Something to think about...or maybe I missed it

I’ve been reading a lot of posts that list certain grocery stores, certain products, etc. And that is wonderful, am glad to hear that they are out there. My problem with these are many:

  1. Small town USA doesn’t have all those stores, we have three grocery stores, one a mom and pop place, and two others that are chain stores, but don’t stock odd brands until they get 20 requests for them.
  2. The price of these is so prohibited for people who are on strict budgets. I get $88 every two weeks for meat and paper products and food…doesn’t go a long way when the item is $3.98 for 10 items. I can do the math, it’s about 40 cents a piece, but feeing just me…and then my two strapping young men is tough on that kind of budget. Have to be real careful where the $$ goes.
  3. Buying on line has not proven to be any cheaper, as you are then paying S&H and that eats it up royally.

So…I’d like to hear from people who are on REAL budgets with families to feed out of that budget how they are handing all the fresh food, and papers, and meat for their families, and still sticking with a lo carb diet.

I’m looking for ideas.

Cathy J

One way that I make low carb is to buy walnuts in bulk and grind them in a food processor. For most recipes that call for flour, I can replace half with ground walnuts.

I can get walnuts pretty cheap where I live, but I’m not sure if that is true everywhere.

I look forward to hearing other’s ideas.

I’m really glad you are posting this question, Cathy. Even though I’m not in the same situation (lots of access to specialty ingredients in the SF Bay Area, I’m on a budget, but also have nobody to feed other than myself), I think it’s a really important topic and hope you get a good response. When I was living in Guatemala I would read all the posts about specialty products and specialty stores and know I had to make do with what was available to me in a Third World Country. What I did find is that it is a lot cheaper to NOT buy specialty items. Unfortunately the food industry has always looked to cash in on people’s desire to eat healthy as well as special needs like ours. Some of those products are superior and some only look like they are. For example I was very excited to try Dreamfields pasta and thought at first I could now eat a more reasonable serving of pasta for the same carbs. Then I found out I had to bolus for more than the 5 carbs they list as “unprotected”. Next I found out that 6 hours later I spiked terribly. Back to the 1/2 cup of pasta that doesn’t cost $3.50 a box!
One advantage to a diet that is based largely on fresh foods like vegetables is that they are not only better for everyone but they are cheaper than the prepackaged, canned foods that have lots of added starches and sugars. Hey, if you are so inclined you can even grow your own vegies! Also, we have good reason to avoid fast food and fast food is not so cheap! Over the years when I have been on a very limited budget I have learned to expend in labor to save in money. In other words, cutting up whole chickens, not buying cut up pieces. Buying unshelled nuts, not packaged shelled ones. Buying in bulk (don’t know if that is possible in your stores). Buying corn on the cob, not canned corn. (tastes better too!). And anytime you can “make” rather than buy foods it gives you more control over the ingredients you include and the carb count as well as saving money. Just some thoughts, hopefully others will have more.

Zoe, those are all excellent ideas, buying in bulk, planting our own, etc. We don’t eat much processed food, as it is so expensive and having a chef for a husband “boxed” foods are like slapping him in the face. So it’s all we can cook ourselves, which is really great fun for us. However, even though we do live in the US, we live in a very rural area where vegetables even fresh have to come a distance to get to us, which adds to the price. I know it’s not ideal, but we are going to look at frozen vs fresh tomorrow. I’m not excited about frozen, but if we can get more bang for our buck, yipee! We’ll see what comes of this post. We can’t be the only ones with diabetes who are on a tight budget.

No, you certainly wouldn’t think so! I just started peering into this category, myself, when one of my own posts got moved here, so maybe other people don’t think to look here for good and useful information either. I do think it is really frustrating when eating healthy is more expensive. Years ago when I first started being interested in fresh and healthy foods you had to look for them in health food stores which were MUCH more expensive. Today you can find many things in your regular supermarket.

I understand about rural places in the U.S. Before I moved to Guatemala I lived in a rural area in the mountains of northern california. The less expensive stores were all “over the mountain” which wasn’t always easy, especially in bad weather. Some people there did informal versions of co-op buying by taking turns driving to the city and bringing lists or all piling in to somebody’s SUV or van to save on both gas and food. Maybe you could organize something similar, even if it is only once a month if it is far.

There are those who will go to Sam’s or another like warehouse store once a month or ever twice, it’s a 200 mile trip one way. I know they save lots, but that doesn’t help with fresh things…as once a month would mean some pretty spoiled food. I talked with my DRN today, and she said if fresh is too spendy then the next best thing is frozen, and that’s an option…I do know there are people who are in worse shape that we are financially — and are diabetic, how do they do it? Who is to know…maybe they don’t.
You are right it is very frustrating!

Wow, 200 miles one way! That is isolated! I personally would be surprised if frozen were cheaper than fresh, but maybe due to the distance it is. Yes, frozen is better than canned, especially if they flash freeze it when fresh and because they usually don’t add as much crap. And maybe you could do the once a month thing and get big bags of frozen vegies to eat when the fresh runs out or isn’t available locally. My guess is, sadly, that people who are very limited financially are not able to watch their carbs and probably don’t have medical insurance either, so they don’t get treatment for their diabetes until it becomes a medical emergency. Sad, no? I live on more of a budget than most of my friends and family but am very grateful to be able to eat good food and have good medical care.

I agree with what so many of you have said…why does healthy food cost more? I recall back in the days when I could eat potato chips, Lay’s came out with the “better for you” WOW potato chips. They were pretty good, but they used to cost like a dollar more than the regular bag of chips. I always thought…they take all the flavor and taste out, and then charge you more for it! Most of the better tasting whole wheat/high fiber breads are the more expensive ones too.