to go to a more specific place to find it. Soda has become the devil to me LOL I used to be one of those "diet coke addicts" that you hear about... consuming way too much of it daily, instead of eating, when I was really busy. I've curbed that down to either just drinking water or, at the most, I'll have a small glass once a day. I still feel like it's a big step in the right direction, though. Oh and of course you are completely right that it can be easier to maintain very healthy habits when there are less people in the house to feed :)
@andygogo (1580)
• China
29 Dec 06
I think some one here are so naive that they don't even know the rules of making friends with others. You wanna know more foreigners? Then it;s better that you are a girl, and then post one of your most beautiful pictures here, i am sure there will be foreigners to knock your door soon, Hehe! No offence, just kidding! LOL!
• Canada
29 Dec 06
andygogo, one of the "rules" of making friends, either online or in person, is to be polite and not interrupt people when they are having a discussion. I'm sorry that you chose this thread to play around in ... it's great to have a sense of humor and to want to have fun... but there are people actually enjoying this topic and finding it useful. Maybe you can start a discussion of your own and make friends there, ok? Thanks.
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
29 Dec 06
"I can buy a 2-liter bottle of soda for maybe 87 cents on sale but it costs between $2.50 and $3.00 for a 2-liter of skim milk" same here BUT if you opt for the pop every time, imagine how muhc you'll be forking out in medical bills later on ;-) Secondly you can and do actually get milks benefits from other sources..I RARELY drink milk because I cant stand the stuff but I know that calcium and the other nutrients etc I'm getting elsewhere so its no big deal.. thirdly yes we are a family of four and you are rigth the cost of groceries has gone up and its tough..I've noticed it in the past four yrs that I've been living here in the U.S What we used to get for $200 a week is now down to about half meaning we'd get a cart full for 200 but are only able to half fill the cart now..... best way to work on a budget....stock up on "do all" foods....things like canned cream soups, sp sauce, gr beef, seasonings (lots of different ones), various pasta, rice, broth, potatos and chicken....You have those main things in your house and you can make SO MANY variosu dishes...Always always always have fresh veggies and fruits at hand, they're cheap, good for you and filling so if you have a salad as a starter course you'll find that the main course need not be too major...any leftovers, freeze them and date them...buy meat when its on sale only and in value pack size then seperate it and freeze it when you get home....dont waste time with already deboned and skinned chicken cause you'll pay more...buy with bone in, skin on and do it yourself at home....oh and a big kicker, buying brand name items..you are goin to pay more for the name which is nuts..for example if I need 1lb of bacon it costs $4-6 dollars for top name brands whereas I can get a 1lb of store brand for half that price....Also check out your local butcher shop for sales.. In the summer grow your own veggies and herbs...herbs you can dry them and jar them and they last (I cant wait to have my garden! I miss it) which in my case at least comes in really handy since I use so many various seasonings when I cook..buying them constantly can be pricey....USE COUPONS!! and work the coupons into local sales..you can save a lot that way... thats all I have right now LOL I just got up and need coffee really badly
• Canada
29 Dec 06
*hands a nice fresh cup of coffee to Ravendladyj* :) Good morning! You make very good points in your post and thanks for them! One of the things you've brought up that I believe no one had mentioned until now is about the chicken... and you are SO right. It's tempting to buy the nice, "cleaned up", boneless, skinless chicken (and we all know how much we see that touted in cookbooks and other recipe sources as the healthy way to go). It's just so much cheaper to do it yourself. It's not hard to skin a piece of poultry and you are so much better off for doing it!
• United States
29 Dec 06
It is hard to manage a budget for buying healthy foods when the junk food is often on sale! I try to buy what happens to be on sale in the fruits and vegetables or look for deals on the seasonal local fruits and vegies. Milk goes a long way for health and mixes with healthier foods like cereal so it is a staple at home. I agree with you though-it's a challenge to get the right foods when they often cost more
• Canada
29 Dec 06
Good point! Always a lot of junk food on sale, no matter where you shop, but try to find a really great deal on fresh fruit and vegetables... that's a much bigger challenge. I agree that you have to learn to use the seasonal produce and look for the locally-grown items that do tend to be cheaper. There are ways to do but you have to be prepared to work at it too :)
• Romania
29 Dec 06
3$ for a liter of skim milk?! I pay 0.80$ for milk!:) You can come and live in Romania if you wand more products with not much money ;)
• United States
29 Dec 06
that would be $3 for a gallon, and a gallon is equal to 3.8 liters, which would mean that you are paying a little more per gallon than we are here in the states also, does that factor in the exchange rate?
@chertsy (3805)
• United States
29 Dec 06
We try to have healthy eating habits. When my husband cooks, he cooks meals you would pay good money at any restaurant. Plus plenty of left overs for the next few days. Our kids are picky eaters. My oldest is learning to eat what we cook, our youngest doesn't want any sause on anything that she eats. Plus her veggies she loves her veggies. With most kids you would have to fight them night and day to get them to eat veggies. I'm like you when it comes to milk. $ 2.50 is a really good deal on milk. I usually buy 2 at that price since we all love milk, plus we use it in cooking. Got to love store brand.
• Canada
29 Dec 06
A husband that cooks well... that's a bargain right there! ;) Lucky you! Funny how kids are like that about sauces... every child in my extended family has gone through the "no sauce!" phase. Good for her that she is already loving her veggies. When I met my husband, the only things he considered "vegetables" were potatoes, corn and green beans. That was IT. Now, with time and gentle persuasion, he has found out that he loves a good variety, including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, even turnip. I steam the majority of our veggies and that seems to make all the difference. He always thought vegetables were soggy!
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
29 Dec 06
I wish milk was 87 cents and pop was $3.00! That be nice. I would buy more milk for sure and less pop.
• Canada
29 Dec 06
You and me both, Foxxee, you and me both!