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Author Topic: Feeding a Family and Eating For Health On a Budget  (Read 117769 times)

Offline WhitneyK

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Great Deals in Petaluma
« Reply #105 on: September 18, 2009, 05:52:24 PM »
In Petaluma, you can shop at the Alvarado Street Bakery headquarters (on McDowell Ext.) and buy 3 loaves for $5.  Also, at the Petaluma Creamery, you can buy organic cheese, 2 lbs for $5 (they have 5 types for this price.)  Also, if you can't make it to the Farmer's Market, Green String Farms on Adobe Rd. has good prices on fresh picked organic produce, straight off their farm.

Offline DianeS

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #106 on: September 20, 2009, 07:57:55 PM »
This thread, along with the current state of my bank account, are REALLY inspiring me to work on my food budget!!! I think I can really start to save some by adding back some quinoa and beans to my diet. I started tonight! :)

Author, "Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle," available on >

Offline Irene Breck

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #107 on: October 01, 2009, 10:51:25 PM »
"Ditto" to the other comments thanking you for the timeliness of this post, and it's relevance to our economic times.  In follow up to KathrynW's repost of CathyC's intention to reach out to low income communities with this information... has anyone heard of any more movement to get Farmer's Market vendors part of the WIC Foodstamp program?

My cooking group Feast or Famine: Food for Thought regularly meets and provides meals for a community of people, where the participants contribute the ingredients of the meal, and we prepare it for them. 

It would be fantastic to expand the scope of this program to include people who cannot currently participate because of their income level. There are many people on foodstamps who'd like to (and need to) eat more healthfully.

I had recently heard that some of the vendors participating in the SF Ferry Building Farmer's Market were onboard to accept foodstamps.  But that may have been a rumor...

Many thanks and yours in health,
~ minoria

I just started the natural chef training program at Bauman College in Santa Cruz. I am quite encouraged by many people's passion for helping those who are not able to afford E4H. I am looking forward to applying what I learned and make some difference for these people too.

In addition to money, time is also a rare resource for most of the families in the Bay Area. I was thinking about starting a cooking club for those who are too busy to cook. Some of the organic goods can be bought in bulk from the wholesaler. People come together once a week and take home pre-assembled healthy meals. Cooking together is much more fun and much less work. It can also help reduce the cost.

I would love to hear from those who has done similar cooking club to share some experience. I am not sure how to start yet.

Happy Cooking,


Offline JanetCa

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #108 on: October 02, 2009, 03:19:56 PM »
Wow it has been really inspiring to read all of these posts.  It reminds me that it is possible to eat a healthy diet and have a reasonable budget.  Food is expensive and learning proportions and measurements of ingredients in a recipe in order to avoid over spending and wasting food is so important. 

As a new student at Bauman College I have been reintroduced to the incredible benefits of a healthy well balanced diet.  As a vegetarian I am exploring all the amazing ingredients we have living in this area and the abundant options for shopping for them.  Looking at family and friends, living here or other areas of the country, I realize that so many do not understand the value of a healthy food model and understand very little about food and eating well. 

I am excited to continue on this path and expand what is possible for those around me.

Offline AnnaL

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #109 on: October 15, 2009, 05:21:44 PM »
What a fabulous and on-target post - and it's been going for over a year!  As one who has lost significant income over the last year, my food budget is definitely being re-visited because it definitely needs to be reduced.  I was so accustomed to going to Whole Foods and other upscale markets and spending a bloody fortune on food and supplements, but I am being forced to cut way back so personally I really appreciate all of these wonderful tips on how to eat well without breaking the bank.  As a NE student, these tips will also help me guide clients on how to eat well on a budget.  This post could be published as a book!!!

Missy Leathers
Warm regards,
Missy Leathers

Offline LeahN

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #110 on: November 02, 2009, 10:58:04 AM »
I LOVE THIS POST!!! Most of us are on tighter budgets these days, so this is extremely relevant. I've been struggling with parting from some items that I usually buy and changing the stores that I shop at. Just because all of my items don't come from Whole Foods anymore, doesn't mean that I can't make smart food choices at Safeway. Money seems to be one of the biggest issues when people are trying to make changes to their diet. I often hear, 'I can't afford to eat organic." Luckily, there seem to be more affordable products that are organic and environmentally friendly in mainstream stores.

You don't have to be rich to live a healthy lifestyle!

Offline AmyZ

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #111 on: November 28, 2009, 09:46:41 AM »
Hi Amanda and friends,

I am new to Bauman and am super excited about finally doing something professional with my hobby and passion. I LOVED the insight as I have a similar budget (120-200) per week and it is always a great effort to create healthy meals for my young children, husband, and 70 pound lab for whom I homecook everything (lucky dog!!)

Thanks for the detailed insight! Maybe, Amanda, you could write a book on just this:Feeding a Family on an Eating for Health Budget including recipes for humans and canines alike. I would be your first customer!!

Blessings on your meals,

Offline MollyF

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #112 on: November 30, 2009, 04:24:58 PM »
Thanks Amanda very inspiring...I will take some of your tools gladly.
And thanks for all of your effort.


Offline MichelleP

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #113 on: January 11, 2010, 01:16:26 PM »
Where are the veggies on your list if you do not garden year round?  I spend 350 to 600 a week at whole foods.  No junk like processed stuff.  My cart is loaded up with fresh veggies etc.  I am so baffled, I don't see how everyone is being fed?  We are a family of 5.... 14 yr old, 4, 15 months and two adults.
:) anyway
Forgive Anyway
Love Anyway


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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #114 on: January 11, 2010, 02:18:08 PM »
Hi Michelle,

I am one of the two people who started this thread. I can give you our family's food finances as a comparison. We spend similar to you.

I have a family of 6: two adults, two 12.5 year olds, one 8 year old, and one almost 4 year old. I have done an experiment since July of 2008: we keep every single receipt from purchasing any food, including creating a receipt after shopping at the farmer's markets. I break it down to a per day and per person amount. I also list how much I spend in 5 categories: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Farmer's Markets, Other Stores, and Eating Out. "Other Stores" include the Ben and Jerry's ice cream my husband buys at Safeway, the bulk things we might get at Harvest House, and the rare trip to Costco.

As a reference, the government puts out a guide to food costs using three price levels. A normal family of moderate to higher middle income generally spends $8 per person per day. This does NOT take into account spending on organic foods. The government does not make a distinction between quality of food when researching costs. This $8 amount also assumes all meals prepared at home from scratch.

People who eat mostly organic generally spend about $10 per person, per day.

Buying nearly all organic and eating a "Eating For Health"-type diet (with no supplements, as we cannot afford them), we generally spend $1800-$2200 per month on food, which works out to about $10-11+ per day each. We live in an apartment and have a 100 sq ft community garden plot. We are not able to grow much food to offset this cost.

I switched to a mostly raw food diet last July, although I am not a vegan. My food costs increased, especially due to certain organic raw products such as almonds and good local olive oil.  The rest of the family are omnivores. We do not consume any coffee, alcohol, or drinks other than water. I have one child with disordered eating (limited diet) and one with food allergies, so we use goat dairy instead of cow dairy, which increases our costs of things like goat butter ($6 per half pound).

Our food expenses for the last 5 months of 2009:
(TJ=Trader Joe's, WF=Whole Foods, FM=Farmer's Markets, OS=Other Store, EO=Eating Out)

August: $2095  ($748 TJ, $837 WF, $356 FM, $73 OS, $81 EO)
September; $2068  ($697 TJ, $1050 WF, $135 FM, $83 OS, $104 EO)
October: $2190  ($1026 TJ, $827 WF, $275 FM, $57 OS, $5 EO)
November: $1781  ($777 TJ, $789 WF, $87 FM, $111 OS, $17 EO)
December: $2273  ($939 TJ, $1140 WF, $0 FM, $68 OS, $126 EO)

We are going to try to grow more food and I am considering joining a local CSA, although the choices where I live are limited. We enjoy going to the Pleasant Hill seasonal farmer's market from May to early November. My higher spending on fruits, vegetables, and nuts will be offset by my lower spending on other foods.

I also used Christmas money to buy an Excalibur dehydrator and a Vita Mix blender. I have had the blender for less than a week, but see how it will help save money.

By the way, our yearly income is about $50,000 and we do not have health insurance. Eating well IS our only health insurance!

Best Wishes,

Kelly Tier,
stay home mom for 12+ years now hoping to help with the family finances

Offline WhitneyK

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #115 on: February 24, 2010, 02:12:30 PM »
Petaluma Bounty has a program for families that have a low income.  If a family qualifies, the produce cost is about 40% less.

Offline TracyA

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #116 on: March 02, 2010, 06:13:47 PM »
I also live in Sacramento.  I am curious where you go to a farmers market on Saturday morning? I am not fasmiliar with any local, although I am in Citrus Heights.
tracy Arispe

Offline Gaylyn

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #117 on: March 22, 2010, 11:10:35 PM »
There are several wonderful Farmer's Markets in the Sacramento Area. Here's a link to the one's in Placer County and the markets in Sacramento

Offline EthanH

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #118 on: April 06, 2010, 12:29:35 PM »
    Where do you shop for your foods? I and a lot of other people are amazed by food budget plan. I looked over several local produce stores and the only one i could imagine getting the most organic food for my money was Trader Joe's. Are you familiar with the local organic farmers ? Is that one of your budget strategies ?

Offline AmandaL

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #119 on: August 18, 2010, 06:26:39 AM »
Hi there everyone, Its great to see this thread still going.

My family recently relocated to the east coast and food is more expensive here. I realize how special and inexpensive it was to eat in Sacramento, CA (the Central Valley) where most of our food is/was grown.

On the east coast, I am buying from many of the SAME California farms but the costs are much higher as they are being shipped, handled, etc.  And they dont stay fresh as long, which is a big bummer. Californian's have it good!

Additionally, my kids are growing and everyday require more and more food.  Our budget has increased to approx $1,000/monthly, which includes expensive cuts of meat, which we eat infrequently. 

We eat a lot of beans and grains, which keep our costs low.  Although we buy mostly organic produce, its not all organic.  Our meats/dairy/eggs are always grass/pasture fed, however we eat very little of these foods. 

Wife, mother, food lover, advocate
Healthy Eating Specialist
Whole Foods Market, Arlington, VA