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Do you think you could feed your family a healthy meal with only $15? It all depends on where you live, and what you’re willing to buy.
To get the ingredients to make a simple meal at home, you would spend an average of $15. That’s compared to an average of $6.50 for a single meal from a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s. When looking at base cost, fast food certainly seems like the cheaper option, and that’s appealing to a family crunched for cash.
However, the ingredients you could get for $15 would make a meal for four people — we priced chicken breasts, potatoes, apples, and milk — and the meal would be better for you than a cheeseburger and fries from the nearest drive-through.
5 Family Menus for $15 or Less
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to fresh ingredients, nor can everyone afford them. In some states, the cost of a meal’s worth of groceries is far more than $15. In Virginia, for example, you would need nearly $30 for the same amount of food you could get for less than $10 in Idaho. How is it possible that a family can have more or less affordable food depending on where they live?
Food inequality is a growing problem in the United States, as shown in a recent study released by the Harvard School of Public Health. Though diet quality has improved among people of higher socioeconomic status, the same cannot be said for those on the other side of the spectrum.
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Why would the owner of a marketing company be dumpster diving for food? You could find Rob Greenfield behind your local grocery with his bike propped against the dumpster while he looks for food. He has now completed two rides across America eating primarily from dumpsters. This isn’t a case of extreme cheapskates; Rob’s goal with these rides is to draw attention to how much food is wasted in America.
On his website, he lists these statistics:
- We throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food per year in America. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.
- About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million Americans.
- Just to create just the amount of food that ends up in the landfills we waste enough water to meet the domestic water needs of every American citizen.
With as many as one in every seven American households being reported as food insecure and one in four children living in food insecure homes, the fact that we waste so much food on a daily basis is concerning. Charity Sub reports that 96 billion pounds of food are thrown away each year by restaurants, retailers, farmers, and individual households. In each major city that he visited on his ride, Greenfield created a demonstration with food collected from local dumpsters. He states that in a single night, he can collect from dumpsters enough food to feed hundreds of people in any given city.
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Standing only 5 feet tall, Kim Heinz had always been thin and petite so when she stepped on the scale and saw the number 200 looming in her not-so-distant future, she knew that she and her husband needed to get their acts together. Now, Kim is 60 pounds lighter, her tall hubby is 90 pounds thinner, and their three young sons have two healthy examples.
Tell me when your weight struggles began. The struggle with my weight began in my senior year of college after I met my husband. We didn’t exercise and ate at restaurants all the time. He was a bigger-built guy and I would eat the same huge portions he did.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? After I had my third son, I decided that I was tired of being fat and feeling bad about myself. Also, I didn’t want to pass on my bad habits to my children. I wanted to be a good example.
How did you lose the weight? I started my weight loss journey using a commercial weight loss program. After six months, I started counting calories on my own and using the MyFitnessPal app to continue my journey.
What diet and exercise methods did you employ? I just started eating less and counting points/calories. Eventually, my husband jumped on the healthy band wagon with me. We tried to eat more fruits and vegetables and eliminated processed foods. I’ve become a runner and I love lifting weights.
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You can’t swing your purse or raise your hand these days without hitting something or someone that is without the gluten. The gluten-free label has been stamped on as many products as possible and created a $4.2 billion industry almost over night. So what gives? Why all the hype? That’s what Fit2Fat2Fit Drew Manning, the trainer who gained a ton of weight just to lose it, is taking on in his newest “wellness” experiment.
He’s not alone in the “how did this happen” curiosity. Jimmy Kimmel recently did a spoof on the gluten-free fad, taking cameras to the streets to ask people if they are gluten free. If they said yes, he asked them to explain what gluten was…and not a single respondent knew. Frankly, we aren’t surprised.
We’re all avoiding this stuff like the plague, but nobody is exactly sure why.
Manning’s newest journey focuses on educating the American people that gluten-free does not always equal healthy. “People look at gluten-free as weight-loss diet food, and that’s not the case,” says Manning. “It’s a disease. When people have Celiac they can’t process that protein found in wheat and grains. It’s not for everyone.”
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Full confession: I love to read about brown fat, a relatively newly discovered form of fat that burns calories directly. Brown fat might be the key to weight loss, writes Alice Park, who covers breaking health news for TIME magazine. Last week, she published, Why Brown Fat May Be the Key to Weight Loss. Kudos to TIME for covering valuable research (when others did not.) But there’s a lot more to add. First, some words about brown fat.
The body makes two kinds of fat: white fat, familiar to all, the storage form of energy, and brown fat that is not stored but burned directly as fuel. When triggered by exposure to the cold, brown fat generates heat (white fat just sits there). Hibernating animals produce brown fat to stay warm during the winter. Newborn babies have lots of brown fat, their own little furnaces, to protect against the cold. We used to think that adults could not make brown fat, but now we know everyone can turn white fat into brown when there is need.
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